Associate Professor Dr Felicia Chung Fei Lei

Associate Professor Dr Felicia Chung Fei Lei

  • Programme Leader of BSc (Hons) Medical Biotechnology
Department of Medical Sciences


Associate Professor Dr. Felicia Chung obtained her Ph.D. in Biotechnology at Monash University in 2014. She then joined International Medical University (Malaysia) as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a lecturer, researching cancer cell biology, cancer stem cells, and drug repurposing. In 2017, she received a postdoctoral fellowship from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (France), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, where she joined the Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis section. She investigated mechanisms of epigenome stability, epigenetic biomarkers of cancer, and the impact of genetic alterations on the epigenome. Following the completion of the fellowship, she continued her research at the same agency in the capacity of postdoctoral scientist until her return to Malaysia in 2021. Her current research interests lie in cancer mutational signatures, intratumor heterogeneity, and the epigenetic mechanisms of cancer immune evasion.

Academic & Professional Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Monash University, Malaysia (2014)
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), Monash University, Malaysia (2009)
  • Bachelor of Science, Monash University, Malaysia (2008)

Research Interests

  • Cancer cell biology
  • Cancer epigenetics
  • Intratumour heterogeneity

Notable Publications

  1. Nalairndran, G., Chung, I., Abdul Razack, A.H., Chung, F.F.-L., Hii, L.-W., Lim, W.-M., Looi, C.-K., Mai, C.-W., Leong, C.-O. Inhibition of Janus Kinase 1 synergizes docetaxel sensitivity in prostate cancer cells. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2021, 00:1-14.
  2. Le Curieux, F., Gohlke, J.M., Pronke, A., Andersen, W.C., Chen, G., Fang, J.L., Mitrowska, K., Sanders, P.J.J., Sun, M., Umbuzeiro, G.A., Umemura, T., Benbrahim-Tallaa, L., Chung, F., El Ghissassi, F., Grosse, Y., Guyton, K.Z., Gwinn, W., Mattock, H., Middleton, D., Miranda-Filho, A., Schubauer-Berigan, M.K., Suonio, E. Carcinogenicity of gentian violet, leucogentian violet, malachite green, leucomalachite green, and CI Direct Blue 218. The Lancet Oncology, 2021, 22(5): 585-586.
  3. Looi, C.-K., Hii, L.-W., Chung, F.F.-L., Mai, C.-W., Lim, W.-M., Leong, C.-O. Roles of inflammasomes in Epstein-Barr virus-associated nasopharyngeal cancer. Cancers, 2021, 13(8): 1786.
  4. Liew, K., Yu, G.Q.S., Pua, L.J.W., Wong, L.Z., Tham, S.Y., Hii, L.-W., Lim, W.-M., OuYong, B.M., Looi, C.K., Mai, C.-W., Chung, F.F.-L., Tan, L.P., Ahmad, M., Khoo, A.S.-B., Leong, C.-O. Parallel genome-wide RNAi screens identify lymphocyte-specific protein tyrosine kinase (LCK) as a targetable vulnerability of cell proliferation and chemoresistance in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Cancer Letters, 2021, 504: 81-90.
