Nanyang Assistant Professor Guan Xue Li
Principal Investigator, Systems Biology of Lipid Metabolism in Human Health and Diseases Laboratory
- Teng Ooiean, PhD, Research Fellow
- Gordon Irvine, Research Fellow
- Deborah Seow, Scientific Officer
Professor Guan Xue Li is an Assistant Professor in Lee Kong Chian School of
Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, and an awardee of the 2016 Nanyang
Assistant Professorship. Asst Prof Guan obtained her PhD from the
National University of Singapore in 2009. She was a recipient of an EMBO short
term fellowship during her PhD to work in University of Geneva, and further
pursued her postdoctoral training in systems biology within a SystemsX.ch
consortium, LipidX, in Switzerland. In 2011, she secured the competitive
Ambizione career grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation and became a
Group Leader of Lipidomics and Systems Biology in Swiss Tropical and Public
Health Institute (Swiss TPH).
Asst Prof Guan
is internationally recognised for her contributions in pioneering novel
lipidomics approaches for systems biology studies of lipid metabolism and
functions. From model organisms, she has translated her works on lipidomics and
systems biology to medically relevant systems. She is interested in driving
technological developments to capture the complex lipid metabolic networks and
to undertake a multidisciplinary approach to address the functional roles of
lipids in human health and diseases, as well as to identify novel drug targets
and biomarkers for infectious diseases including tuberculosis and other
mycobacteriosis, and parasitic infections. She served as the vice-coordinator
of a SystemsX.ch RTD consortium, TbX - Systems Biology of Drug Resistant
Tuberculosis in the Field. The present Guan group in NTU is actively
collaborating with local research institutions and healthcare groups, as well
as international academic and industry partners.
Asst Prof Guan
has published over 20 articles related to the relatively young but growing
field of lipidomics in peer-reviewed journals, two book chapters, and is a
co-inventor of a patent on “System level scale analysis of lipids as a
diseases continue to threaten global health and economy, and pose a challenge
to health systems, in part due to the poor predictability of constantly
evolving infectious agents and the complexity of pathogenesis as a result of
the interplay between the networks of at least two organisms, namely the host
and the pathogen. It is increasingly evident that lipids play essential roles
at the different stages of an infection, including pathogen docking, invasion,
intracellular trafficking, membrane biogenesis and energy storage. From a
therapeutic perspective, the importance of lipid metabolism in pathogens has
long been recognised, as variations in the lipid repertoire and enzymatic
machineries found in different organisms make targeting microbial lipid
metabolism a highly attractive approach for disease intervention.
Despite the appreciation of lipid functions in human health and diseases, many
gaps remain to be filled. Asst Prof Guan’s laboratory is interested in the
roles of lipid metabolism in infectious diseases, and the association with
metabolic diseases. Their research is guided by the central hypothesis that in
the context of an infection, both host and microbial lipids, which occur in
bewildering chemical diversity, act collectively, in time and space, during
invasion and persistence in the human host. Taking a modular systems biology
approach, involving the development of novel lipidomics tools and interfacing
with other disciplines including genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics,
classical cell and molecular biology and epidemiology, the research aims at
scrutinising the impact of host metabolic status as well as heterogeneity in
microbial population on outcomes of infections and treatments. Specifically,
the laboratory will address the contribution of lipids towards the dual disease
burden inflicted by diabetes and tuberculosis as well as emergence of drug
resistance. A second aim of the Guan Group’s research is to develop novel tools
for next-generation lipidomics to create a new knowledge-base of the ‘lipid
codes’ of medically relevant systems including humans and a spectrum of
disease-causing pathogens (e.g. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and parasites).
Together, the new insights in biology and the biochemical resources generated
will contribute to modern medicine, particularly in drug target and biomarker
Crick PJ and Guan XL# (2016). Lipidomics – novel tools
for studying mycobacterial lipid metabolism and functions. BBA-Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids. 1861(1):60-67.
Kaiser M, Tanner M, Schneiter R, Mäser P, Guan
XL# (2015). Match-making for Posaconazole through systems-thinking. Trends in Parasitology. #
Sukumar S, Coscolla M, Shui G, Li B, Guan
XL, Bendt AK, Young D. Gagneux S, Wenk MR (2014). Lipidomics and genomics
of M. tuberculosis reveal lineage-specific trends in mycolic acid biosynthesis.
Microbiology Open. 3(6):823-835.
Chng C, Guan XL, Lei Z, Rozen SG.
Wenk MR (2014). Lipidomics identifies a requirement of host cell choline lipid
metabolism for influenza virus replication. Journal of Lipid Research. 55(7):1357-1365.
Gunasekera K, Ochsenreiter T, Guan XL,
Wenk MR, Mäser P (2014). Genome profiling of sterol synthesis shows convergent
evolution in parasites and guides chemotherapeutic attack. Journal of Lipid Research. 55(5):929-938.
Soh KC, Pedarsani P, Seijo M, Guan XL,
Wenk MR, Hatzimanikatis V (2014). NICELips: A computational framework for
reconstructing lipid metabolism. Metabolic
Guan XL#, Cestra G, Shui G, Kuhrs A,
Schittenhelm RB, Hafen E, van der Goot FG, Robinett CC, Gatti M,
Gonzalez-Gaitan M, Wenk MR (2013). Lipidomics of Drosophila melanogaster during
development. Developmental Cell.
24(1): 98-111. # Co-correspondence.
Hunk C, Yau Y, Seow V, Lee S, Tanner LB, Guan
XL, Wenk MR, Chew P, Kukkaro P, Biukovic, Shi P, Shochat SG, Grüber, G, Lok
S (2012). The stem region of premembrane protein plays an important role in the
virus surface protein rearrangement during dengue maturation. Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Shin JJH, Orij R, Chao JT, Li SC, Guan
XL, Khong A, Jan E, Wenk MR, Prinz WA, Smits GJ, Loewen CJR (2010).
Phosphatidic acid is a pH biosensor that links membrane biogenesis to
Guan XL, Souza CM, Pichler H, Dewhurst
G, Schaad O, Kajiwara K, Wakabayashi H, Ivanova T, Castillon GA, Piccolis M,
Abe F, Loewith R, Funato K, Wenk MR and Riezman H (2009). Functional
interactions between sphingolipids and sterols regulating cell physiology. Mol. Biol. Cell. 20(7):2083-95. *
Awarded MBC paper of the year, 2009. ** Featured as ‘MBoC 20th Anniversary