Academic Profile

Assistant Professor Christine Cheung is a Nanyang Assistant Professor and Provost's Chair in Medicine in Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University. 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.
Christine Cheung profile pic.jpg picture
Asst Prof Christine Cheung
Nanyang Assistant Professor, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

The saying goes 'A man is as old as his arteries'. Blood vessels transcend all organ systems and underlie the crux of many health conditions. Our research aims to understand biological mechanisms of endothelial dysfunctions in vascular abnormalities caused by genetic, degenerative and inflammatory conditions. We employ advanced molecular techniques, human-relevant experimental models and patient-derived materials to elucidate pathological endothelial cell behaviours. Our work provide insights for translation to restore blood vessel health and regenerative therapies.​​

Personalised Vascular Models
​There are well-studied morphological, biochemical and phenotypical heterogeneities in our blood vessel system. Using the human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) technology, we have invented techniques to derive vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells, resembling those found in the brain and heart arteries. Such resources open the door to creating personalised vascular models that are amenable to comprehensive phenotypic assessment and gene editing. The hPSC-based vascular models also enables far-reaching experimental strategies e.g. drug/inhibitor screening to facilitate the development of novel therapeutics.

Genetic Basis of Vascular Ageing
​A key challenge of interpreting genetic risk variants from genome wide association studies is that most variants do not encode genes. Emerging evidence suggests that non-coding variants may reside in regulatory elements or influence the activity of other gene-coding regions through long range chromatin interactions. We are working on the genotype-to-phenotype basis of vascular disease-associated variants, in order to elucidate how transcriptional and epigenetic modulators impact on phenotypic differences between normal and diseased cells.​

Vascular Disease Biomarkers
​​Immune cells and vascular progenitor cells show characteristic changes in their gene expressions and phenotypes in response to vascular injury. We are developing prognostic biomarkers that are well-grounded on the function of these blood-borne cells. Deep-dive analysis of patient-derived cells would reveal mechanistic differences in ‘susceptible’ versus ‘protective’ individuals, improving diagnostics for early intervention.
 
  • Conversations between brain and vasculature: studying and mimicking their intertwined development

  • Development of Functional Biomarkers to Inform Stroke Prognosis and Vascular Repair Strategy

  • Development of Functional Biomarkers to Inform StrokePrognosis and Vascular Repair Strategy

  • Ensemble of Multi-disciplinary Systems and Integrated Omicsfor NAFLD (EMULSION) diagnostic and therapeutic discovery

  • Functional Genetics of Non-Coding Variant rs6903956 in Endothelial Dysfunction

  • Next-generation human organoids: Characterization, isolation and combinatorial re-assembly of niche components

  • Next-generation human organoids: Characterization, isolation and combinatorial re-assembly of niche components (Foo Jia Nee)

  • Next-generation human organoids: Characterization, isolation and combinatorial re-assembly of niche components (Philip Ingham)

  • Next-generation human organoids: Characterization, isolation and combinatorial re-assembly of niche components (Yen Choo)

  • Provost's Chair in Medicine (Christine Cheung)

  • Subtype-Specific Pathways of Neovascularisation in Macular Degeneration
 
  • C. Cheung, A.S. Bernardo, M.W. Trotter, R.A. Pedersen & S. Sinha.
    Generation of human vascular smooth muscle subtypes provides insight into embryological origin-dependent disease susceptibility.
    Nature Biotechnology, 2012, 30 (2): 165-173.

  • C. Cheung, Y.T. Goh, J. Zhang, C. Wu, E. Guccione.
    Modelling cerebrovascular pathophysiology in amyloid-β metabolism using neural crest-derived smooth muscle cells.
    Cell Reports, 2014, 9(1):391-401.

  • B.C. Narmada, Y.T. Goh, H. Li, S. Sinha, H. Yu, C. Cheung.
    Human stem cell-derived endothelial-hepatic platform for efficacy testing of vascular-protective metabolites from nutraceuticals.
    Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 2016 Mar;6(3):851-863.

  • Fedir N Kiskin, C Chang, Christopher J Z Huang, Baraa Kwieder, Christine Cheung, Benjamin J Dunmore, Felipe Serrano, Sanjay Sinha, Nicholas W Morrell, Amer A Rana.
    Contribution of BMPR2 mutations and extrinsic factors in cellular phenotypes of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2018 Jul 15;198(2):271-275.

  • Titmarsh D, Nurcombe V, Cheung C, Cool SM.
    Vascular Cells and Tissue Constructs Derived from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells for Toxicological Screening.
    Stem Cells Dev. 2019 Aug 9. doi: 10.1089/scd.2018.0246.

  • Natalie Yeo, Ebenezer Chan, Christine Cheung.
    Choroidal Neovascularization: Mechanisms of Endothelial Dysfunctions
    ​Frontiers in Pharmacology, 2019 Nov; 10: 1363. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01363

  • S Arora, S Lin, C Cheung, EKF Lim, Y Toh.
    ​Topography elicits distinct phenotypes and functions in human primary and stem cell derived endothelial cells.
    ​Biomaterials, 2020 Jan; doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.119747

  • Wilson Lek Wen Tan, Chukwuemeka George Anene-Nzelu, Eleanor Wong, Mick Lee, Hui San Tan, Sze Jing Tang, Arnaud Michel Yvon Perrin, Kan Xing Wu, Wen Hao Zheng, Robert John Ashburn, Bangfen Pan, May Yin Lee, Matias I Autio, Michael Morley, Wai Leong Tam, Christine Cheung, Kenneth B Margulies, Leilei Chen, Thomas P Cappola, Marie Loh, John Chambers, Shyam Prabhakar, Roger Sy Foo.
    Epigenomes of Human Hearts Reveal New Genetic Variants Relevant for Cardiac Disease and Phenotype.
    Circulation Research. 2020 Jun 12. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.317254.

  • Vanessa Wazny, Anthony Siau, Kan Xing Wu, Christine Cheung.
    Vascular underpinning of COVID-19
    Open Biology. 2020 Aug;10(8):200208. doi: 10.1098/rsob.200208

  • Florence WJ Chioh, Siew-Wai Fong, Barnaby E Young, Kan-Xing Wu, Anthony Siau, Shuba Krishnan, Yi-Hao Chan, Louis LY Teo, Fei Gao, Ru San Tan, Liang Zhong, Angela S Koh, Seow-Yen Tan, Paul A Tambyah, Laurent Renia, ​Lisa FP Ng, ​David C Lye, Christine Cheung.
    Convalescent COVID-19 patients are susceptible to endothelial dysfunction due to persistent immune activation.
    eLife 2021;10:e64909 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.64909