About us

Adrian Teo Laboratory

The Stem Cells and Diabetes Laboratory of Dr. Adrian Teo focuses on

the use of stem cell technology to model human pancreas development and

to study diabetes disease mechanisms.

Dr. Adrian Teo KEE KEONG

Adrian Teo, Ph.D., is currently a junior investigator at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), A*STAR, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, NUS Medicine, Singapore.    Adrian obtained his B.Sc. (1st Class Honours) from the National University of Singapore in February 2007. He then started to work on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) with Ray Dunn, Ph.D., and Alan Colman, Ph.D., at ES Cell International Pte. Ltd., before joining the Institute of Medical Biology (IMB), A*STAR, Singapore, for an internship as a Research Officer in the laboratory of Ray Dunn, Ph.D..  ​In April 2008, he joined the laboratory of Ludovic Vallier, Ph.D., at the University of Cambridge to pursue his Ph.D. under the A*STAR Graduate Scholarship (Overseas). Concurrently, he was also an Honorary Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar. His thesis described how pluripotency factors regulate endoderm specification via key regulator EOMESODERMIN.  He completed his Ph.D. in July 2010 and joined the laboratory of Ray Dunn, Ph.D., at IMB as a postdoctoral fellow before heading to the laboratory of Rohit Kulkarni, M.D. Ph.D., at Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School in September 2011. During his fellowship at Joslin, he obtained two Harvard Stem Cell Institute seed grants and a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) fellowship to pursue his research interests in using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) for in vitro disease modelling of diabetes.  ​He is a member of the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Singapore, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) and Stem Cell Society Singapore. 


​Natasha is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Stem Cell and Diabetes research group in IMCB. She joined the group after completing her DPhil at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Professors Anna Gloyn and Patrik Rorsman in 2017. Her research interests lie in understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying genetic variants linked to diabetes and related glycemic traits from genome- and exome-wide association studies. She extends her interest and experience in this area to new projects in the Teo lab involving the study of monogenic forms of diabetes using human stem cell models. She hopes that her work will shed light on the biological mechanisms that influence disease risk and that the research will translate into better disease diagnosis and management strategies in future.

Prior to this, she obtained her BSc (First Class Honours) degree in Biology at Imperial College London in 2011. Upon graduation she spent a year as a research assistant at the Singapore Immunology Network at A*STAR in Prof Ren Ee Chee’s lab before moving into the field of diabetes and metabolism. Outside of research work she is a keen volunteer, hiker, graphic designer and also a co-founder of a start-up called BioMe Oxford based in the UK.


I have a strong interest in Research since young. After graduation, I sought for a position in a research lab so as to be closer to my aspiration. In the vast research field, I soon realized that I am particularly attracted to human metabolism translational research.

​Diabetes is one of the major human metabolic diseases that has heavy impact on mankind and it will soon be the most common medical problem in Singapore. To make the matter worse, it has no cure. Diabetes research is therefore critical to be able to counter the issue with the design of new rational therapies. As such, Dr. Adrian Teo’s lab will be a place for me to learn and grow where I wish to apply my skills and knowledge in a more meaningful way.  


Alvin is a research officer working in the Stem Cell and Diabetes laboratory in IMCB. He graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Life Sciences (Specialization in Biomedical Science) and a minor in Pharmaceutical Science. As an undergraduate, he embarked on a research project that focused on antibody generation and characterization under the supervision of Dr. Deron Raymond Herr. Currently, working in Dr. Adrian Teo's lab, Alvin is looking forward to continuously deepen his knowledge and positively contribute as much as possible in the elucidation of diabetes mechanism and potential treatments. His research interest aside, Alvin is also an avid jazz listener and takes relish in pleasant jam sessions, reading, biking, and learning new skills.


Shirley is a research officer in the Stem Cells and Diabetes research group in IMCB. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree at International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia, focusing on biomedical sciences (B.Sc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences). She had her first research experience while attached to Dr. Tham Chau Ling’s lab at the Universiti Putra Malaysia, whereby the study encompassed the assessment of a compound toxicity, developed by the group, on mast cell stabilising effect. Later, she pursued her Master degree at the Genetics & Regenerative Medicine Research Centre, Universiti Putra Malaysia under the supervision of Dr. Mok Pooi Ling in 2014. The project focuses on the use of genetically-modified mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in restoring degenerating retinal neurons and further trans-differentiation into retinal-like cells. Upon graduation, she joined Dr. Ng Shyh Chang’s skeletal muscle lab at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) as a research officer. Her research interests lie in understanding of metabolic networks in the regulation of stem cell proliferation and differentiation for improvement of degenerative diseases. She aims to develop molecular and technical skills and further contribute to the developments in Dr. Teo's laboratory.