  5. Marques, M.M., Beland, F.A., Lachenmeier, D.W., Phillips, D.H., Chung, F.-L., Dorman, D.C., Elmore, S.E., Hammond, S.K., Krstev, S., Linhart, I., Long, A.S., Mandrioli, D., Ogawa, K., Pappas, J.J., Morte, J.M.P., Talaska, G., Tang, M.-S., Thakur, N., van Tongeren, M., Vineis, P., Grosse, Y., Benbrahim-Tallaa, L., Sounio, E., Turner, M.C., El Ghissassi, F., Middleton, D., Miranda-Filho, A., Chung, F., Liu, Y., Vega, ., Mattock, H., Schubauer-Berigan, M.K., Guyton, K.Z. Carcinogenicity of acrolein, crotonaldehyde, and arecoline. The Lancet Oncology, 2021, 22(1): 19-20.
  6. Nalairndran, G., Abdul Razack, A.H., Mai, C.W., Chung, F.F.-L., Chan, K.K., Hii, L.-W., Lim, W.-M., Chung, I., Leong, C.-O. Phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDPK1) regulates serum glucocorticoid-regulated kinase 3 (SGK3) for prostate cancer cell survival. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 2020, 24: 12188-12198.
  7. DeMarini, D.M., Carreón-Valencia, T., Gwinn, W.M., Hopf, N.B., Sandy, M.S., Bahadori, T., Calaf, G.M., Chen, G., de Conti, A., Fritschi, L., Gi, M., Josephy, P.D., Kirkeleit, J., Kjaerheim, K.,Langouët, S., McElvenny, D.M., Sergi, C.M., Stayner, L.T., Toyoda, T., Benbrahim-Tallaa, L., Chung, F., Cree, I.A., El Ghissassi, F., Grosse, Y., Mattock, H., Müller, K., Schubauer-Berigan, M.K., Suonio, E., Turner, M.C., Guyton, K.Z. Carcinogenicity of some aromatic amines and related compounds. The Lancet Oncology, 2020, 21(8): 1017-1018.
  8. Hii, L.-W., Chung, F.F.-L., Mai, C.W., Yee, Z.-Y., Chan, H.-H, Raja, V.J., Dephoure, N.E., Pyne, N.J., Pyne, S., Leong, C.-O. Sphingosine Kinase 1 Regulates the Survival of Breast Cancer Stem Cells and Non-stem Breast Cancer Cells by Suppression of STAT1. Cells, 2020, 9(4): 886.
  9. Chung, F.F.-L., Herceg, Z. The promises and challenges of toxico-epigenomics: Environmental chemicals and their impacts on the epigenome. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2020, 128(1): 15001.
  10. Hii, L.-W., Chung, F.F.-L., Soo, J.S.-S., Tan, B.S., Mai, C.W., Leong, C.-O. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors and doxorubicin combinations target both breast cancer stem cells and non-stem breast cancer cells simultaneously. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2019, 179: 615–629.
  11. Rusyn, I., Belpoggi, F., Camacho, L., Käfferlein, H.U., Cattley, R., Estill, C.F., Kanno, J., Le Curieux, F., Mráz, Jaroslav, Roberts, G.K., Stubbings, W.A., Umemura, T., Vlaanderen, J., Bouvard, V., Grosse, Y., Benbrahim-Tallaa, L., Girschik, J., El Ghissassi, F., Rowan, E.G., Chung, F., Li, M., Schubauer-Berigan, M.K., Guyton, K.Z. Carcinogenicity of some industrial chemical intermediates and solvents. The Lancet Oncology, 2019, 21(1): 25-26.
  12. Patil, V., Cuenin, C., Chung, F., Aguilera, J.R.R., Fernandez-Jimenez, N., Romero-Garmendia, I., Bilbao, J.R., Cahais, V., Rothwell, J., and Herceg, Z. Human mitochondrial DNA is extensively methylated in a non-CpG context. Nucleic Acids Research, 2019, 47(19):10072-10085.
  13. Josipović, G., Tadić, V., Klasić, M., Zanki, V., Bečeheli, I., Chung, F., Ghantous, A., Keser, T., Madunić, J., Bošković, M., Lauc, G., Herceg, Z., Vojta, A., Zoldoš, V. Antagonistic and synergistic epigenetic modulation using orthologous CRISPR/dCas9-based modular system. Nucleic Acids Research, 2019, 47(18): 9637–9657.
