Academic Profile : Faculty

Navin Verma NTU Profile.jpg picture
Assoc Prof Navin Kumar Verma
Associate Professor, Immunology and Cell Biology, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
Postgraduate Tutor, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine)
Team

• Dr Amuthavalli Kottaiswamy, PhD, Post-doctoral Research Fellow
• Mr James Tan Chia Wei, Research Assistant
• Mr Wong Han Siang Brandon, IGP PhD student
• Mr Zhi Sheng Poh, PhD student

Assistant Professor Navin Kumar Verma obtained a PhD in Clinical Medicine from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland’s most prestigious University. He then undertook postdoctoral research training at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, where he studied T-cell motility and function. He was trained in various aspects of T-cell immunology implicated in tumor progression and wound healing.

Asst Prof Verma has made significant contribution in advancing the knowledge about the role of the T-cell adhesion receptor “Lymphocyte Function-associated Antigen-1” (LFA-1) in T-cell immunology. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers which are widely cited (h-Index 34) and 20 book chapters, and co-authors 5 patents.
I am a T-cell immunologist, and my research is at the forefront of globally competitive science advancing knowledge about T-cell molecular immunology implicated in health and diseases that are governed by dysregulated immune cells and inflammatory factors.

Past 10 years of my research has made significant strides in the understanding of T-cell immunology, particularly in relation to the leukocyte adhesion receptor, “Lymphocyte Function-associated Antigen-1” (LFA-1). My research has established that LFA-1 contact goes beyond its known role as a motility-triggering adhesion receptor to steering T-cell functional programs. This paradigm shifting study underscores the significance of LFA-1-mediated signaling, propelling safer clinical applications of LFA-1-targeted therapies. Along this line, through a series of publications, my research has uncovered key molecular pathways downstream of LFA-1 in motile T-cells.

Building on my fascination with T-cells and molecular knowledge gained through studying LFA-1, which is also crucial for tumor invasion and metastasis, my work revealed a novel mechanism of oncogenic activation augmenting the immune checkpoint inhibitor PD-L1 in natural killer/T-cell lymphomas. Subsequently, by deeper molecular probing, I identified important mutations in the DDX3X gene in a subgroup of T- and B-cell lineage lymphomas, the 6th most common cancer in Singapore. This discovery, published in Mol Cancer, 2021, explains why certain cancer patients are unresponsive to traditional chemotherapy who may require alternative treatments.

With experience gained through my immunology and LFA-1/cell motility research, I am venturing into harnessing unique immune modulating properties of bioactive materials to enhance skin cell migration, a crucial process of wound repair. I have innovated several cutting-edge experimental models simulating infection and inflammation.

In the long-term, guided by my specialized knowledge in T-cell immunology, I aspire to address pressing biological questions and provide practical solutions for patients grappling with cancer and chronic wound inflammation.


Research goal

Research goal
 
  • Biomimetic ε-lysine-incorporated aligned nanofibrous advanced dressing for diabetic and infected wounds
  • Characterization of The Role of Gut Microbiota and Immune System in Cancer Immunity of N-WASP Knockout Mice
  • Development of a specific DDX3Y inhibitor for prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Emergence of Organ Transplantation: Operating Rooms and Laboratories in the Making of a New Biomedical Enterprise
  • Modulating the Adaptive Immunity with Biomaterial Designs to Enhance Nerve Regeneration
  • Rational Design and Effectiveness of Cell-selective Anti-Microbial Peptides (ROADMAP) for Fungal Keratitis
  • Singapore IYMPHoma translatiONal StudY (SYMPHONY)
  • Understanding Immunomodulatory Impact of Bioengineered Scaffold Topologies in the Skin Wound
Awards
2021 - Singapore Health & Biomedical Congress (SHBC) 2021 Best Poster Award
2019 - European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS) Award
2017 - Scientific and Educational Society (SERS) Fellow Award
2014 - Singapore Health & Biomedical Congress (SHBC) 2014 Best Poster Award
 
Fellowships & Other Recognition
2006-2009: The Higher Education Authority (HEA) of Ireland international education scholarship for pursuing PhD.
1997-1999: Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India for pursuing MSc in Ag Biotechnology.
Expertscape World Expert in Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1 (https://expertscape.com/ex/lymphocyte+function-associated+antigen-1)
 
Courses Taught
LKCMedicine Undergraduate (MBBS): Foundation of Medicine - Carcinogenesis and Cancer Genetics (FoM: TBL4)
LKCMedicine Undergraduate (MBBS): Foundation of Medicine - Immunology Block (FoM: TBL9 & TBL10)
LKCMedicine Undergraduate (MBBS): Foundation of Medicine - Microbiology Block (FoM: TBL11 & TBL12)
LKCMedicine Undergraduate (MBBS): Blood and Lymphatics (BL) Block
LKCMedicine Undergraduate (MBBS): Skin Block
LKCMedicine Undergraduate (MBBS): Infection (Inf) Block
LKCMedicine Undergraduate (MBBS): Gastrointestinal System (GI) Block
LKCMedicine Postgraduate PhD module in Bio-entrepreneurship
 
Supervision of PhD Students
Zhi Sheng Poh (2021-2025) - "Molecular cues associated with cancer aggressive phenotypes and chemoresistance"
Wong Han Siang Brandon (2020-2024) - "Functional impact of high extracellular K+ on human T-cells"
Atish Kizhakeyil (2016-2020) - "Targeting pro-tumorigenic signalling pathways in hematolymphoid malignancies"