I obtained a 2nd upper honours in Biomedical Science from the University of Bradford in 2012 and completed my final year project in Dr. Jonathan Loh’s laboratory at A*STAR Institute of Medical Biology (IMB), focusing on the epigenetics of somatic cell reprogramming.

After working for a year in Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS S.A.) as a microbiologist testing food products, I am inclined to the intellectual challenge in scientific research. In 2013, I enrolled in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) School of Biological Sciences, pursuing my Master degree in Professor Lam Kong Peng’s laboratory at A*STAR Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI). In 2015, I was awarded the A*STAR Graduate Scholarship (Singapore) to pursue my doctorate degree in Dr. Adrian Teo’s laboratory at A*STAR Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB). Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases which results in prolonged high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. As of 2013, the economic burden of diabetes accounts for around $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity. Most importantly, there is no cure for diabetes as of to date. However, the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in 2006 by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka allows for a novel way to model diabetes progression using the “Disease-in-a-dish” approach. I hope I would be able to apply what I learnt in Dr. Teo's laboratory to make a significant contribution in utilizing iPSCs in the treatment of diabetes.


Nguyen Thi Ha Linh is an A-STAR SINGA PhD student under IMCB and NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. She is working on pancreatic development in embryos of women with gestational diabetes mellitus and how the commonly used drug metformin can affect this process.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the third common type of diabetes mellitus and affects up to 15% of pregnancies worldwide. Studies have shown that pregnancies complicated by GDM is a significant risk factor for the subsequent development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in the mothers. GDM is also shown to have high recurrence in women with previous GDM, especially in obese, parous women. Children of women who had GDM also have higher risk of developing childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. This means that GDM can have serious long term consequences on the mothers, children and healthcare systems. The project will study the effects of GDM on pancreatic development and how the oral anti-hyperglycemic agent metformin affects these processes.


Blaise obtained her B.Sc. (2nd Upper Honours) in Biological Sciences from Nanyang Technological University in 2011. She worked as a Research Officer in the Proteomics lab at Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI), A*STAR, before joining the laboratory of Dr Adrian Teo at the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology (IMCB), A*STAR in 2015 to work on stem cells and diabetes research. In 2016, she was awarded the NUS Research Scholarship to pursue her doctorate degree at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, under the supervision of Dr Tai E Shyong and co-supervision of Dr. Adrian Teo.

Blaise is currently working on a novel mutation in the transcription factor HNF1Α that results in maturity-onset diabetes of the young 3 (MODY3). MODY3 patients typically suffer a progressive loss of insulin secretory capacity, resulting in a high frequency of diabetic complications including retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy. This study aims to reveal novel disease mechanisms relating to the function of MODY3 gene mutations on pancreatic beta cell development and function.


Shabrina graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 2016 with a first-class honours degree in Biological Science. She was awarded the NUS Research Scholarship plus Medicine Top-up, and is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in Dr Adrian Teo’s laboratory. She is working on understanding the mechanisms behind neonatal diabetes.

Neonatal diabetes affects 1 in around 90-000 to 300,000 live births. There are two types of neonatal diabetes: transient and permanent. Transient neonatal diabetes usually disappears within the first few weeks or months after birth. On the other hand, permanent neonatal diabetes, as the name implies, affects the individual throughout their life. They are usually diagnosed before 6 months of age, and are dependent on insulin therapy. Permanent neonatal diabetes is thought to be of monogenic origin. Thus, Shabrina’s project focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying this disease, through the use of iPSCs as models.


  • Postdoctoral fellow - Joanita Jasmen                                                   
  • NUS FYP student - Nicole Min Qian PEK
  • NTU FYP student - Munirah SANTOSA

  • Medical student - Stephanie Fen Li LER
  • NTU attachment students - Ahmad Suhaimi Bin Ahmad Ishak

                                                    - Balakumaran S/O Nadarajan

  • NYP FYP student - Ching Man LAM
  • RP attachment student - Lian Kwang TANG