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Lymphoma Genomic Translational Research Laboratory

​Research head:​Dr Choon Kiat ONG
​Research team:

Prof Soon Thye LIM


Dr Dachuan HUANG

Dr Jing TAN

Dr Tammy SONG

Dr Jing Quan LIM

Dr Miriam TAO

Dr Tiffany TANG

Dr Jason CHAN

Dr Nagavalli d/o SOMASUNDARAM


Dr Yuh Shan LEE


Dr Chee Leong CHENG

Jeslin HA


Esther WONG



Haniffa HASAN

Lay Poh KHOO

Burton CHIA

Suk Teng CHIN



The Lymphoma Genomic Translational Laboratory, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Choon Kiat ONG, is dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the pathogenesis and aetiology of lymphoma from a genomic perspective. Our laboratory is involved in the elucidation of the genomic and pathological facets of lymphoma, and subsequently translating significant findings into novel treatment approaches for patients through clinical trials.

To this end, our team takes on a systematic “bench-to-bedside” approach, whereby we first aim to understand the genomic basis of peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) and natural killer/T cell-lymphoma, and thereafter use these results to identify novel molecular targets for targeted therapeutics (Figure 1). To aid us in our pursuit to understand disease and treatment efficacy, we have established several patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models, with help from our clinical partners. Ultimately, our aim is to translate the discoveries from the laboratory into clinically implementable therapeutic strategies that would introduce new and more efficacious treatments for patients with lymphoma.

Over the years, our laboratory has secured research grants from various funding agencies, namely the National Medical Research Council (NMRC), the National Health Innovation Centre (NHIC), and the NCC Research Fund. We have also received industrial support for several projects from pharmaceutical companies, including Bayer Pharmaceuticals, ASLAN, Principia Biopharma, and SYNthesis Pte Ltd.

Recently, Dr. ONG, along with other collaborating scientists in the field of cancer research, was awarded the “AACR Team Science Award” by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), recognising the outstanding interdisciplinary team’s work in furthering the knowledge of Asian prevalent cancers and contributing to the progress of cancer detection, treatment and prevention. Dr. Ong is currently leading the whole-genome sequencing of T and natural killer-cell lymphoma at the International Cancer Genomic Consortium (ICGC). This initiative has proudly placed Singapore on the world map in the field of cancer genomic research.

Figure 1: The Jak-Stat signalling pathway is frequently activated in many cancers. Our discovery on identifying activating JAK3 mutation in NKTL leads to further effort on development and characterisation of JAK3 inhibitors in pre-clinical mouse model, and eventually towards clinical trials.

Selected publications:

  1. Nairismägi M-, Gerritsen ME, Li ZM, et al. Oncogenic activation of JAK3-STAT signaling confers clinical sensitivity to PRN371, a novel selective and potent JAK3 inhibitor, in natural killer/T-cell lymphoma. Leukemia. 2018;32:1147–1156.
  2. Nairismägi ML, Tan J, Lim JQ, et al. JAK-STAT and G protein-coupled receptor signaling pathways are frequently altered in epitheliotropic intestinal T-cell lymphoma. Leukemia. 2016;30:1311–1319.
  3. Li Z, Xia Y, Feng LN, et al. Genetic risk of extranodal natural killer T-cell lymphoma: a genome-wide association
    study. Lancet Oncol. 2016;17:1240–1247.