Congratulations to 5 of our PhD students for their achievements at the Annual Graduate Scientific Congress 2013! The Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine 3rd AGSC offers graduate students the opportunity to interact, share and showcase their scientific discoveries through oral and poster presentations. Held on 30th January 2013, the theme for this year’s congress is “Science @ the Heart of Medicine”.
Ms Liang Junxin
She has competed with a total of 99 participants and been awarded Best Poster Presentation at the congress. Junxin is currently in Prof Fu Xin-Yuan’s group.
Title: Role of NPMT in cell growth and DNA damage repair
Abstract: Novel and potential Methyl-transferase (NPMT) was first screened out as a stat3 target in several systems in our lab. Our preliminary data suggest a link between NPMT, p53 and ATM activation and a role of NPMT in cell growth and DNA damage response pathways, which may offer new target for cancer therapy.
Mr Rohit Surana
He has competed with a total of 99 participants and been awarded Best Poster Presentation at the congress. Rohit is currently in A/Prof Alan Prem Kumar’s group.
Title: DDX20, an estrogen target gene and co-activator of ERα activity, predicts responsiveness to docetaxel and tamoxifen treatment in hormone-dependent breast cancer
Abstract: Activation of NF-kB has been shown to be a major cause of drug response and resistance in both preclinical and clinical studies. We recently uncovered a novel role for RNA helicase, DP103 in that it functions as a crucial co-factor to activate NF-kB in breast cancer, which encouraged us to explore a therapeutic value of DP103 in drug response. Female patients with histologically or cytologically proven locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer were recruited into a prospective phase II study. Gene expression profiling show docetaxel treatment decreases expression of DP103 in responders, while its expression remains unchanged in non-responders.
Ms Qi Lihua
She has competed with a total of 99 participants and been awarded Best Poster Presentation at the congress. Lihua is currently in Prof Daniel Tenen’s group.
Title: Extensive A-to-I RNA editing in 3’UTR and its implications in HCC
Abstract: Using RNA-seq, we revealed HCC displays a globally distorted A-to-I RNA editing in genes’ 3’UTR. Abnormal A-to-I RNA editing in 3’UTR can cause nuclear retention of target mRNA, or lead to target mRNA degradation, thereby affecting gene expression. The imbalanced expression of oncogene and tumor suppressor gene due to abnormal A-to-I RNA editing contributes to HCC development.
Ms Chung Vin Yee
Vin Yee has been awarded 2nd runner-up for Best Oral Presentation and is currently in Prof Jean-Paul Thiery’s group.
Title: Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer: Potential Roles of DDR1 and GRHL2
Abstract: In this project, Discoidin Domain Receptor 1 (DDR1) and Grainyhead-like 2 (GRHL2) emerged as potential epithelial signature genes for epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Results of qPCR, ELISA and western blots using 42 EOC cell lines showed that DDR1 and GRHL2 were expressed exclusively in EOC cells with epithelial phenotype. Microarray meta-analysis and qPCR of EOC patient samples also indicated that both genes were downregulated in tumours with mesenchymal phenotype. In addition, we observed that knockdown of either DDR1 or GRHL2 would induce morphological changes in EOC cells. Future studies will further elucidate the functional roles of these two genes.
Ms Chen Luxi
Luxi has been awarded the Singapore Medical Association Clinical Research Award which saw more than 100 shortlisted participants competing. She was the elected Director for Public Relations at the congress and is currently in A/Prof Alan Prem Kumar’s group.
Title: Human Annexin A1, a Novel Predictive Signature for PPARG Chemotherapy in Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Abstract: Basal-like breast cancer subtype is predominantly estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and C-erb B2 receptor negative, aptly named triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). TNBC lacks defined targeted therapies and distinct patterns of metastasis thereby, associated with poor clinical outcome. Thus, identifying markers and therapeutic targets for TNBC is of pressing need. Our study provides new clinical and preclinical insights for the suitability of using baseline expression ANXA1 as inclusion criteria for TNBC patient selection in PPARG chemotherapy trials.