Aikseng Ooi, PhD

Cancer Biology Program
Aikeng Ooi, PhD


I am a biochemist working on solving problems in cancer biology. I have extensive experience in developing and applying computational algorithms on large genomic datasets to identify biological changes critical to cancer biology. I have experience working on various tumor types, including kidney cancer, cholangiocarcinoma, non small cell lung cancer, hepatoma, T cell lymphoma, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, and phyllodes tumor of the breast. Being a biochemist by training, my current research program has the capacity to go from computational biology to molecular and in vivo validation of the computational findings. I also actively collaborate with oncologists to carry out translational cancer research. 

Cancer Focus

My research focuses on the dysregulation of the NRF2 transcription factor and iron signaling in cancers, particularly in kidney malignancies. My group utilizes computational biology, bioinformatics, molecular biology, and chemical biology tools to probe signaling pathways in cancer. We recently discovered that NRF2 activation and iron signaling disruption lead to constitutive growth in a subtype of kidney cancer arising from the hereditary cancer syndrome, hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer (HLRCC). Moreover, we found that HLRCC is particularly sensitive to a class of drugs called ferroptosis inducers. My long-term research goals are to understand and cure HLRCC, and identify means to manage and treat cancer with sustained NRF2 activation.