Dr Simon Chu, OCRF L’Oreal Paris Research Fellow

Biography

Dr Simon Chu completed his PhD at Prince Henry’s Institute (now Hudson Institute of Medical Research) in 2005. His studies focused on the roles of the estrogen receptor in the pathogenesis of a subset of ovarian tumours, and in particular, the impact that molecular signalling pathways of the cell have on this receptor. After gaining his PhD, Dr Chu continued his work at PHI, examining the consequences of blocking this mechanism using new therapeutic compounds to explore whether this might lead to a new chemotherapeutic approach to treating this disease.

In 2007, Dr Chu took up a postdoctoral position at the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia, where he helped develop a new molecular technique to investigate the incidence of exposure to avian influenza in the human population in that country.

On his return to Australia in April 2009, Dr Chu re-joined PHI as the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) L’Oreal Paris Australia Research Fellow. His work focuses on the underlying causes of the more common type of ovarian cancer, as well as the less common granulosa cell tumour of the ovary. He is currently investigating an exciting potential therapeutic option for treating these cancers, using a combination treatment that targets two important biological pathways in the cancer cells. This presents a new chemotherapeutic approach for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Simon’s research is focused on the causes of ovarian cancer. Although ovarian tumours are generally thought to arise from the cells on the surface of the ovary, there is increasing evidence that up to three quarters of ovarian serous cancers may originate from the fimbrial epithelium at the ends of the fallopian tube, adjacent to the ovary. His focus is thus on understanding the origins of these types of ovarian cancer.

A better understanding of the origins of ovarian cancer is a key aspect in the joint quest of OCRF and Hudson Institute of Medical Research towards an accurate and widely available early detection test for ovarian cancer.

Expertise

Molecular endocrinology, molecular and cellular biology, ovarian cancer, biochemistry, cell culture techniques; microarray, laser-capture microscopy

Current Research

  • Molecular pathogenesis of granulosa cell tumours
  • Fallopian tube as the origin of epithelial ovarian cancers

Recent achievements

2009 – L’Oréal Paris Research Fellow (OCRF supported)
2008 – Institut Pasteur Biosafety Regional Workshop BSL-3 training
2007 – Honours diploma from the 4th Pasteur-Asia Virology Course “Influenza, SARS and other Emerging Respiratory Viral Infections” Hong Kong
2007 – Institute Pasteur travel grant to attend 4th Pasteur-Asia Virology Course
2006 – Invited speaker at the 12th International Congress on Hormonal Steroids and Hormones and Cancer Conference in Athens Greece, in the Gynaecological Cancer symposium.
2006 – Awarded Travel Grant to attend Endocrine Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting
2006 – Awarded Ian Potter Foundation Travel Grant to attend ICHSHC conference, Athens, Greece
2005 – Winner of the 2005 Servier Young Investigator Award by the Endocrine Society of Australia.
2003 – 2005 Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) postgraduate research scholarship
2003 – Awarded Travel Grant to attend US ENDO 2003 in Philadelphia

Collaborators

Associate Professor Tom Jobling, Gynaecology, Oncology, Monash Health
Dr Andrew Stephens, Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Dr Adam Rainczuk, Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Associate Professor John Silke, Walter & Eliza Hall Institute
Mr Powel Crosley, Granulosa Cell Tumor Research Foundation

Selected publications

  • Chu S, Alexiadis M, Fuller PJ: Proteasome inhibition by bortezomib decreases proliferation and increases apoptosis in ovarian granulosa cell tumors. Reprod Sci 2009;16:397-407.

  • Bilandzic M, Chu S, Farnworth PG, Harrison C, Nicholls P, Wang Y, Escalona RM, Fuller PJ, Findlay JK, Stenvers KL: Loss of betaglycan contributes to the malignant properties of human granulosa tumor cells. Mol Endocrinol 2009;23:539-548.

  • Lague MN, Paquet M, Fan HY, Kaartinen MJ, Chu S, Jamin SP, Behringer RR, Fuller PJ, Mitchell A, Dore M, Huneault LM, Richards JS, Boerboom D: Synergistic effects of pten loss and wnt/ctnnb1 signaling pathway activation in ovarian granulosa cell tumor development and progression. Carcinogenesis 2008;29:2062-2072.

  • Chu S, Alexiadis M, Fuller PJ: Expression, mutational analysis and in vitro response of imatinib mesylate and nilotinib target genes in ovarian granulosa cell tumors. Gynecol Oncol 2008;108:182-190.

  • Alexiadis M, Mamers P, Chu S, Fuller PJ: Insulin-like growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-4, and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-a gene expression in human granulosa cell tumors. Int J Gynecol Cancer 2006;16:1973-1979.

  • Fuller PJ, Chu S: Signalling pathways in the molecular pathogenesis of ovarian granulosa cell tumours. Trends Endocrinol Metab 2004;15:122-128.

  • Chu S, Nishi Y, Yanase T, Nawata H, Fuller PJ: Transrepression of estrogen receptor beta signaling by nuclear factor-kappab in ovarian granulosa cells. Mol Endocrinol 2004;18:1919-1928.

  • Gargett CE, Zaitseva M, Bucak K, Chu S, Fuller PJ, Rogers PA: 17beta-estradiol up-regulates vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 expression in human myometrial microvascular endothelial cells: Role of estrogen receptor-alpha and -beta. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002;87:4341-4349.

  • Gargett CE, Bucak K, Zaitseva M, Chu S, Taylor N, Fuller PJ, Rogers PA: Estrogen receptor-alpha and -beta expression in microvascular endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells of myometrium and leiomyoma. Mol Hum Reprod 2002;8:770-775.

  • Fuller PJ, Zumpe ET, Chu S, Mamers P, Burger HG: Inhibin-activin receptor subunit gene expression in ovarian tumors. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002;87:1395-1401.

  • Fuller PJ, Chu S, Fikret S, Burger HG: Molecular pathogenesis of granulosa cell tumours. Mol Cell Endocrinol 2002;191:89-96.

  • Chu S, Rushdi S, Zumpe ET, Mamers P, Healy DL, Jobling T, Burger HG, Fuller PJ: Fsh-regulated gene expression profiles in ovarian tumours and normal ovaries. Mol Hum Reprod 2002;8:426-433.

  • Choong CS, Fuller PJ, Chu S, Jeske Y, Bowling F, Brown R, Borzi P, Balazs ND, Suppiah R, Cotterill AM, Payton D, Robertson DM, Burger HG: Sertoli-leydig cell tumor of the ovary, a rare cause of precocious puberty in a 12-month-old infant. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002;87:49-56.

  • Dong Y, Kaushal A, Bui L, Chu S, Fuller PJ, Nicklin J, Samaratunga H, Clements JA: Human kallikrein 4 (klk4) is highly expressed in serous ovarian carcinomas. Clin Cancer Res 2001;7:2363-2371.

  • Burger HG, Fuller PJ, Chu S, Mamers P, Drummond A, Susil B, Neva P, Robertson DM: The inhibins and ovarian cancer. Mol Cell Endocrinol 2001;180:145-148.

  • Scott CJ, Tilbrook AJ, Simmons DM, Rawson JA, Chu S, Fuller PJ, Ing NH, Clarke IJ: The distribution of cells containing estrogen receptor-alpha (eralpha) and erbeta messenger ribonucleic acid in the preoptic area and hypothalamus of the sheep: Comparison of males and females. Endocrinology 2000;141:2951-2962.

  • Chu S, Mamers P, Burger HG, Fuller PJ: Estrogen receptor isoform gene expression in ovarian stromal and epithelial tumors. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000;85:1200-1205.