Prabha Sampath

Prabha Sampath
Dr Prabha Sampath
Senior Principal Investigator

Research themes:
Skin Cancer, Skin Barrier, Skin Repair & Wound Healing, Inflammation & Immunity


Trained at the Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation in United States, Dr. Prabha Sampath studied gene regulation during inflammation. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Cardiovascular and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, Dr. Sampath worked on translational control mechanisms in embryonic stem cell differentiation. Her innovative work is well recognized as evidenced by outstanding publications and multiple awards. Dr. Sampath is the recipient of prestigious A*STAR Investigatorship award and she joined the Institute of Medical Biology, Singapore to set up her own research group in May 2008. She is now a Senior Principal Investigator at the Skin Research Institute of Singapore, holds an adjunct position at Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and Duke-NUS School of Medicine. She is currently pursuing research on molecular mechanisms underlying dysregulated translational regulation in pathological conditions. Visualizing these interactions at the molecular level and integrating this information within the framework of pathophysiology Dr. Sampath’s projects are focused on identification of specific novel therapeutic targets.

Research interests
We have a long-standing research interest in translational control and its involvement in human pathology. Our objective is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying dysregulated translational regulation in pathophysiology, and build upon these findings to develop targeted therapeutic strategies. Our focus has led to exciting discoveries in disease conditions such as chronic wounds, pro-inflammatory skin diseases and aggressive forms of epithelial cancers. We have discovered a regulatory switch, which lies at the heart of a molecular pathway governing both cancer progression and wound healing in epithelia. This switch, which is essential for timely epithelial wound healing, fails to be activated in chronic ulcers. We are working towards therapeutics that restore switch function and promote healing of chronic wounds. Working on chronic skin inflammatory disease, we have identified a therapeutic target, against which we are developing two parallel therapeutic strategies. The first of these involves using a small molecule drug to restore the AD skin barrier defect, and the second investigates the deployment of therapeutic RNA mimics.
Translational control of gene expression defines the proteome. Differentially translated genes in pathological conditions have direct effects on disease phenotypes. Ultimately, visualizing these interactions at the molecular level and integrating this information in the framework of pathophysiology our objective is to identify specific therapeutic targets and develop equally specific innovative therapeutics.

Selected publications
Sundaram GM, Common JE, Gopal FE, Srikanta S, Lakshman K, Lunny DP, Lim TC, Tanavde V, Lane EB, Sampath P. 'See-saw' expression of microRNA-198 and FSTL1 from a single transcript in wound healing. Nature. 2013 Mar 7;495(7439):103-6. doi: 10.1038/nature11890. Epub 2013 Feb 10. PMID: 23395958.

Sundaram GM, Ismail HM, Bashir M, Muhuri M, Vaz C, Nama S, Ow GS, Vladimirovna IA, Ramalingam R, Burke B, Tanavde V, Kuznetsov V, Lane EB, Sampath P. EGF hijacks miR-198/FSTL1 wound-healing switch and steers a two-pronged pathway toward metastasis. J Exp Med. 2017 Oct 2;214(10):2889-2900. doi: 10.1084/jem.20170354. Epub 2017 Aug 21. PMID: 28827448; PMCID: PMC5626400.

Tan DSW, Chong FT, Leong HS, Toh SY, Lau DP, Kwang XL, Zhang X, Sundaram GM, Tan GS, Chang MM, Chua BT, Lim WT, Tan EH, Ang MK, Lim TKH, Sampath P, Chowbay B, Skanderup AJ, DasGupta R, Iyer NG. Long noncoding RNA EGFR-AS1 mediates epidermal growth factor receptor addiction and modulates treatment response in squamous cell carcinoma. Nat Med. 2017 Oct;23(10):1167-1175. doi: 10.1038/nm.4401. Epub 2017 Sep 18. PMID: 28920960.

Di Pascale F, Nama S, Muhuri M, Quah S, Ismail HM, Chan XHD, Sundaram GM, Ramalingam R, Burke B, Sampath P. C/EBPβ mediates RNA polymerase III-driven transcription of oncomiR-138 in malignant gliomas. Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Jan 9;46(1):336-349. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx1105. PMID: 29136251; PMCID: PMC5758869.

Nama S, Muhuri M, Di Pascale F, Quah S, Aswad L, Fullwood M, Sampath P. MicroRNA-138 is a Prognostic Biomarker for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and Promotes Tumorigenesis via TUSC2 repression. Sci Rep. 2019 Sep 3;9(1):12718. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49155-4. PMID: 31481748; PMCID: PMC6722084.