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SHAO, Fangwei

Nanyang Assistant Professor

Education:B.S., M.S. (Fudan University, Shanghai, China)
Ph.D. (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA)
Postdoc: Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, USA

Research Area: Biological Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Phone: (65) 6592 2511




Research Interest

The research interests of Dr. Shao’s group lie in the nucleic acids chemistry and the applications in the field of biochemistry, biology, medicine and nanotechnology.

Current projects going on at our lab include:

1. Charge transport in nucleic acids.
                Aromatic π-stacking of nucleobases in various secondary structures of nucleic acids provide efficient pathway for electron conductivity. The process, called DNA-mediated charge transport, has promising ramification in biology and DNA nanotechnology. We are current investigating the characteristic features and the biological and technological applications of both oxidative and reductive DNA-mediated charge transport in B-form helical DNA and variety of non-canonical DNA structures, such as A-form duplex and four-stranded guanine quadruplexes.

2. Chemistry, Biology and Medicinal Applications of Guanine Quadruplexes.
                Guanine quadruplexes (GQ) are a family of four-stranded DNA structures, which attracts high interests in the field of anticancer therapies, due to their regulatory effects on the human telomerase and the transcription of many oncogenes. Guanine quadruplexes become promising targets for developing molecular anticancer drugs. At our lab, various types of organic compounds and inorganic complexes are developed to achieve not only the selectivity of GQ over duplex DNA but also specificity among the topological GQ structures. The outcome of the projects will provide promising anticancer therapeutic compounds and also useful tools for investigating GQ involved biological processes.

3. Epigenetic Effects on the Redox Chemistry of Nucleic Acids
                Epigenetic nucleobases have extra functional groups without disturbing the Watson-crick H-bondings and hence do not alter the primary structure of downstream proteins. The most common epigenetic base in human genome is 5-methyl-cytosine (mC). In the past two years, more derivatives of mC have been discovered in mammalian cells. These epigenetic cytosines provide an extra layer on genomic code, epigenetic code, which can modulate the chromatin conformation and downstream protein expression via active cytosine (de)methylation processes. At our lab, the chemical and biological properties of these epigenetic cytosines are exploring by various chemical, biochemical, and biological methods, in order to reveal their biological functions and explore the potential applications in the epigenetic therapy.


Selected Publications

  1. F Shao, M A O’Neill, J K Barton Long-range oxidative damage to cytosines in duplex DNA Proc.Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2004, 101, 17914-17919.

  2. F Shao, K Augustyn, J K Barton Sequence dependence of charge transport through DNA domains J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2005, 127, 17445-17452.

  3. F Shao, J K Barton Long range electron and hole transport through DNA with tethered cyclometalated iridium(III) complexes J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2007, 129, 14733-14738.

  4. F Shao, R Weissleder, S A Hilderbrand Monofunctional carbocyanine dyes for bio- and bioorthogonal conjugation Bioconj. Chem., 2008, 19, 2487-2491.

  5. S A Hilderbrand, F Shao, C Salthouse, U Mahmood, R Weissleder, Upconverting luminescent nanomaterials: application to in vivo bioimaging Chem. Comm., 2009, 28, 4188-4190.

  6. ZQ Yang, DW Li, SH Hiew, MT Ng, WX Yuan, HB Su, F Shao*, Li TH*, Recognition of forcible curvature in circular DNA by human topoisomerase I Chem. Comm. 2011, 47, 11309-11311.