Imperial College London

DrSek ShirCheong

Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Research Associate







Desk 10Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Dr. Sek Shir Cheong is currently a postdoctoral research associate in the Lung Development and Repair group led by Dr Charlotte Dean at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London. She joined Imperial in 2017 after completing a PhD in Molecular Genetics in Professor Alison Hardcastle’s lab in the Department of Ophthalmology at University College London (UCL). Her PhD study aimed to investigate the molecular genetics of developmental eye disorders using next generation sequencing technology, during which she discovered a novel genetic cause of a rare congenital anterior segment dysgenesis and proposed a genetic screening that improved the differential diagnosis of megalocornea and primary congenital glaucoma. Prior to this she graduated from University of Malaya with a First Class Honours degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology, and later completed a Master’s degree with distinction in Genetics of Human Disease at UCL.

Dr Cheong made a transition from eye to lung development for her postdoctoral research. Her current interests lie in the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying lung development and repair. Aberrant lung repair is a hallmark of adult lung diseases, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). By using a combination of mouse and human molecular and cellular approaches both in vivo and in vitro, she investigates the planar cell polarity (PCP) and retinoic acid signalling pathways that play a pivotal role in lung development to identify potential components of these pathways that can be targeted to promote lung repair and regeneration.

Honours and Awards

Dr Cheong won the Professor E. Balasingam Gold Medal as the best undergraduate student in the Faculty of Biology. She was also awarded the competitive Commonwealth Scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree at UCL. Her 4-year PhD program was joint-funded by Graduate Research Scholarship and Overseas Research Scholarship from UCL. Her current postdoctoral fellowship is funded by the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity.



Dudakova L, Tuft S, Cheong S, et al., 2021, Novel disease‐causing variants and phenotypic features of X‐linked megalocornea, Acta Ophthalmologica, ISSN:1755-375X

Cheong SS, Akram K, Metellan C, et al., 2020, The planar polarity component Vangl2 is a key regulator of mechanosignaling, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, Vol:8, ISSN:2296-634X

Dean C, Cheong SS, 2019, On the move: the commander IL-4 leads the cell army in collective migration, American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, Vol:60, ISSN:1044-1549, Pages:377-378

Dudakova L, Cheong S-S, Merjava SR, et al., 2018, Familial Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency: Clinical, Cytological and Genetic Characterization, Stem Cell Reviews and Reports, Vol:14, ISSN:1550-8943, Pages:148-151

Cheong S-S, Hull S, Jones B, et al., 2017, Pleiotropic effect of a novel mutation in GCNT2 causing congenital cataract and a rare adult i blood group phenotype, Human Genome Variation, Vol:4, ISSN:2054-345X

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