Our Research

Our research focuses on four main domains:

  1. BioNanotechnology & Nanomedicine
  2. Biomedical Tissue Engineering
  3. Functional Materials
  4. Medicinal Chemistry

BioNanotechnology

In our laboratory, we have developed and investigated the use of Cell Derived Nanovesicles (CDNs) as a Drug Delivery System (DDS). The CDNs are postulated to possess advantages of low immunogenicity, improved cellular uptake and cell targeting effects. We are currently investigating the loading of different therapeutics in the areas of Cancer (solid tumours), Parkinson’s disease and Cardiovascular Disease.

We have also developed an in-house novel drug delivery platform, EXOPLEXs. EXOPLEXs are postulated to be a new frontier in DDS as they are able to achieve high loading of therapeutics and still possess the abovementioned advantages of CDNs. EXOPLEXs can also be loaded with genetic material and are currently investigated for its use as a transfection reagent for difficult-to-transfect cell types. EXOPLEXs are currently patent pending.


Biomedical Tissue Engineering


We have investigated the effects of a thin film of pegylated multiwalled carbon nanotubes spray dried onto preheated coverslips in terms of their ability to influence human mesenchymal stem cells' proliferation, morphology, and final differentiation into osteoblasts. Results clearly indicated that the homogeneous layer of functionalized nanotubes did not show any cytotoxicity and accelerated cell differentiation to a higher extent than carboxylated nanotubes or uncoated coverslips, by creating a more viable microenvironment for stem cells. These results have also been replicated in Graphene.

We are also investigating the effects of a cellular based formulations to accelerate the differentiation process of various cell types. Enhanced tissue differentiation can have several clinical applications where time ready for patient use is of great importance. Herein, we are currently looking applications in the skin, heart and fat tissues.


Functional Materials


Our laboratory are also working on several other formulations, and these include liposomes, magnetic nanoparticles, PLGA nanoparticles as well as exploring research into hair dyes. In the project involving hair dyes we hypothesize that strategic functionalizations and increase in molecular size of the allergene para-phenylendiamine, and/or its immobilization onto a branched backbone are able to maintain the coloring/pigmentation properties, possibly reduce the penetration into the skin, make it more resistant to metabolic and oxidative changes and therefore decrease the chance of allergic reactions tremendously.

In addition, we are involved in close collaboration with the industry to develop a gel system for alleviating arthritic pain using natural products. We are also delighted to work with industrial collaborators who are interested in the research and development of their product formulations. If you are interested in any collaboration or co-development opportunities, please contact us at phapg@nus.edu.sg.


Medicinal Chemistry

As part of our medicinal chemistry capabilities, we are designing new fused heterocyclic compounds based on our previous computer modelling results. We hypothesize that research in this direction may result in the invention of principally new type of adenosine receptor modulators, particularly antagonists of adenosine receptors. The results will show the direction for further investigations and stimulate development of new approaches for the therapy of neurodegenerative diseases. We are currently in development of dual-ligand targeting NCEs against adenosine hA2A and dopamine hD2 receptors for treatment of Parkinson’s disease.


Last updated on 16 October 2016