Dr Sylvia Mahara

Dr Sylvia Mahara completed her PhD in Cancer Biology jointly at Cancer Science Institute of Singapore and Genome Institute of Singapore in early 2016. On the completion of her PhD, she joined Hudson Institute for her postdoctoral training, where she was awarded a US Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Horizon award in early 2017. The Horizon Award supports junior-level scientists to conduct impactful cancer research with the mentorship of an experienced cancer researcher.

Dr Mahara’s current research focuses primarily on the dysregulated epigenetic signalling in colorectal cancer, which is a key early event of colorectal cancer development. She utilises genome editing technology targeting nearly ~700 cancer-associated epigenetic regulators, in an effort to dissect their molecular mechanism in the early events of tumourigenesis. She believes that a good understanding of the epigenetic landscape may facilitate the development of targeted treatments to potentially reverse the disease progression.

Selected publications

  • Tang Y, Chen Y, Yi B, Mahara S, Yatim SMJM, Oguz G, Lee PL, Feng M, Cai Y, Tan EY, Fong SS, Yang Z, Lan P, Wu X, Yu Q (2018) Hypoxic tumor microenvironment activates GLI2 via HIF-1α and TGF-β2 to promote chemoresistance in colorectal cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A  115: E5990-E5999.

  • Mahara S, Firestein R (2017) Targeting the seeds of small cell lung cancer. Ann Transl Med 5:113.

  • Mahara S, Chng WJ, Yu Q (2016) Molecular Switch of EZH2 in Hypoxia. Cell Cycle 15:3007-3008.

  • Mahara S, Lee PL, Feng M, Tergaonkar V, Chng WJ, Yu Q (2016) HIFI-alpha activation underlies a functional switch in the paradoxical role of Ezh2/PRC2 in breast cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113: E3735-3744.

  • Zhou J, Cheong LL, Liu SC, Chong PS, Mahara S, Bi C, Ong KO, Zeng Q, Chng WJ (2012) The Pro-Metastasis Tyrosine Phosphatase, PRL-3 (PTP4A3), Is a Novel Mediator of Oncogenic Function of BCR-ABL in Human Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Mol Cancer 11:72.

  • Zhou J, Bi C, Chng WJ, Cheong LL, Liu SC, Mahara S, Tay KG, Zeng Q, Li K, Guo CP, Tan H, Yu DHA, Chen CS (2011) PRL-3, a Metastasis Associated Tyrosine Phosphatase, Is Involved in FLT3-ITD Signalling and Implicated in Anti-AML Therapy. PLoS One 6:e19798.

  • Zhou J, Bi C, Cheong LL, Mahara S, Liu SC, Tay KG, Koh TL, Yu Q, Chng WJ. The Histone Methyltranferase Inhibitor, DZNep, up-Regulates TXNIP, Increases ROS Production, and Targets Leukemia Cells in AML. Blood 118:2830-2839.