Assistant Professor Tan has made significant research contributions in cancer biology, wound repair, and metabolic syndrome. His pivotal works in cancer biology reveal the role and mechanisms of angiopoietin-like 4 protein in wound repair, cancer and metastasis.
Recognizing that wound healing is a complex process, he went on to develop a 3D skin organotypic culture in chemically defined condition. Using this model, he revealed novel signaling patterns that control skin cell proliferation.
Obesity poses a serious problem by virtue of its association with an array of secondary metabolic abnormalities which are collectively termed metabolic syndrome. The nuclear receptor PPARs are well established players in the development of metabolic syndrome and Assistant Professor Tan has been working on PPAR signaling for many years. Emerging studies show that PPAR communicates with other transcription factors to control the development of metabolic syndrome. One such transcription factor is Smad3. He is the first to report that deficiency in Smad3 in mice protects the mice from high-fat diet induced obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.
He has a total of 60 publications, have garnered 2290 citations with Hirsch index of 23. He has received research grants from Academic Research Council (Tier 2), Biomedical Research Council, National Medical Research Council, A*STAR Singapore Stem Cell Consortium, Singapore Cancer Society totalling $3.8 million.