Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Asst Prof Christine Cheung

Nanyang Assistant Professor, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

Email: ccheung@ntu.edu.sg
Phone: +65 69047049
Office: EMB 03 01
Asst Prof Christine Cheung

Biography
Assistant Professor Christine Cheung is a Nanyang Assistant Professor in Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, and an awardee of the 2016 Nanyang Assistant Professorship. She received a PhD in Cardiovascular and Stem Cell Medicine from the University of Cambridge, and a BEng (First Class) from Imperial College London. For her pioneering approach to create organ-specific blood vessels, she was recognized with the Young Investigator Prize from the British Society for Cardiovascular Research. Notably, she was named an Honoree of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Singapore by Junior Chamber International, as well as the Life Science Fellow for L'Oréal Singapore For Women in Science National Fellowship in 2018. To advance her work, she is an awardee of the prestigious Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) research grant. She currently serves on the executive committee of Stem Cell Society Singapore.
Research Interests
The crux of many diseases lies in the blood vessels. We are finding means to restore blood vessel health before adverse outcomes of diseases occur, with the goal of working towards preventive medicine. Main thrusts of our research include:

Personalised Vascular Models
Our lab invents methods to convert human stem cells to blood vessel cells, resembling those found in the heart and brain arteries. We also develop blood outgrowth endothelial cells directly from patients with vascular complications. These cellular models recapitulate the phenotypic and molecular changes associated with vascular pathology, opening the door to drug screening and regenerative medicine.

Genetic Basis of Vascular Ageing
Blood vessels in various organs behave differently despite similar genetic and systemic conditions. This may explain why diseases like cerebral amyloid angiopathy and CADASIL uniquely affect the vasculatures of the brain. We aim to understand how certain genetic disorders preferentially inflict vascular beds of specific organs. By employing genome editing tools and cell-based phenotypic assays, we hope to explore pathogenic mechanisms which pave the way for developing vascular-targeted therapies. 

Vascular Disease Biomarkers
There remain significant knowledge gaps in the functional interpretation of clinical biomarkers in whether they are causal or a consequence in the disease process. Leveraging on our collaborations with clinicians, we elucidate biomarkers relating to key vascular processes such as blood vessel instability and inflammation. Deep-dive elucidation of such molecular signatures will enable us to unravel implicated pathways, and achieve better diagnostics for early intervention.
Current Projects
  • Development of Functional Biomarkers to Inform StrokePrognosis and Vascular Repair Strategy
  • Ensemble of Multi-disciplinary Systems and Integrated Omics for NAFLD (EMULSION) diagnostic and therapeutic discovery
  • Functional Genetics of Non-Coding Variant rs6903956 in Endothelial Dysfunction
  • Provost's Chair in Medicine (Christine Cheung)
  • Subtype-Specific Pathways of Neovascularisation in Macular Degeneration
Selected Publications
  • Kiskin FN, Chang C,… Cheung C, et al. (2018). Contribution of BMPR2 mutations and extrinsic factors in cellular phenotypes of pulmonary arterial hypertension. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 198, 271-275.
  • Narmada BC, Goh YT, … Cheung C. (2016). Human stem cell-derived endothelial-hepatic platform for efficacy testing of vascular-protective metabolites from nutraceuticals. Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 6, 851-863.
  • Cheung C, Bernardo AS, Pedersen RA, et al. (2014). Directed differentiation of embryonic origin-specific vascular smooth muscle subtypes from human pluripotent stem cells. Nature Protocols, 9, 929-938.
  • Cheung C, Goh YT, Zhang J, et al. (2014). Modelling cerebrovascular pathophysiology in amyloid-β metabolism using neural crest-derived smooth muscle cells. Cell Reports, 9, 391-401.
  • Cheung C, Bernardo AS, Trotter MW, et al. (2012). Generation of human vascular smooth muscle subtypes provides insight into embryological origin-dependent disease susceptibility. Nature Biotechnology, 30(2), 165-73.

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