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Department of Biochemistry profile

Dr Augustine Chen

PositionResearch Fellow
DepartmentDepartment of Biochemistry
QualificationsPhD
Research summaryBiomedical research, cancer biology, diagnostic test development, biomarker discovery
MembershipsCentre for Translational Cancer Research
Genetics Otago
Maurice Wilkins Centre

Research

My current research focus involves the co-development of a transformative diagnostic test using Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) with applications in medical, agriculture and environmental sensing sectors. This innovation has attracted pre-seed funding to undertake proof-of-concept experiments towards multimodal signal detection (genetic and epigenetic changes) in circulating tumour DNA. Through minor modification, this test could also be expanded to include other sample types in non-medical sectors and I am currently pursuing collaborations towards such applications.

My speciality has always centred around developing, using or combining existing and emerging methodologies to answer a variety of research questions. This included technical expertise utilising Next Generation Sequencing, high-throughput imaging and drug screening assays, siRNA and miRNA delivery, mouse necropsy as well as standard molecular biology and cell culture techniques.

To date, I have undertaken a range of biomedical research, investigating various aspects of gene regulation in human diseases such as cancer and virus infection (HBV, HPV and norovirus). Such approaches have enabled the identification of disease states and targetable vulnerabilities and has led to the discovery of putative therapeutic drugs (which led to a provisional patent filing) and the development of a diagnostic test for a NZ company (which attracted joint funding from the Ministry of Science and Innovation Technology Transfer Voucher Scheme).

Additional details

Dr Augustine Chen, Centre for Translational Research - Te Aho Matatū.

Publications

Beetham, H., Chen, A., Telford, B. J., Single, A., Jarman, K. E., Lackovic, K., … Guilford, P. (2019). A high-throughput screen to identify novel synthetic lethal compounds for the treatment of E-cadherin-deficient cells. Scientific Reports, 9, 12511. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48929-0

Godwin, T. D., Kelly, S. T., Brew, T. P., Bougen-Zhukov, N. M., Single, A. B., Chen, A., Stylianou, C. E., … Currie, S. K., Telford, B. J., Beetham, H. G., … Black, M. A., & Guilford, P. J. (2019). E-cadherin-deficient cells have synthetic lethal vulnerabilities in plasma membrane organisation, dynamics and function. Gastric Cancer, 22(2), 273-286. doi: 10.1007/s10120-018-0859-1

Bougen-Zhukov, N., Nouri, Y., Godwin, T., Taylor, M., Hakkaart, C., Single, A., Brew, T., Permina, E., Chen, A., Black, M. A., & Guilford, P. (2019). Allosteric AKT inhibitors target synthetic lethal vulnerabilities in E-cadherin-deficient cells. Cancers, 11(9), 1359. doi: 10.3390/cancers11091359

Single, A., Beetham, H., Telford, B. J., Guilford, P., & Chen, A. (2015). A comparison of real-time and endpoint cell viability assays for improved synthetic lethal drug validation. Journal of Biomolecular Screening, 20(10), 1286-1293. doi: 10.1177/1087057115605765

Telford, B. J., Chen, A., Beetham, H., Frick, J., Brew, T. P., Gould, C. M., Single, A., Godwin, T., … Guilford, P. (2015). Synthetic lethal screens identify vulnerabilities in GPCR signalling and cytoskeletal organization in E-cadherin-deficient cells. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 14(5), 1213-1223. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.mct-14-1092

Journal - Research Article

Beetham, H., Chen, A., Telford, B. J., Single, A., Jarman, K. E., Lackovic, K., … Guilford, P. (2019). A high-throughput screen to identify novel synthetic lethal compounds for the treatment of E-cadherin-deficient cells. Scientific Reports, 9, 12511. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48929-0

Bougen-Zhukov, N., Nouri, Y., Godwin, T., Taylor, M., Hakkaart, C., Single, A., Brew, T., Permina, E., Chen, A., Black, M. A., & Guilford, P. (2019). Allosteric AKT inhibitors target synthetic lethal vulnerabilities in E-cadherin-deficient cells. Cancers, 11(9), 1359. doi: 10.3390/cancers11091359

Godwin, T. D., Kelly, S. T., Brew, T. P., Bougen-Zhukov, N. M., Single, A. B., Chen, A., Stylianou, C. E., … Currie, S. K., Telford, B. J., Beetham, H. G., … Black, M. A., & Guilford, P. J. (2019). E-cadherin-deficient cells have synthetic lethal vulnerabilities in plasma membrane organisation, dynamics and function. Gastric Cancer, 22(2), 273-286. doi: 10.1007/s10120-018-0859-1

Single, A., Beetham, H., Telford, B. J., Guilford, P., & Chen, A. (2015). A comparison of real-time and endpoint cell viability assays for improved synthetic lethal drug validation. Journal of Biomolecular Screening, 20(10), 1286-1293. doi: 10.1177/1087057115605765

Telford, B. J., Chen, A., Beetham, H., Frick, J., Brew, T. P., Gould, C. M., Single, A., Godwin, T., … Guilford, P. (2015). Synthetic lethal screens identify vulnerabilities in GPCR signalling and cytoskeletal organization in E-cadherin-deficient cells. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 14(5), 1213-1223. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.mct-14-1092

Waugh, E., Chen, A., Baird, M. A., Brown, C. M., & Ward, V. K. (2014). Characterization of the chemokine response of RAW264.7 cells to infection by murine norovirus. Virus Research, 181, 27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2013.12.025

Chen, A., T-Thienprasert, N. P., & Brown, C. M. (2014). Prospects for inhibiting the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in hepatitis B virus. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(25), 7993-8004. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i25.7993

Chen, A., Beetham, H., Black, M. A., Priya, R., Telford, B. J., Guest, J., Wiggins, G. A. R., Godwin, T. D., … Guilford, P. J. (2014). E-cadherin loss alters cytoskeletal organization and adhesion in non-malignant breast cells but is insufficient to induce an epithelial-mesenchymal transition. BMC Cancer, 14, 552. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-14-552

Chen, A., & Brown, C. (2012). Distinct families of cis-acting RNA replication epsilon elements from hepatitis B viruses. RNA Biology, 9(2), 130-136. doi: 10.4161/rna.18649

Jacobs, G. H., Chen, A., Stevens, S. G., Stockwell, P. A., Black, M. A., Tate, W. P., & Brown, C. M. (2009). Transterm: A database to aid the analysis of regulatory sequences in mRNAs. Nucleic Acids Research, 37(Database issue), D72-D76. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkn763

Chen, A., Kao, Y. F., & Brown, C. M. (2005). Translation of the first upstream ORF in the hepatitis B virus pregenomic RNA modulates translation at the core and polymerase initiation codons. Nucleic Acids Research, 33(4), 1169-1181.

Chen, A., Grigor, M. R., Thompson, C. M., & Harris, E. L. (1997). Kallikrein binding protein (KBP) maps to rat Chromosome 6 but does not cosegregate with blood pressure in a GH x BN cross. Mammalian Genome, 8(9), 701-703.

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