It is no easy task juggling academic duties as a final year undergraduate and handling the demands of research, projects and examinations all at the same time. Fiona Wong, a student attached to CSI, has fulfilled not just these requirements but emerged as top student in the Life Sciences cohort, with the highest academic score amongst her peers. She has been elected Valedictorian at the 2014 Life Sciences Commencement ceremony this July in recognition of her outstanding academic achievements.
Fiona completed her Undergraduate Professional Internship Program as well as her Final Year Honours Project under the mentorship of Dr Alan Prem Kumar, Principal Associate at CSI Singapore, and the co-supervision of Dr Gautam Sethi, Assistant Professor at the NUS Department of Pharmacology.
It is during her time at CSI that Fiona gained her two first-author papers, including her Final Year Project thesis, entitled “Characterization of a Novel Mitocan, Compound-X, in Triple Negative Breast Cancer”. Making several key findings, it was found that Compound-X, synthesized by Professor Jiri Neuzil from Griffith University, Australia, suppressed constitutive JAK2/STAT3 activation and the expression of various oncogenic gene products. This correlated with its growth inhibitory and pro-apoptotic effects, suggesting that anti-tumor activity of Compound-X in Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) to be mediated by STAT3 inhibition. The research also determined that a combined treatment of Compound-X and doxorubicin showed a synergistic growth inhibitory effect in TNBC cells.
“Fiona is a truly remarkable student with an all-rounded personality. Her accomplishments in studies and sports are a proof of that. Her positive attitude and her constant perseverance is an inspiration to all.” Dr Kumar said.