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Dr Shao Huilin


Huilin SHAO, Ph.D.

PhD in Biophysics, Harvard University, 2013
PhD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST), Harvard Medical School, MIT, 2013

Current Appointment(s) 

Adjunct Scientist, National Neuroscience Institute
Junior Investigator and Head, Laboratory for Multiscale Molecular Diagnostics, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR

Contact Information:

Laboratory for Multiscale Molecular Diagnostics
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR
61 Biopolis Drive, Proteos #06-07
Singapore 138673
Tel: 6586 9536
Email: hshao@imcb.a-star.edu.sg  

Research Focus

The growing emphasis on personalized medicine significantly increases the need to analyze key molecular markers. Integrating advances in materials science, biomedical engineering and molecularly biology, our laboratory seeks to establish novel micro- and nanotechnologies to empower biomarker discovery and its clinical translation.

Circulating Biomarkers

Circulating biomarkers, such as circulating tumor cells, extracellular vesicles (exosomes), and soluble factors, represent a rich repertoire of molecular information. In comparison to tissue biopsies, these circulating biomarkers (“liquid biopsies”) can be repeatedly and conveniently obtained with minimal complications, thereby providing a robust and noninvasive avenue for longitudinal molecular characterization. In particular, exosomes have recently emerged as a new class of biomarker for clinical diagnostics. Exosomes are membrane-bound phospholipid vesicles (50 – 200 nm) actively shed off by cells. These nanometer-sized vesicles possess unique advantages: they exist in large abundance in biofluids, exhibit exceptional stability, and harbor diverse molecular contents. We are investigating the potential of these circulating vesicles as novel surrogate markers in achieving clinical benefits.

Biosensor Platforms

A critical unmet need in personalized medicine is to establish reliable technologies to assess efficacy and guide treatment decision. Despite the clinical potential of many novel circulating biomarkers, their clinical translation remains challenging, primarily because of the extensive purification and labeling processes involved in their detection and quantification. We are addressing these issues by developing new generations of nanotechnology-based platforms for molecular analyses. Our miniaturized magnetic and optical biosensors have expanded the clinical reach of previously under-appreciated biomarkers in clinical trials, by identifying novel molecular signatures for early diagnostics and progression monitoring. Drawing on the diversity and depth of multiple disciplines, our research not only engineers cutting-edge technologies, but also brings new opportunities in disease diagnostics and management, including better powered trials, improved disease monitoring, and rational selection of therapies.

Selected Publications

  1. Shao H.*, Chung J.*, Lee K., Balaj L., Min C., Carter B. S., Hochberg F. H., Breakefield X. O., Lee H., Weissleder R. Chip-based analysis of exosomal mRNA mediating drug resistance in glioblastoma. Nat Commun (2015, in press).
  2. Im H.*, Shao H.*, Park Y., Peterson V. M., Castro C. M., Weissleder R., Lee H. Label-free detection and molecular profiling of exosomes with a nano-plasmonic sensor. Nat Biotechnol 32, 490-495 (2014).
  3. Shao H., Chung J., Balaj L., Charest A., Bigner D. D., Carter B. S., Hochberg F. H., Breakefield X. O., Weissleder R., Lee H. Protein typing of circulating microvesicles allows real-time monitoring of glioblastoma therapy. Nature Medicine 18, 1835-1840 (2012).
  4. Chung J.*, Shao H.*, Reiner T., Issadore D., Weissleder R., Lee H. Cell sorting: microfluidic cell sorter (μFCS) for on-chip capture and analysis of single cells. Adv Healthc Mater 1, 432-436 (2012), featured as cover.
  5. Issadore D., Chung J.*, Shao H.*, Liong M., Ghazani A. A., Castro C. M., Weissleder R., Lee H. Ultrasensitive clinical enumeration of rare cells ex vivo using a micro-hall detector. Sci Transl Med 4, 141ra92 (2012), featured as cover.
  6. Shao H., Min C., Issadore D., Liong M., Yoon T. J., Weissleder R., Lee H. Magnetic nanoparticles and microNMR for diagnostic applications. Theranostics 2, 55-65 (2012).
  7. Shao H., Yoon T. J., Liong M., Weissleder R., Lee H. Magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical NMR-based diagnostics. Beilstein J Nanotechnol 1, 142-154 (2010).