Research Assistant Professor
My interests lie in how the cells in our heart talk to each other, and how a deeper understanding of this process can lead to new strategies for tackling the burden of cardiovascular disease. Since joining the Foo Lab, this pursuit has led to the development of several methods for cellular dissociation of the heart, with a goal of isolating pure populations for individual and co-culture studies. The first of these can be found here [ https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.116.309202 ].
I continue to collaborate and offer advice to labs worldwide on techniques for cardiomyocyte isolation, please do get in touch with questions or comments.
More recently, together with colleagues, I have adopted single cell RNA sequencing as a technique to investigate cellular diversity and communication in the adult mammalian heart.
Current research directions focus on the signalling interplays between resident cardiac cells, and infiltrating inflammatory cells, following insults such as ischaemic injury, and ageing.
I have earned the lab nickname of “Owl”, make of that what you will. But really, when I’m not in lab, chances are you’ll find me relaxing somewhere sunny, and sandy.
Matias I. Autio
I am a Senior Scientist based in the Genome Institute of Singapore. I hold a joint-appointment in the Foo-lab in NUS as a Senior Research Fellow. My research interests include the establishment and use of genomic safe harbours (GSH) for targeted transgene expression in human cells. GSH can be utilized in many applications related to gene and cell therapy as well as in basic research. Part of the GSH work has been published in a pre-print (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.07.471422v1).
I routinely use many genome engineering tools, including CRISPR-Cas9 in many different flavours (from cutting Cas9 to prime-editing and anything in between) in the laboratory. With the different tools I generate cellular models of (heart) disease and development mainly utilizing hES and hiPS. In addition to the above, I am also developing tools for high and low throughput analysis and testing of regulatory elements.
Outside the lab my time is spent taking care of three young children.
Hi I’m Louis. In the lab, I generate Adeno-Associated Virus for our lab as well as Nucleic acid extraction for clinical samples. Apart from wet lab work, I work closely with Prof Roger and Shi Ling to manage the day to day administrative activities of the lab to ensure everything is running smoothly. When not in the lab, I enjoy exploring new food places as well as collecting whiskies.
Senior Research Fellow
I did my undergraduate degree in Food and Human Nutrition close to home at Newcastle University (UK). I worked for a year as a research assistant in Co. Cork (Ireland) in an Agriculture and Biotechnology centre. During my undergraduate degree I developed an interest in molecular biology and obtained a Wellcome Trust MPhil/PhD scholarship at the Institute of Metabolic Science (Cambridge, UK). After my PhD I joined the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition at the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm). My research for the past few years has primarily focussed on chromatin and epigenomics. Currently in the lab we are working on improving and adapting massively parallel reporter assays for cis regulatory element and genetic variant characterisation.
Soong Poh Loong (PL)
Senior Research Fellow
PL is an experienced human stem cell scientist and translational cardiac tissue engineer. As a member of the ISSCR, European Society for Cardiology and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), PL’s research interest lies in human stem cell-based disease modelling, regeneration and repair of the diseased heart.
PL obtained his Dr. rer. nat. (Ph.D) from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Universität Medizin Göttingen, Germany under the German Research Foundation Scholarship (DFG) in Professor Wolfram H. Zimmermann’s research group. His thesis entitled “Development of a novel technology to engineer heart muscle for contractile and paracrine support in heart failure” was awarded summa cum laude and a global patent. As a former staff of ES Cell International, PL has intimate know-how and expertise in generating cGMP grade human stem cell lines, reprogramming and pharmaco-disease modelling, and helped establish the human stem cell (HSC) and cell banking capabilities in Göttingen. As a Jnr. Group Leader, he guided translational projects using Engineered Heart Muscles (EHMs) as a physiological model to study cardiac diseases and investigate the redox states of HSC derived CMs and non-myocytes in the tissues. During his tenures in Hamburg and Göttingen, he has developed vast personal networks with global KOLs in the cardiac regeneration field and collaborated in pre-clinical animal studies using EHMs to repair and regenerate infarcted rodent hearts. These studies have since translated from disease modelling to the First-in-Human trial of the BioVAT-HF (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04396899) as a therapeutic device for subjects suffering from terminal heart failure.
