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. Loh KP, Ho D, Chiu GNC, Leong DT, Pastorin G, Chow EK; Clinical Applications of Carbon Nanomaterials in Diagnostics and Therapy.; Adv Mater. 2018 Aug 21:e1802368.
  2. Rashid M, Toh TB, Hooi L, Silva A, Zhang Y, Tan PF, The AL, Karnani N, Jha S, Ho CM, Chng WJ, Ho D, Chow EK; Optimizing drug combinations against multiple myeloma using a quadratic phenotypic optimization platform (QPOP); Sci Transl Med. 2018 Aug 8;10(453).
  3. Fong ELS, Toh TB, Lin QXX, Liu Z, Hooi L, Rashid MBMA, Benoukraf T, Chow EK, Huynh TH, Yu H.; Datasets describing the growth and molecular features of hepatocellular carcinoma patient-derived xenograft cells grown in a three-dimensional macroporous hydrogel.; Data Brief. 2018 Mar 17;18:594-606.
  4. Zhao Y, Shuen TWH, Toh TB, Chan XY, Liu M, Tan SY, Fan Y, Yang H, Lyer SG, Bonney GK, Loh E, Chang KTE, Tan TC, Zhai W, Chan JKY, Chow EK, Chee CE, Lee GH, Dan YY, Chow PK, Toh HC, Lim SG, Chen Q.; Development of a new patient-derived xenograft humanised mouse model to study human-specific tumour microenvironment and immunotherapy.; Gut. 2018 Mar 30.
  5. Fong ELS, Toh TB, Lin X, Liu Z, Hooi L, Mohd Abdul Rashid MB, Benoukraf T, Chow EK (co-corresponding), Huynh TH, Yu H; Generation of Matched Patient-Derived Xenograft In Vitro-In Vivo Models Using 3D Macroporous Hydrogels for the Study of Liver Cancer; Biomaterials; Jan 2018 doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2017.12.026
  6. Gu M, Wang X, Toh TB, Chow EK. ; Applications of stimuli-responsive nanoscale drug delivery systems in translational research.; Drug Discov Today. 2017 Nov 16.
  7. Ho JC, Abdullah LN, Pang QY, Jha S, Chow EK, Yang H, Kato H, Poellinger L, Ueda J, Lee KL; Inhibition of the H3K9 methyltransferase G9A attenuates oncogenicity and activates the hypoxia signaling pathway; PLoS One. 2017 Nov 16;12(11):e0188051.
  8. Lee DK, Kee T, Liang Z, Hsiou D, Miya D, Wu B, Osawa E, Chow EK, Sung EC, Kang MK, Ho D.; Clinical validation of a nanodiamond-embedded thermoplastic biomaterial.; Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Oct 23.
  9. Wang X, Gu M, Toh TB, Abdullah NLB, Chow EK; Stimuli-Responsive Nanodiamond-Based Biosensor for Enhanced Metastatic Tumor Site Detection.; SLAS Technol. 2017 Oct
  10. Syn NL, Wang L, Chow EK, Lim CT, Goh BC.; Exosomes in Cancer Nanomedicine and Immunotherapy: Prospects and Challenges.; Trends Biotechnol. 2017 Mar 29.
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.

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.


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.