Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Asst Prof Chen Gang

Assistant Professor, School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences

Asst Prof Chen Gang

Dr. Gang CHEN ( Email: RNA-CHEN(at) ) received his B.S. degree in Chemistry at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 2001. He did his Ph.D. studies with Prof. Douglas Turner in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Rochester. His Ph.D. work involved thermodynamic and NMR studies of RNA internal loops. A better understanding of the sequence dependence of thermodynamics for RNA structures will improve the accuracy of the RNA secondary structure prediction programs such as MFOLD and RNAstructure. He earned his Ph.D. in 2005. He was a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Ignacio Tinoco’s lab in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley from January 2006 to June 2009. His research in Tinoco lab was on single-molecule mechanical unfolding and folding of RNA pseudoknots by laser optical tweezers, which provided new insights into ribosomal reading-frame regulation by cis-acting mRNA structures. From July 2009 to July 2010, he was a Research Associate in Prof. David Millar's lab in the Department of Molecular Biology at The Scripps Research Institute working on HIV-1 Rev-RRE assembly using single-molecule fluorescence techniques. In July 2010, he joined the faculty in the Division of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

He will leave NTU in June 2020 and set up a new research group and carry out undergraduate and graduate teaching in the School of Life and Health Sciences (LHS) at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen (CUHK-SZ).

Multiple positions (graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) are available in Dr. CHEN's group. Motivated students with high scientific ethics and strong research background are invited to join the multidisciplinary research group led by Dr. CHEN to probe and reprogram the structures, stabilities, dynamics, and biological functions of RNAs and RNA-protein complexes using various biological, physical, and chemical techniques. Annual salary for postdocs is about 360K RMB = 47K Euro = 71.5K SGD. PhD students typically get an annual salary of about 60K RMB.

Studying/working at CUHK-Shenzhen and in Shenzhen city:

Living in Shenzhen:
Research Interests
Dr Gang CHEN has been interested in probing the molecular recognition interactions responsible for RNA structures, stabilities, dynamics, and functions since 2001. He has worked on a variety of RNA structures including non-Watson-Crick base pairs (such as isoG-isoC, G-A, A-A, U-U, U-C, G-U, and A-C pairs), base triples, and pseudoknots. The triplex structures present in RNA pseudoknots inspired the current work on targeting RNA by dsRNA-binding chemically modified peptide nucleic acids (PNAs, see below), which show selective recognition of dsRNAs over ssRNAs and dsDNAs.

1. Yang, L., Zhong, Z., Tong, C., Jia, H., Liu, Y., and Chen, G.* (2018) Single-molecule mechanical folding and unfolding of RNA hairpins: Effects of single A-U to A∙C pair substitutions and single proton binding and implications for mRNA structure-induced −1 ribosomal frameshifting. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 140, 8172-8184. (IF: 14.357)

2. Patil, K.M., Toh, D.F.K., Yuan, Z., Meng, Z., Shu, Z., Zhang, H., Ong, A.A.L., Krishna, M.S., Lu, L., Lu, Y.,* and Chen, G.* (2018) Incorporating uracil and 5-halouracils into short peptide nucleic acids for enhanced recognition of A-U pairs in dsRNAs. Nucleic Acids Res. 46, 7506-7521. (IF: 11.561)

3. Krishna, M.S., Toh, D.F.K., Meng, Z., Ong, A.A.L., Wang, Z., Lu, Y., Xia, K., Prabakaran, M., and Chen, G.* (2019) Sequence- and structure-specific probing of RNAs by short nucleobase-modified dsRNA-binding PNAs incorporating a fluorescent light-up uracil analog. Anal. Chem., 91, 5331-5338. (IF: 6.042)

4. Kesy, J., Patil, K.M., Kumar, S.M. Shu, Z., Yee, Y.H., Zimmermann, L., Ong, A.A.L., Toh, D.F.K., Krishna, M.S., Yang, L., Decout, J.L., Luo, D., Prabakaran, M.,* Chen, G.,* and Kierzek, E.* (2019) A short chemically modified dsRNA-binding PNA (dbPNA) inhibits influenza viral replication by targeting viral RNA panhandle structure. Bioconjugate Chem., 30, 931-943. (IF: 4.485)

5. Puah, R.Y. Jia, H., Maraswami, M., Toh, D.F.K., Ero, R., Yang, L., Patil, K.M., Ong, A.A.L., Krishna, M.S., Sun, R., Tong, C., Huang, M., Chen, X., Loh, T.P., Gao, Y.G., Liu, D.X.,* and Chen, G.* (2018) Selective binding to mRNA duplex regions by chemically modified peptide nucleic acids stimulates ribosomal frameshift. Biochemistry 57, 149-159. (IF: 2.997)

6. Toh, D.F.K., Devi, G., Patil, K.M., Qu, Q., Maraswami, M., Xiao, Y., Loh, T.P., Zhao, Y.,* and Chen, G.* (2016) Incorporating a guanidine-modified cytosine base into triplex-forming PNAs for the recognition of a C-G pyrimidine-purine inversion site of an RNA duplex. Nucleic Acids Res. 44, 9071-9082. (IF: 11.561)

7. Devi, G., Yuan, Z., Lu, Y., Zhao, Y.,* and Chen, G.* (2014) Incorporation of thio-pseudoisocytosine into triplex-forming peptide nucleic acids for enhanced recognition of RNA duplexes. Nucleic Acids Res. 42, 4008-4018. (IF: 11.561)
Current Projects
  • Application of Molecular Dynamics Simulation in Determining Protein Stability Prior to Protein Expression
  • Creating High-Information-Content Nano-Structures based on Modified Nucleic Acids
  • Detecting and Targeting Influenza Viral Panhandle RNA Structure
  • Developing Near-Infrared Fluorescent Light-Up Probes for Detecting RNA Structures in Viruses and Cancers
  • Glycocode-Oriented Drug Delivery into Breast Cancer Cells
  • RNA Structures, Dynamics, And Function
  • Solid State Nanopore Devices for Single Molecule Biophysics and Sequencing
  • Synthesis of Modified Triplex-Forming Peptide Nucleic Acids for Targeting HIV-1 Ribosomal Frameshift Stimulatory RNA Structure
  • Tagging CRISPR Guide RNAS
  • Targeting Pre-mRNA and Pre-miRNA by RNA Duplex-Binding Peptide Nucleic Acids
  • Targeting RNA Duplexes With Modified Triplex-Forming Oligonucleotides: From Atomic Mutation to Single-Molecule Manipulation
  • Unravelling mRNA Structure’s Role in Translational Regulation

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