Outside of work, PL loves travelling, diving, playing the piano and cooking. He can often be found in the kitchen attempting new dishes that draws inspirations from his travels. Remarkably, some are palatable.
PL is also the co-founder of a Singapore biotech startup that develops high-speed, high throughput platforms for cellular characterization, disease modelling, drug safety screening and quality control.
Mick is a Research Fellow at NUS Cardiovascular Research Institute. He completed his PhD in 2022 with the Foo Lab under the Kwan Im Thong Hood Tho graduate research scholarship. Being trained in both the dry and wet lab, his work has contributed to many of our lab’s seminal works on cardiac enhancers (Tan et al, 2019. Circulation Research; Anene-Nzelu et al, 2020 circulation; Anene-Nzelu et al, 2021. Nature Cardiology Review).
His research interest lies in studying the underlying genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underpinning cardiac development and disease. Through the use of cutting edge technology and functional genomics such as CRISPR screens, human 2D and 3D iPSC-derived models, and multiOMICs technology, his aim is to gain insights into the gene regulatory mechanisms and network underlying cardiac function.
I focus on developing and improving techniques for rodent cardiomyocyte isolation and culture to facilitate studies that require a high-quality cardiomyocyte population. I also apply these cultures in in vitro multi-cell-type 3D engineered heart tissues to model cardiac disease. I did my PhD at the Indian institute of technology Madras and I have been a fellow at the Foo lab since 2020.
Francesco Paolo Ruberto
I am a molecular and cellular biologist who obtained a Ph.D. in cardiovascular science at the University of Lausanne Medical School, in Switzerland in the laboratory of Prof. Thierry Pedrazzini. My work particularly focused on the role of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNA) in cardiomyocyte proliferation. Applying a variety of techniques, I performed an extensive characterization of a novel lncRNA, implicated in cardiomyocyte metabolism and proliferation. Importantly, these results have therapeutic values for promoting regeneration in the diseased heart. The general understanding of lncRNAs is expanding and it is now knowledge that some lncRNAs can be translated into functional micropeptides, a new class of regulatory molecules mediators of essential biological processes. Recently, I joined the laboratory of Prof. Roger Foo, at the Department of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, where I am investigating the role of lncRNA derived micropeptides in metabolism and heart disease.
I’m a vascular biologist by training with a keen research interest in smooth muscle biology. I trained under Prof Lucie Clapp at University College London where I did my PhD studying circulating smooth muscle-derived biomarkers in pulmonary arterial hypertension. I then did my first post-doc under Prof Marilena Loizidou also at UCL where we studied the role of circulating extracellular vesicles in carcinomas including colorectal and thyroid cancer. At Foo Lab, I revisited my vascular roots and delved into the study of cell states in cardiovascular diseases. My current work revolves around the study of smooth muscle phenotypic switching in atherosclerotic disease utilizing certain technologies such as spatial and single-cell transcriptomics, and CRISPR.
Luu Danh Anh Tuan
I am the small animal surgeon, have joined Foo Lab since June, 2013. I have performed TAC (>4000 cases), MI ( >400 cases) and MIR (50 cases) surgeries for mouse model. Beside that, I also do other surgeries as neonatal apical resection, neonatal MI, minipump implantation….I have been trained TAC and MI surgeries (2013, Wang Yibin ‘lab at UCLA, USA), neonatal apical resection and neonatal MI surgeries (2018, Hesham Sadek’lab at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Texas, USA). I am also doing mouse husbandry for over 20 mouse strains of our lab. I hope I can help our scientific research comunity for in vivo study.
I’m Ryan, a PhD student working in Foo Lab! My research interest is in epigenetic regulation of cardiac developmental processes. In my free time, I like to read and do wildlife photography.
