Edward Kai-Hua CHOW

Chow laboratory is developing a comprehensive approach to understanding and treating cancer. Key tumor-initiating cells, termed cancer stem cells (CSCs), have been found in a number of cancer types. Chow lab is interested in utilizing oncogene-specific mouse hepatic tumor models to better understand how different oncogenes contribute to the formation and maintenance of CSCs. This work also serves to identify potential therapeutic cancer targets based on CSC biology. The Chow lab is also interested in developing carbon-based nanoparticle drug-delivery platforms for enhanced diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This work involves developing novel nanoparticle imaging reagents and CSC-specific targeted drug-delivery complexes to evaluate targeted CSC therapy as a viable cancer treatment approach.

Dr. Chow’s lab is interested in a developing a comprehensive translational approach to understanding and treating cancer. In particular, we are interested in increasing our understanding and ability to treat hepatic cancers, which has some of the highest incidence occur in Asia. In order to accomplish these goals, we have developed a multidisciplinary approach to research that includes complementary basic and applied research projects. Utilizing oncogene-specific mouse models of liver cancer, we are interested in studying how specific oncogenes regulate the tumorigenesis including the formation and maintenance of tumor-initiating cancer stem cells (CSCs). We currently have a library of seven specific oncogenes that we are interested in studying. This approach has identified novel mechanisms of chemoresistance formation as well as potential therapeutic targets specific to CSCs. We are currently expanding these studies to include how specific oncogenes regulate CSC biology through 1) Epigenetic regulation; 2) Cross-talk amongst signaling pathways related to hepatic progenitor stemness and differentiation; 3) Oncogene-specific gene regulation programs.

The lessons learned in these projects inform our development of carbon-based nanoparticle imaging and drug-delivery complexes for improved diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We are currently developing novel targeted nanoparticle complexes for enhanced imaging and treatment of hepatic cancers. The benefit of carbon-based nanoparticles is the multiple methods by which these nanoparticles can be functionalized. This allows us to create targeted imaging and drug-delivery complexes that we have demonstrated improves the efficacy of these molecules while lowering toxic effects of related to unmodified forms of these molecules. This work involves in-depth in vitro and in vivo characterization and evaluation of these complexes with the ultimate goal of making personalized nanomedical approaches to imaging and treating cancer a clinical reality.

Selected Publications:

  1. Chow EK; Implication of Cancer Stem Cells in Cancer Drug Development and Drug Delivery.; J Lab Autom. 2012 Aug 14.
  2. Chow EK, Fan L, Chen X, Bishop JM; Oncogene-specific formation of chemoresistant murine hepatic stem cells; Hepatology. 2012 Oct;56(4):1331-41. doi: 10.1002/hep.25776. Epub 2012 Aug 27.
  3. Chow EK, Zhang XQ, Chen M, Lam R, Robinson E, Huang H, Schaffer D, Osawa E, Goga A, Ho D; Nanodiamond therapeutic delivery agents mediate enhanced chemoresistant tumor treatment; Science Translational Medicine 2011 Mar 9;3(73):73ra21. Cover Article
  4. Zhang XQ, Lam R, Xu X, Chow EK, Kim H, Ho D, Multimodal Nanodiamond Drug Delivery Carriers for Selective Targeting, Imaging and Enhanced Chemotherapeutic Efficacy Adv Mater. 2011 Nov 2;23(41):4770-5. doi: 10.1002/adma.201102263. Epub 2011 Sep 20.
  5. Ghaffari A, Chow EK (co-first), Shankar I, Deng JC, Cheng G; PolyI:C Suppresses Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity Independent of Type I Interferons and Toll-Like Receptor 3; Hepatology 2011 Mar 23. doi: 10.1002/hep.24316.
  6. Shahangian A, Chow EK, Tian X, Kang JR, Ghaffari A, Liu SY, Belperio JA, Cheng G, Deng JC; Type I IFNs mediate development of postinfluenza bacterial pneumonia in mice; J Clin Invest. 2009 Jun 1. pii: 35412. doi: 10.1172/JCI35412.
  7. Chow EK, Pierstorff E, Cheng G, Ho D; Copolymeric Nanofilm Platform for Controlled and Localized Therapeutic Delivery; ACS Nano, 2008, 2 (1), pp 33–40 Cover Article, Featured in Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and over 50 international news outlets
  8. Chow EK, Chu B, Cheng G, and Ho D, “Utilizing Block Copolymers to Fabricate Versatile Electro-Active and Inflammation Attenuating Substrates for Biological Interrogation,” NANO, 2(6), 351-359, 2007. Cover Article
  9. Chow EK, Razani B, Cheng G; Innate immune system regulation of nuclear hormone receptors in metabolic diseases; Journal of Leukocyte Biology; 2007 Aug 82(2):187-95. Epub 2007 Feb 21
  10. Chow EK, Castrillo A, Shahangian A, Pei L, O’Connell RM, Modlin RL, Tontonoz P, Cheng G; A role for IRF3-dependent repression of RXRa in hepatotoxicity associated with viral infections. J Exp Med. 2006 Nov 27;203(12):2589-602. Epub 2006 Oct 30.
Name Edward Kai-Hua CHOW
Affiliations Principal Investigator, Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS
NUS Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS
Email csikce[at]nus.edu.sg / phcekc[at]nus.edu.sg


Institute Degree (if applicable) Year(s)
University of California, Berkeley B.A. 2001
University of California, Los Angeles Ph.D. 2007

Professional Experience

Principal Investigator, Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, NUS 2012 – Present
Assistant Professor , Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS 2012 – Present
Postdoctoral Fellow, Prof. J. Michael Bishop Lab (Nobel Laureate in Medicine, 1989), GW Hooper Foundation, University of California, San Francisco, CA 2007 – 2012

TAY Li Min

Research Fellow

Li Min is working on drug combinatorial studies and treatments for liver cancer.

TOH Tan Boon

Research Fellow

Tan Boon’s research interests include (but not limited to):
(1) Establishing patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) from liver cancer
(2) Hepatocarcinogenesis and cancer stem cells (CSCs)
(3) Drug combination therapy for liver cancer

Lissa HOOI

Senior Laboratory Executive

Lissa is responsible for management of the laboratory. She helps out in various research projects. She is also interested in studying how specific oncogenes regulate liver CSC biology.

Mengjie GU

PhD Student

Mengjie utilizes nanodiamond delivery platform to develop multi-functional theranostics against subtype-specific cancers for better therapy and diagnosis.

Masturah Binte Mohd Abdul RASHID

PhD Student

Masturah is working on drug combinatorial studies on multiple myeloma using Quantitative Parabolic Optimization platform.


PhD Student

Xiyun is investigating on roles of G9a and DNA Methyltransferase (DNMT) in multiple myeloma. She also does drug combinatorial studies for DLBCL using Quantitative Parabolic Optimization platform.

Dexter THNG

UROPS Student

Dexter is an undergraduate pursuing a major in Life Sciences with a minor in Forensic Science. As a student under the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme in Science (UROPS), Dexter’s project focuses on the role of G9a in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) as well as the potential use of combinatorial therapeutics in targeting HCC.