Dr. Teo KEE KEONG adrian

Adrian Teo, Ph.D., is currently a Principal Investigator at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), A*STAR, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Department of Medicine, NUS Medicine, Singapore, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, 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 my B.Sc. (First class honours) degree in Biomedical Sciences from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 1998. I worked as a microbiologist in a hospital clinical diagnostic laboratory for one and a half years in Malaysia before I was awarded a research scholarship by the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2000. After graduating with a Masters of Science degree (Department of Microbiology) in 2002, I started my journey in research working as a research assistant in Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) until 2011. My main research focuses were firstly to study the physiological and developmental effects of the normal gut flora on male and female mice, locally (colon) and systemically (liver, spleen, brain), and secondly to investigate the host recognition process of commensal versus pathogenic bacteria in the intestine and colon - in vivo (mouse) and in vitro (human colon epithelial cell line) models. In 2016, I joined the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (NTU) working as a research associate / laboratory manager in the Neuroscience and Mental Health department. My research interest was in functional dissection of membrane contact sites in cellular lipid homeostasis in the Caenorhabditis elegans model.

For me, a life-long engagement with learning and knowledge is the best way to live. Therefore I constantly working on expanding my horizon and broadening my knowledge through consistent learning. Human stem cell models are known to be a powerful study model/tool for human diseases. It helps us understand the genetics and underlying mechanisms of diseases more accurately. In addition, cell replacement therapy will be the promising future for treating many diseases. I am therefore strongly motivated to expand my knowledge and skills in stem cell research. I am thankful to be given the opportunity by Dr. Adrian Teo (Stem Cells and Diabetes Lab) to learn and to be trained in studying diabetes using human stem cell models. In addition to studying the etiology and underlying mechanisms in diabetes, it will also be very interesting to study the interaction between epigenetics and stem cells.

In my spare time, I enjoy cooking and baking with my daughter, crafting, reading, gardening and travelling.


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.


Claire obtained her B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from Nanyang Technological University in 2019 and was awarded the NUS Research Scholarship to pursue her doctorate degree in Dr. Adrian Teo's laboratory. For her undergraduate thesis, she was working on uncovering the role of the diabetes-associated transcription factor HNF1A on the kidney. 

Having had research experiences from various fields such as cancer, neuroscience and stem cells, Claire is passionate about research and hopes that her research will contribute to the healthcare industry.

Apart from research, Claire enjoys reading, running, cooking and learning new skills.


Wei Xuan is a PhD student in the Stem Cells and Diabetes laboratory, under the supervision of Dr. Adrian Teo. He was awarded with the NUS Research Scholarship to pursue his PhD in Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS. Wei Xuan graduated from NTU in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Biological Sciences. He was a recipient of the A*STAR Undergraduate Scholarship (AUS) (full-time).

Recognizing that diabetes is one of the major health burdens in Singapore and many parts of the world, Wei Xuan is keen to uncover mechanisms of diabetes pathogenesis for better management of the disease. In addition, he likes to study stem cells and developmental biology, and is also fascinated by the vast potential of the CRISPR gene editing technology. Therefore, he is interested in utilizing CRISPR gene editing on hPSCs as one of the models to understand the effects of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) risk-associated gene variants on human pancreatic beta-cell development and function. He hopes to identify genetic variants that increase a person’s susceptibility to T2D, which may allow better disease management strategies to be adopted.

Apart from research work, Wei Xuan is a huge fan of hiking and enjoys playing team sports such as water polo and football. 


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

                                        - Daniel Aron ANG

                                        - Haja Shareef Mahina Azeem

    • NTU FYP student - Munirah SANTOSA

                                            - Gaytri GUPTA

    • Medical student - Stephanie Fen Li LER

                                         - Elizabeth PHAN

    • NTU attachment students - Ahmad Suhaimi Bin Ahmad Ishak

                                                        - Balakumaran S/O Nadarajan

                                                        - Liang Hui LOO

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

    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.

    About us


    Adrian Teo Laboratory