Hi, I’m Weirui, a PhD student in the Foo lab. My main focus is on unraveling the functional roles of DNA variants associated with heart function. During my free time, you might spot me at a café, enjoying some manga readings on the weekends.
Hi, I’m Zhihan, a PhD student working in the Foo lab since January 2023. I have completed my Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from China Pharmaceutical University and my Master’s degree in Pharmacology from UCL. My research focuses on cardiac aging and my current project is the validation and optimization of an RNA editing technology in specifically targeting and manipulating senescent cells in the heart.
I like watching football matches and playing football with my colleagues. During my free time, I enjoy travelling around to explore delicious food.
Hi, I’m Yang, a PhD student who joined the lab in August 2022. I majored in pharmacy during my undergraduate studies, and during my Master’s degree, my main subject was spatial single-cell transcriptomics. Currently, my research focuses on investigating therapeutic strategies to reduce cardiac valve calcification, as well as exploring potential targets in cardiac aging using single-cell RNA sequencing.
I am interested in understanding the processes involved in cardiovascular diseases and developing effective therapeutic approaches. Additionally, I have a passion for data analysis, which allows me to extract meaningful insights from complex biological datasets.
Outside of academia, I enjoy running, dancing, and indulging in reading during my free time.
I’m a PhD student in Foo lab working on identifying regulatory elements capable of driving robust and specific gene expression in the heart. When I’m not in the lab, I’m probably in the gym.
Hi, I’m Erielle! I developed a passion for bioinformatics during my undergraduate studies. I am currently working on data analysis for cardiac bulk/single cell RNA-seq and spatial transcriptomics. In my free time, I like to play music and solve word puzzles.
Timothy Ng Yu
Hi, I’m Tim. During my undergraduate studies, I worked on a transgenic mice model of cardiomyocyte apoptosis to study its role as a hallmark of heart failure. Currently, I’m working under Dr Siggens to develop and optimize MPRA assays, which are high throughput, functional, epigenomic assays.
Clinical Research Coordinator/Research Assistant
Hey there! I am a clinical research coordinator under National University Hospital (NUH) Cardiology department, and also a research assistant in NUS Cardiovascular-Metabolic Disease Translational Research Programme in Foo Lab. With a background in the pharmaceutical industry and organic chemistry, I have built an interest in drug screening and pharmaceutical development in cardiotoxicity. Aside from the hustle and bustle on Mondays to Fridays, you’ll probably see me rushing to spin classes and then quenching my thirst with wine and whisky.
Clinical Research Coordinator/Research Assistant
I help to coordinate clinical projects at the NUS Cardiovascular Research Institute, under scope of Cardiovascular Metabolic Disease. This consists of interacting with patients, collecting and processing their samples/ data, and liaising with regulatory boards to ensure good standards of clinical practice. The projects I am working on are aimed at multidisciplinary ways to spot cardiovascular disease before it manifests in ill conditions like heart failure, heart attacks, etc. Before joining the lab, I used to work as a veterinary nurse and it has always been my desire to improve patient wellbeing – furry animals and humans alike. Aside from work, you’ll probably find me playing sports or heading to the beach.
I’m a Research Assistant in Foo lab working on characterising an uncharacterised protein and helping out with sci-RNAseq. When I’m not in the lab (MD6), I’m probably walking to another lab (MD11).
Hi! I’m Veronica, a Research Assistant in Foo Lab. I have undergraduate degree in Pharmacy and master’s degree in Food Science, hence my journey to understand all the confusing life science terms has just begun. Currently being trained and helping out with ChIP-seq, CRISPR screens, and sci-RNA-seq. I’m an avid foodie and like exploring new eateries on weekends.
Nur Natasha Amiera
Clinical Research Coordinator/Research Assistant
I am a Research Assistant for the esteemed Foo-lab, actively contributing to various research projects. My commitment to scientific inquiry and attention to detail enables me to play a crucial role in furthering the lab’s research endeavors.
