Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Assoc Prof Tan Nguan Soon

Associate Professor, Metabolic Disorders and Vice Dean (Faculty Affairs)
Associate Professor, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
Associate Professor of Metabolic Disorders, School of Biological Sciences (SBS)

Assoc Prof Tan Nguan Soon

Academic Qualifications
1994-1997 Doctor of Philosophy, National University of Singapore
1992-1993 Bachelor of Science (Hons), National University of Singapore
1989-1991 Bachelor of Science, National University of Singapore

Professional Experience
2019-present Associate Professor (tenured), LKCmedicine (70%)
Associate Professor (tenured), School of Biological Sciences, NTU (30%)
2016-2018 Associate Professor (tenured), LKCmedicine (30%)
2014-2018 Associate Chair (Student), School of Biological Sciences, NTU
2014-2018 Associate Professor (tenured), School of Biological Sciences, NTU (70%)
2013-2014 Visiting Scientist, Kandang Kerbau Women's and Children's Hospital
2012-2016 Joint-PI IMCB, A*STAR
2011-present Editorial Board member of PPAR Research.
2005-2014 Assistant Professor, School of Biological Sciences, NTU
2006-2008 Assistant Chair (Undergraduate Affairs)
2000-2004 Research Fellow, Center for Integrative Genomics, Switzerland
1997-1999 Postdoc., National University of Singapore, Singapore

2014 The Commendation Medal (Prime Minister’s Office)
2013 Nanyang Education Award (College)
2012 Nanyang Award for Research Excellence
2011 College of Science Collaborative Research Award
2007 Nanyang Education Award (School)
2002-2003 Agency for Science, Technology and Research International Fellowship.

2016-present Board member, Skin Research Society (Singapore)
2014-present Active member, American Association for Cancer Research
2014-present Active member, American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.
2013-present Fellows of the Teaching Excellence Academy, NTU
Research Interests
Metastasis accounts for more than 90% of cancer mortality. Once metastasis occurs, surgical excision of the primary tumor no longer guarantees disease free survival and the probability of cancer relapse in distal organs increases significantly. Although most cancer deaths are the result of metastases, cancer research has mainly focused on the primary tumor. Our findings have established several paradigms in oxidative stress-driven metastasis. Tumor cells become migratory and invasive via epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). My lab has actively interrogated the molecular and metabolic changes in cancer cells during EMT. We showed that EMT is an energy-demanding process and that metabolic changes during EMT are critical to sustain an elevated adenylate energy charge needed to fuel various biological processes, such as invasion and chemoresistance. Our current interest aims to decipher the mechanisms that regulate and coordinate the different networks during EMT which will provide much-needed insight into the process of metastasis. Deliberate disruption of these mechanisms is expected to yield important clinical information regarding etiology, prognosis and response to therapy.

METABOLIC DISEASES (Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD)
NAFLD includes a spectrum of liver diseases that begin with lipid accumulation in the liver, also known as simple steatosis or NAFL. Over time, NAFL may gradually progress to the development of chronic inflammation (e.g., nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH), fibrosis and, ultimately, cirrhosis. NAFLD is an impending epidemic that affects 25% of the population worldwide. It is quickly becoming the leading cause of liver disease worldwide and has an increased prevalence of 40% in multiple westernized Asian countries (including Singapore). There is no FDA-approved treatment for NASH, and liver transplantation is the only proven treatment for end-stage liver disease. Recent FDA guidelines have highlighted the use of relevant animal models for the development of investigational drugs/therapies against noncirrhotic NASH with liver fibrosis. We have developed a novel NASH model that recapitulates the various transitory stages of human NAFLD and comorbidities such as insulin resistance and obesity. This NASH model is an efficient preclinical model for the validation of pharmacological candidates and nutritional interventions. We investigates the intimate relationship between gut microbes and the liver, the latter of which exploits prebiotics to rehabilitate gut microbes and microbial-derived metabolites to modify translatable mechanisms that affect hepatic metabolic flux and inflammation.

