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Christine Cheung

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Assistant Professor Christine Cheung
PhD
Nanyang Assistant Professor and Provost's Chair in Medicine
Principal Investigator, Molecular and Vascular Medicine


Team

  • Dr Wu Kanxing, Research Fellow
  • Dr Ng Chun-Yi, Research Fellow
  • Dr Anthony Siau, Senior Research Fellow
  • Ms Florence Chioh, Lab Manager
  • Ms Lee Khang Leng, Research Officer
  • Ms Natalie Yeo Jia Ying, PhD Student
  • Ms Wazny Vanessa Kristina, PhD Student 
  • Ms Kasturi Markandran, PhD Student
  • Ms Tay Kai Yi, FYP Student
  • Ms Konstanze Tan, FYP Student


Introduction

Assistant Professor Christine Cheung is a Nanyang Assistant Professor in Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, and an awardee of the 2016 Nanyang Assistant Professorship. She received a PhD in Cardiovascular and Stem Cell Medicine from the University of Cambridge, and a BEng (First Class) from Imperial College London. For her pioneering approach to create organ-specific blood vessels, she was recognised with the Young Investigator Prize from the British Society for Cardiovascular Research. Notably, she is the World Economic Forum Young Scientist, Honoree of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Singapore by Junior Chamber International, and Life Science Fellow of L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science National Fellowship. To advance her work, she is an awardee of the prestigious Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) research grant. She currently serves on the executive committee of Stem Cell Society Singapore.


Research Focus

Blood vessels transcend all organ systems and underlie the crux of many health conditions. Our research aims to understand biological mechanisms regulating vascular ageing in diseases such as stroke and coronary artery disease. We employ advanced molecular techniques, human-relevant experimental models and patient-derived materials to elucidate pathological endothelial cell behaviours. Our work provide insights for translation to restore blood vessel health and regenerative therapies.

Personalised Vascular Models
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There are well-studied morphological, biochemical and phenotypical heterogeneities in our blood vessel system. Our lab invents methods to convert human stem cells to blood vessel cells, resembling those found in the heart and brain arteries. We also develop blood outgrowth endothelial cells directly from patients with vascular complications. These cellular models recapitulate the phenotypic and molecular changes associated with vascular pathology, enabling far-reaching experimental strategies e.g. gene editing and drug screening to facilitate the development of novel therapeutics.

Genetic Basis of Vascular Ageing
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A key challenge of interpreting genetic risk variants from genome wide association studies is that most variants do not encode genes. Emerging evidence suggests that non-coding variants may reside in regulatory elements or influence the activity of other gene-coding regions through long range chromatin interactions. We are working on the genotype-to-phenotype basis of vascular disease-associated variants, in order to elucidate how transcriptional and epigenetic modulators impact on phenotypic differences between normal and diseased ​cells.
Vascular Disease Biomarkers
Immune cells and vascular progenitor cells show characteristic changes in their gene expressions and phenotypes in response to vascular injury. We are developing prognostic biomarkers that are well-grounded on the function of these blood-borne cells. Deep-dive analysis of patient-derived cells would reveal mechanistic differences between ‘susceptible’ and ‘protective’ individuals, improving diagnostics for early intervention.


Selected Publications

Cheung, C., Bernardo, A. S., Trotter, M. W., et al. (2012). Generation of human vascular smooth muscle subtypes provides insight into embryological origin-dependent disease susceptibility. Nature Biotechnology, 30(2), 165-73doi: 10.1038/nbt.2107

Cheung, C., Bernardo, A. S., Pedersen, R. A., et al. (2014). Directed differentiation of embryonic origin-specific vascular smooth muscle subtypes from human pluripotent stem cells. Nature Protocols, 9, 929-938. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2014.059​

Trigueros-Motos, L., Gonzalez-Granado, J. M., Cheung, C., et al. (2013). Embryological-origin-dependent differences in homeobox expression in adult aorta: role in regional phenotypic variability and regulation of NF-κB activity. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 33(6), 1248-56. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.300539​


Narmada, B. C., Goh, Y. T., … Cheung, C. (2016)Human stem cell-derived endothelial-hepatic platform for efficacy testing of vascular-protective metabolites from nutraceuticals. Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 6(3), 851-863. doi: 10.5966/sctm.2016-0129​

Kiskin, F. N., Chang, C.,… Cheung, C., et al. (2018). Contribution of BMPR2 mutations and extrinsic factors in cellular phenotypes of pulmonary arterial hypertension. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 198(2), 271-275. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201801-0049LE​

Yeo, N. Y. J., Chan, E., Cheung, C. (2019). Choroidal Neovascularization: Mechanisms of Endothelial Dysfunctions. ​Frontiers in Pharmacology, 10: 1363. doi:10.3389/fphar.2019.01363

Titmarsh, D. M., Nurcombe, V., Cheung, C., et al. (2019). Vascular Cells and Tissue Constructs Derived from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells for Toxicological Screening. Stem Cells Dev, doi: 10.1089/scd.2018.0246

Arora, S., Lin, S., Cheung, C., et al. (2020). ​Topography elicits distinct phenotypes and functions inhuman primary and stem cell derived endothelial cells​. ​Biomaterials, doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.119747 

Tan, W. L. W., Anene-Nzelu, C. G., Wong, E., Lee, C. J. M., Tan, H. S., Tang, S. J., Perrin, A., Wu, K. X., Zheng, W., Ashburn, R. J., Pan, B., Lee, M. Y., Autio, M. I., Morley, M. P., Tam, W. L., Cheung, C., Margulies, K. B., Chen, L., Cappola, T. P., Loh, M., Chambers, J., Prabhakar, S., Foo, R. S. Y. (2020). Epigenomes of Human Hearts Reveal New Genetic Variants Relevant for Cardiac Disease and PhenotypeCirculation Research,127:761–777. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.317254

Wazny, V., Siau, A., Wu, K. X., Cheung, C. (2020). Vascular underpinning of COVID-19. Open Biology, 10:200208. doi: 10.1098/rsob.200208​

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