Additionally, I am also a Clinical Research Coordinator, dedicated to advancing the field of cardiovascular-metabolic disease research as part of NUS Cardiovascular-Metabolic Disease Translational Research Programme. My primary focus revolves around the PICMAN study, and I anticipate numerous other research opportunities to be entrusted to me in the near future.
Together, my roles as a Clinical Research Coordinator and Research Assistant reflect my unwavering passion for scientific discovery and the pursuit of knowledge in the realm of cardiovascular-metabolic diseases. I look forward to making valuable contributions to the scientific community and driving breakthroughs in this vital field.
Adinda Fitri Falinka
Hi! I’m Adinda and I am an undergraduate researcher doing a student project on variants of SCN5A. I’m currently interested in using hiPSC-CMs to model and study cardiovascular-related diseases at an in-vitro level. In my time in the Foo Lab, I’m trying to pick up new lab skills and concepts that are related to stem cell biology.Outside of the lab, I enjoy going to the gym and the library.
I am an undergraduate researcher in my final year. My work is centered around generating SCN5A gene variants in stem cells using CRISPR-Cas9 prime editing technology and establishing a disease model with human stem cell derived cardiomyocytes for in-vitro genotype-phenotype assessment.
Mohamed Corleon Bin Mohamed Nasir
Greetings, I’m Corleon, an undergraduate researcher from NUS who joined FooLab to conduct my Final Year Project. My project entails converting human-iPSCs into cardiomyocytes for metabolic studies to analyze changes in gene expressions. Outside of the lab, I train and teach Historical European Martial Arts in Bastion Historical Fencing Academy, teach CPR/AED in army camps, and I am a Dungeon Master for my Dungeons and Dragons games.
Ng Shi Ling
Hello! I am Shi Ling. I have been a research assistant in Foo-lab since 2015; that will be 8 years and counting. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Science (Biomedical science major) from the University of Western Australia.
My main expertise in the lab is Histology which involves processing, sectioning and staining of tissue samples. Prior to joining Foo-Lab, I was in a Histopathology lab at a local hospital for 5 years. Other than Histology, I am also the group’s lab safety lead and has prepared the lab for audits, safety checks and documentation submissions. Since 2022 onwards, I took up the role of procurement and invoice payment duties and, I have been working closely with my lab manager Louis to run the lab – managing lab consumables bulk purchases, maintenance of lab equipment and other (numerous) day-to-day functionality of the lab. Throughout the years, I enjoyed learning and gaining new lab technique such as molecular work, tissue culture and clinical work. It is always inspiring to explore exciting science and its results with driven and passionate Post-docs/PhD students/fellow colleagues.
When I’m not in the lab, I would either be in Bangkok-Thailand or in the kitchen trying new recipes or on my sofa reading an e-book with a cup of coffee. In the near future, I would also be cuddling with my little one.
Dr Ana Vujic (Wellcome Trust PhD student)
Presently: Independent Fellow at Cambridge Cardiovascular, BHF Centre of Excellence link
Dr Darshan Brahmbhatt (MPhil student, Cambridge)
Presently: Heart Failure Fellow, University of Toronto link
Dr Emma Robinson (Wellcome Trust PhD student)
Presently: Research Fellow, Anschutz Medical Campus, U Colorado link
Dr Kelvin See (ASTAR Research Fellow)
Presently: Senior Research Scientist, Sparks Therapeutics link
Dr Lina Cordeddu (Research Fellow)
Presently: Research Fellow at the Karolinska Institutet
Dr Mehregan Movassagh (Research Fellow)
Presently: Director of Technology – Early R&D (Global Insights, Analytics & Commercial Excellence), AstraZeneca link
Suzanne Tan (Research Assistant)
Presently in Spain
Chua Wee Woon (Laboratory Technologist)
Presently: Medical Technologist in Angsana Molecular and Diagnostics Laboratory.
