Faculty of Science

Department of Pharmacy

Key Research Areas

EE Pui Lai Rachel, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Rachel Ee received her B.Sc. (Pharmacy) degree with First Class Honours in 1998 from the National University of Singapore. She later obtained her Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutics in 2004 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to her postgraduate studies, Dr. Ee has also undergone pre-registration training in Tan Tock Seng Hospital and is a licensed pharmacist since 1999. In 2004, Dr. Ee was awarded a fellowship from the Singapore Economic Development Board and received overseas industrial training in drug discovery and development in ProSkelia, a spin-off company from the former Aventis Pharma (now Sanofi-aventis). She joined the Department of Pharmacy as Assistant Professor in 2006.

 

Contact Information:
Department of Pharmacy
National University of Singapore
18 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543
Tel: +65 6516 2653
Fax: +65 6779 1554
Email: phaeplr@nus.edu.sg

 

Research

Synthetic Hydrogels for Cartilage Repair

We are keen to develop injectable polymeric scaffolds capable of supporting stem cell expansion and differentiation for cartilage repair. Human mesenchymal stem cells, with their potential for expansion and multilineage capacity, are emerging as an attractive cell source for tissue repair. However, for the successful use of stem cells in these applications, the fabrication of an appropriate scaffold is key. This scaffold is crucial for the adherence of cells preceding differentiation, leading to the production and organization of new cartilage tissues. It is therefore our goal to create this platform for the practical application of stem cells in cellular therapy.

 

Drug and Gene Delivery

It is also our interest to develop delivery systems for therapeutic DNA and RNA, which are unstable and subjected to degradation in vivo. Through our collaborations with Dr YY Yang (IBN, A*STAR), we have fabricated novel cationic polymeric nanoparticles capable of effective delivery of Bcl-2 siRNA to tumor cells and such systems may be further modified to enable miRNA delivery and codelivery of drug and siRNA.

 

Wnt Therapeutics in Osteosarcoma

Our focus in this area is to target the Wnt/β-catenin pathway as a therapeutic strategy in preventing osteosarcoma progression. Aberrant Wnt signalling has been implicated in osteosarcoma formation and metastasis and preliminary work in our lab has also suggested that Wnt antagonism by the introduction of small molecule and secreted inhibitors was able to decrease osteosarcoma growth and invasiveness. We are currently: (i) examining the role of secreted Wnt antagonists in osteosarcoma progression and (ii) screening, characterizing and studying structure-activity relationship of potent antagonists of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.

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