Hometowns: Hong Kong and Singapore
Degrees: BSc (Advanced), BSc (First-Class Honours) and PhD, University of Sydney
Supervisor: Patrick Gunning, Department of Chemical & Physical Sciences, University of Toronto Mississauga
Tell us about your post-doctoral research.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a highly aggressive muscular degeneration disorder that has no effective treatment or cure. Symptoms first appear when patients are between two and six years old, and they usually die in their twenties or thirties. Recently, a breakthrough study has indicated that blocking the activity of a transcription factor protein, STAT3, can induce the regenerative ability of the muscle stem cells. Building on this knowledge, we aim to develop a highly potent STAT3 inhibitor drug that would regenerate the disease-comprised muscle cells. To achieve this goal, we will chemically optimize the most advanced STAT3 inhibitors available to date for targeting muscle cells with reduced side effects. We will then evaluate these drug candidates in cell and animal models of muscular degeneration diseases, including DMD.
Why did you choose to do your post-doc in Toronto?
I chose Toronto to conduct my post-doctoral research because it is a well-known global hub of regenerative medicine expertise, with numerous world-renowned scientists that have made seminal contributions toward groundbreaking discoveries. The opportunity to work with Professor Patrick Gunning, who has made huge impacts in the field of STAT protein inhibitors, was instrumental in my decision to come to Toronto. His vast knowledge, coupled with state-of-the-art research facilities, offer an excellent working environment for me to further my research.
What do you plan to do after your post-doc?
Given my passion for science, I would like to remain in the field, but I am uncertain if that will happen in an academic or industry environment. With this award, I hope to become a better-rounded scientist through learning and collaboration, and contribute to regenerative medicine.