Ellen Tejo (Laboratory Technologist)
Presently pursing biomedical studies in Australia
Jyn Ling Kuan (Bioinformatics Specialist)
Presently: PRISM, Singhealth
Dr Eleanor Wong (ASTAR Postdoctoral Fellow)
Presently: Programme Manager, PRECISION medicine, ASTAR link
Dr Ives Lim (Research Fellow)
Presently: Senior Research Fellow, Bioinformatics Institute, ASTAR link
Dr Cheryl Xueli Chan (NGS PhD student)
Presently: Scientist, ROHTO Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. link
Dr Oliver Worsley (SINGA PhD student)
Presently: Founder CEO, Sequential Skin
Dr Dominic Lee (NUS PhD scholar)
Presently: Research Fellow at Department of Physiology, NUS link
Edita Aliwarga (Research Assistant)
Presently: Assay Scientist, Veranome Biosystems
Dr Lim Choon Kiat (NGS PhD student)
Presently: Scientist at Umami Meats Singapore link
Dr Ning Ding (PhD student)
Presently: Assoc Director of Academic Programmes, BASIS International School, Shenzhen
Dr Efthymios Motakis (Senior Research Fellow)
Presently: Computational Scientist, The Jackson Laboratory
Dr Benson Lim (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Presently: Field Application Specialist III, Life Science Group, BIORAD link
Dr Zhao Rongrong (Research Assistant Professor)
Dr Michelle Fong (Postdoc Fellow)
Presently: Global Product Support Specialist Service Solution (APAC), Qiagen
Cheng Li Yi (Research Assistant)
Presently: PhD grad student, U Colorado
Dr Albert Dashi (SINGA PhD student)
Presently: Co-founder CSO Sequential Skin
Dr Wilson Lek Wen Tan (PhD student)
Presently: Postdoc Fellow, Stanford Cardiovascular Institute link
Dr George Anene (Research Assistant Professor)
Presently: Assistant Professor, Montreal Heart Institute link
Dr Swati Tomar (Senior Research Fellow)
Presently: Product Manager, Rare and Inherited Diseases, Sophia Genetics link
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Brett Joseph Collinge (University of British Columbia)
Priscilla Lim Xin Yi (Science, NUS)
Seow Wei Qiang (Science, NUS)
Lam Shing Pheng (Ngee Ann Polytechnic)
Phillina Yihui Phua (Ngee Ann Polytechnic)
Chunjie Wong (Hwa Chong Institution)
Yee Shiun Chan (NUS High School)
Benjamin Lee (NTU Medical School)
Daobo Wang (NUS Medical School)
Sia Tze Yang (Raffles Institution)
Tan Ting Fang (Raffles Institution)
Raphael Soh (Raffles Institution)
“Jay” Kritchai Vutipongsatorn (Temasek JC)
Li Ting Lee (Temasek Polytechnic)
Irwin Lee (Republic Polytechnic)
Melvin Yong (Republic Polytechnic)
Ellen Tejo (Republic Polytechnic)
Jade Tangqi Ng (Murdoch University)
Valencia Phua (NTU School of Science)
Nicole Choi Yuk Yin (Ngee Ann Polytechnic)
Ser Ning Poh (Ngee Ann Polytechnic)
Jing Han Ng (NUS Medical School)
Yi Hao Nah (Republic Polytechnic)
Dr Will Flynn (University of Cambridge)
Robin Hartman (University of Utrecht)
Ahmad Salehi (Iran University)
Dr Gareth Matthews (University of Cambridge)
Tan Yong Hong (NUS Medical School)
Yim Wai Tsun (NUS Computational Biology)
Tee Woan Chin (NUS Computational Biology)
Muhamad Fachrul (I3L, Indonesia)
Kevin Jonathan (I3L, Indonesia)
Gracia Felias Enos Korompis (I3L, Indonesia)
Ang Wei Xiang (Bioengineering, NUS)