Lee Hong Justin TAN

GIS Innovation Fellow


Our team is interested in cancer-causing transcription factors. Transcription factors are genes that control the levels of other genes. This gene regulation is crucial for the development of embryos into full grown adults, and for maintaining good health in adults. Many of these factors become dysregulated in cancer and they become strong drivers of tumor growth. Unfortunately, close to 90% of transcription factors remain undruggable.

Through a combination of genomic and molecular biology techniques, we seek to better understand how transcription factors promote cancer through dysregulation of gene expression. Since many of these transcription factors are important for maintaining normal cell functions, it is important to understand the context in which they become cancer-causing. From this knowledge, we can identify vulnerabilities created by these transcription factors, in the context of cancer, for therapeutic development.

Complementary to our functional studies of cancer-causing transcription factors, we are developing high-throughput screening approaches, rooted in Chemical Biology, to identify probe compounds that target these transcription factors and their dependencies. These probes not only serve as proof-of-concept that transcription factors can be drugged, but they also provide invaluable tools for studying the novel biology underlying the cancer-driving ability of these factors. Through our science, we strive to contribute to better outcomes for cancer patients.


  • 2010 Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University

    2009 National Science Scholarship (PhD), A*STAR

    2008 Geissman Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry, UCLA

    2005 National Science Scholarship (BS), A*STAR

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