Emeritus Professor

Contact Information:

Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
14 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543

Curriculum Vitae
SMA program website
Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore

6516 7658
6779 2486

Academic Qualifications

PhD (Univ of British Col)

Research Areas

Protein Structure and Function, Regulatory Mechanisms Controlling Gene Expression and the Application of Biotechnology in Agro-and Human Healthcare Industries

Research Interests

The overall goal of our research program is to understand protein structure and function, regulatory mechanisms controlling gene expression and the application of biotechnology in agro-and human healthcare industries. We have earlier studied extensively the biology of fish antifreeze proteins as a model to understand protein interaction and the biochemical mechanisms underlining the adaptation of these animals in a freezing environment. We have investigated the transcriptional control of the pituitary gonadotropin gene to elucidate tissue- and cell-type specific expression and hormonal regulation. We have also pioneered the application of gene transfer technology in generating freeze-tolerant and fast growing transgenic fish important to the aquaculture industry.

With the completion of the numerous genome sequences across both the plant and animal kingdoms, the understanding of the structure and function of many novel and newly discovered proteins is now a major thrust in biology. Our laboratories have recently launched several research initiatives using new protein platform technologies including proteomics, protein chips and structural genomics

Current Projects

Structural and functional genomics of marine viral pathogens

We have adopted both the structural and functional genomics approaches to investigate the biology of two viral pathogens that are important in aquaculture, namely, the shrimp white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) and Singapore grouper irridovirus (SGIV). There are the large DNA viruses encoding many novel proteins. We have determined the genome sequence of SGIV. The presumptive open reading frames encoded by these two viral genomes were confirmed by RTPCR and proteomics. The structure and function relationship of several selected novel proteins are being investigated by structural biology and gene Knockdowns. Specific protein chips harboring these viral proteins are being developed for high throughput drug screening and to study virus-host interaction studies.

Fellowships and Scholarships

  • 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award, Faculty of Science, NUS

  • 2006 Alumni Achievement Award, Nanyang Technology University, Dec 2006

  • 1993 Achievement Award, Chinese Canadian Institute of Arts and Science, Toronto, Canada.

  • Merit Award, Education Foundation, Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals, Toronto, Canada

  • 1992 Outstanding Achievement Award, Chinese Community Centre of Ontario Incorporated, Canada

  • 1980 APICS-Fraser Award, Most Outstanding Young Scientist in Atlantic Provinces of Canada, Canada.

  • 1972 – 1974 C.H. Best Fellowship, Banting & Best Department of Medical Research, University of Toronto, Canada

Selected Publications

  1. Li, SW; Tang, XH; Seetharaman, J, et al (2009) Dimerization of Hepatitis E Virus Capsid Protein E2s Domain Is Essential for Virus-Host Interaction. PLOS PATHOGENS Volume: 5 Issue: 8 e1000537

  2. Tan, HT; Tan, S; Lin, QS, et al. (2008) Quantitative and temporal proteome analysis of butyrate-treated colorectal cancer cells Mol CelL Proteomics Volume: 7 Issue: 6 Pages: 1174-1185   

  3. Chen, LM; Tran, BN; Lin, QS, et al. (2008) iTRAQ analysis of Singapore grouper iridovirus infection in a grouper embryonic cell line Journal of General Virology Volume: 89   Pages: 2869-2876   

  4. Fan Wang, Xuezhi Bi, Li Ming Chen and Choy-Leong Hew (2008) ORF018R, a highly abundant virion protein from Singapore grouper iridovirus, is involved in serine/threonine phosphorylation and virion assembly. Journal of General Virology, 89, Pages: 1169-1178  

  5. Minliang Guo, Shouguang Jin, Deying Sun, Choy L. Hew, and Shen Q. Pan (2007). Recruitment of conjugative DNA transfer substrate to Agrobacterium type IV secretion apparatus. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, December 11, 2007, 104 (50): 20019-24 (Microbiology)

  6. Guo, M., Hou, Q., Hew, C. L. & Pan, S. Q. (2007) Agrobacterium VirD2-binding protein is involved in tumorigenesis and redundantly encoded in conjugative transfer gene clusters. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. 20(10): 1201-1212.

  7. Chen Y, Choong LY, Lin Q, Philp R, Wong CH, Ang BK, Tan YL, Loh MC, Hew CL, Shah N, Druker BJ, Chong PK, Lim YP. (2007) Differential expression of novel tyrosine kinase substrates during breast cancer development.  Mol Cell Proteomics. 2007 Dec;6(12):2072-87

  8. Chen J, Li Z, Hew CL.(2007) Characterization of a novel envelope protein WSV010 of shrimp white spot syndrome virus and its interaction with a major viral structural protein VP24. Virology. 20;364(1):208-13.