Dr. Seah-Ling Kuan

Seah Ling received her B.Sc (Hons) from the National University of Singapore in 2003 and completed her PhD (Chemistry) in the same institute in 2009. She joined Prof. Tanja Weil in NUS from 2008-2010 as a research fellow. She took up a scientist position in the Health Authority Sciences of Singapore in 2010. In 2011, she began her independent research as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow in the groups of Prof. Tanja Weil and Prof. Klaus Müllen. She was a group leader in the Institute of Organic Chemistry III from 2013-2016. Since 2016, she is a group leader in the MPI-P. Seah Ling has been appointed as the Europe coordinator for the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry overseas members network from 2017-2019. Since 2020, she is an international advisory board member of the ChemMedChem.

Research Interest: Protein Therapeutics

Biomacromolecules such as peptides, proteins and DNA have emerged as an important class of therapeutics. In 2017, biologics comprise about 20% of total global pharmaceutical spending. The syntheses and optimization of such molecules by the cellular machinery are limited. Hence, we seek to develop new synthesis pathways to modify biomolecules in a site-directed fashion and construct protein-based therapeutic, which could not be achieved by molecular biology methods. As an example, a novel fusion toxin has been prepared that binds to certain cellular receptors and delivers a protein toxin into cancer cells that thus become more sensitive to treatments with known chemotherapeutics such as the drug doxorubicin. We envision efficient biotherapeutics that boost treatment efficiency in various diseases such as cancer, antimicrobial and viral infections with less side effects. In order to accomplish this exciting task, we collaborate extensively with medical partners to test the different fusion proteins we prepared through the new synthetic methodologies developed.

Selected Publications

Kuan, S. L.; Raabe, M.: Solid Phase Protein Modifications: Towards Precision Protein Hybrids for Biological Applications. ChemMedChem 15 (2020)
Heck, A.; Ostertag, T.; Schnell, L.; Fischer, S.; Agrawalla, B. K.; Winterwerber, P.; Wirsching, E.; Fauler, M.; Frick, M.; Kuan, S. L. et al.; Weil, T.; Barth, H.: Supramolecular Toxin Complexes for Targeted Pharmacological Modulation of Polymorphonuclear Leukocyte Functions. Advanced Healthcare Materials 8 (17), 1900665 (2019)
Kuan, S. L.; Bergamini, F. R. G.; Weil, T.: Functional protein nanostructures: a chemical toolbox. Chemical Society Reviews 47 (24), pp. 9069 - 9105 (2018)
Zegota, M. M.; Wang, T.; Seidler, C.; Ng, D. Y. W.; Kuan, S. L.; Weil, T.: "Tag and Modify" Protein Conjugation with Dynamic Covalent Chemistry. Bioconjugate Chemistry 29 (8), pp. 2665 - 2670 (2018)
Kuan, S. L.; Fischer, S.; Hafner, S.; Wang, T.; Syrovets, T.; Liu, W.; Tokura, Y.; Ng, D. Y. W.; Riegger, A.; Förtsch, C. et al.; Jäger, D.; Barth, T. F. E.; Simmet, T.; Barth, H.; Weil, T.: Boosting Antitumor Drug Efficacy with Chemically Engineered Multidomain Proteins. Advanced Science 5 (8), 1701036 (2018)
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