Poor healing wounds represent a silent epidemic that affects a large fraction of the world population and carries a heavy socioeconomic burden. Despite the enormous impact of these poor-healing wounds, effective therapies remain lacking. Effective management of these problems will require better understanding of the healing process to allow the creation of a salubrious environment conducive to healing. Our lab has worked extensively to understand the transcriptional regulation of skin wound healing and particularly the interplay among different cell types during wound healing. We identified angiopoietin-like 4 protein (ANGPTL4) as a novel matricellular protein that is essential for proper wound healing. Wound healing in ANGPTL4-knockout mice are delayed and share many characteristics of poor healing wounds, including increased/prolonged inflammation, impaired wound-related angiogenesis and ruined extracellular matrix. Thus, our current studies is to investigate the role of immune-associated reactive oxygen species on wound healing.
Current Projects
  • A Multimodal Imaging And Micro-Array Expression Profile Study To Unravel Possible Pathogenesis Of Melasma In Asian Population
  • A feasibility study of keratin as a tissue regeneration template for chronic wounds (Proj Code: ISG/11021)
  • A study to investigate the mechanism by which angiopoietin-like 4 modulates superoxide level in tumour for anoikis resistance- an anticancer therapeutic focused on the induction of redox-based apoptosis in tumors
  • Angiopoietin-like 4 as a Biomarker and Therapy Target for Acute Lung Damage in Influenza and Secondary Bacterial Infection
  • Bedside to bench and back again: evaluating Neisseria spp. as novel respiratory pathobionts using systems biology
  • Bedside to bench and back again: evaluating Neisseria spp. as novel respiratory pathobionts using systems biology (Andrew Tan)
  • Bioactive Stem Cells Secretome-Enriched Hydrogels for Chronic Wound Healing
  • Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts-Specific Nuclear Receptor Prognostic Signature
  • Characterization and Development of the potential diagnostic and therapeutic utilities of LYVE-1 expressing macrophages for vascular diseases
  • Cooper-Catalyzed Aerobic Molecular Transformation Directed Toward Drug Discovery
  • Development of Functionalized Phosphine Gold-Based Complexes for Breast Cancer Therapy
  • Development of a Photocrosslinkable Hair Keratin Based Hydrogel for Regenerating Vascularized Skin Grafts
  • Effect of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMFs) on Breast Cancer Progression in Post-Menopausal Women
  • Effect of topical application of encapsulated PPARbeta/delta agonist GW501516 microparticles, with two release kinetics, on cutaneous wound healing in diabetic mice – a preclinical animal study
  • Employment of bio-mimetic culture system as tumor microenvironment surrogate to elucidate tumor-stroma interaction
  • Establishment of a 3D biologically relevant cancer cell niche for high-throughput cancer drug screening
  • Fatty liver disease progression: unveiling nutrition and drug intervention pathways by gene expression profiling and biomarker identification
  • Modulating mesenchymal stem cell differentiation by controlling cellular morphology and material surface topography
  • Multimodal treatment and chemosensitization of squamous cell carcinoma by targeting nuclear receptors in cancer-associated fibroblasts
  • Relaxin treatment of liver fibrosis and vascular dysfunction using a novel animal model of non-alchoholic steatohepatits
  • Role of ANGPTL4 in regulating cellular bioenergetics for EMT in cancer cells
  • Role of PPAR in N6-methyladenosine mRNA methylation and Insulin Resistance
  • Role of angiopoietin-like 4 in cancer drug resistance during epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
  • Role of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of vitiligo
  • Role of tumor-derived angiopoetin-like protein 4 in cancer metastasis
  • Somatic missense mutations of ANGPTL4 and its biological consequence on oncogenic ROS production and metastasis
  • Targeting Brain Tumors: Improving Lives through Precision Medicine
  • Testing the efficacy of biologic wound dressing in accelerating wound healing in diabetic mice
  • The role angiopoitin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) in angiogenesis during wound healing and cancer growth
  • Therapeutic Improvement Of Scarring
  • Tissue engineering approach using hybrid scaffold with sustained delivery of matricellular protein for treating chronic wounds
  • Understanding The Role Of Angiopoietin-Like 4 In MacrophageM1/M2 Polarization During Wound Healing
  • Why is trans fat bad: Understanding the lipotoxic effect of trans fat
  • cANGPTL4 as a novel biomarker for rapid diagnosis and prediction of severity of acute pneumonia
Selected Publications

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