  14. Looi, C.-K., Chung, F.F.-L., Leong, C.-O., Wong, S.F., Rosli, R., Mai, C.W. Therapeutic challenges and current immunomodulatory strategies in targeting the immunosuppressive pancreatic tumor microenvironment. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research, 2019, 38:162.
  15. Song, D.S.S., Leong, S.W., Ng, K.W., Abas, F., Shaari, K., Leong, C.-O., Chung, F.F.-L., Mai, C.W., Hii, L.-W., Tan, P.J., Patel, V. Novel 2-benzoyl-6-(2,3-dimethoxybenzylidene)-cyclohexenol confers selectivity towards human MLH1 defective cancer cells through synthetic lethality. SLAS Discovery, 2018, 24(5): 548-562.
  16. Er, J.L., Goh, P.M., Lee, C.Y., Tan, Y.J., Hii, L.-W., Mai, C.W., Chung, F.F.-L., Leong, C.-O. Identification of inhibitors synergizing gemcitabine sensitivity in the squamous subtype of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Apoptosis, 2018, 23: 343-355.
  17. Yeong K.Y., Tan S.C., Mai, C.W., Leong, C.-O., Chung, F.F.-L., Lee, Y.K., Chee, C.F., Rahman, N.A. Contrasting sirtuin and poly (ADP‐ribose) polymerase activities of selected 2, 4, 6‐trisubstituted benzimidazoles. Chemical Biology & Drug Design, 2018, 91: 213–219.
  18. Rasol, N.E., Ahmad, F.B., Lim, X.-Y., Chung, F.F.-L., Leong, C.-O., Mai, C.W., Bihud, N.V., Zaki, H.M., Ismail, N.H. Cytotoxic lactam and naphthoquinone alkaloids from roots of Goniothalamus lanceolatus Miq. Phytochemistry Letters, 2018, 24: 51-55.
  19. Al-Khdhairawi, A.A.Q., Krishnan, P., Mai, C.W., Chung, F.F.-L., Leong, C.-O., Yong. K.-T., Chong, K.-W., Low, Y.-Y., Kam, T.-S., Lim, K.-H. A Bis-benzopyrroloisoquinoline Alkaloid Incorporating a Cyclobutane Core and a Chlorophenanthroindolizidine Alkaloid with Cytotoxic Activity from Ficus fistulosa var. tengerensis. Journal of Natural Products, 2017, 80(10): 2734-2740.
  20. Yeong, K.Y., Tan, S.C., Mai, C.W., Leong, C.-O., Chung, F.F.-L., Lee, Y.K., Chee, C.F., Rahman, N.A. Contrasting sirtuin and PARP activity of selected 2, 4, 6‐trisubstituted benzimidazoles. Chemical Biology & Drug Design, 2017, 91(1): 213-219.
  21. Chung, F.F.-L., Tan, P. F. T. M., Raja, V. J., Tan, B.S., Lim, K.-H., Kam T.-S, Hii, L.-W., Tan, S.-H., See, S.-J., Tan, Y.-F., Wong, L.-Z., Yam, W. K., Mai, C.W., Bradshaw, T. D. and Leong. C.-O. Jerantinine A induces tumor-specific cell death through modulation of splicing factor 3b subunit 1 (SF3B1). Scientific Reports, 2017, 7: 42504.
  22. Soo, H.-C., Chung, F.F.-L., Lim, K.-H., Yap, V. A., Bradshaw, T. D., Hii, L.-W., Tan, S.-H., See, S.-J., Tan, Y.-F., Leong. C.-O., and Mai, C.-W. Cudraflavone C Induces Tumor-Specific Apoptosis in Colorectal Cancer Cells through Inhibition of the Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase (PI3K)-AKT Pathway. PLOS ONE, 2017, 12(1): e0170551.
  23. Mai, C.W., Chung, F.F.-L., Leong, C.O. Targeting legumain as a novel therapeutic strategy in cancers. Current Drug Targets, 2016, 18(11):1259-1268.
  24. Tiong, K.H., Tan, B.S., Choo, H.L., Chung, F.F.-L., Hii, L.W., Tan, S.H., Khor, N.T.W., Wong, S.F., See, S.J., Tan, Y.F., Rosli, R., Cheong, S.K., Leong, C.O. Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4) and fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) autocrine enhance breast cancer cells survival. Oncotarget, 2016, 7(36): 57633-57650.
  25. Chung, F.F.-L., Mai, C.W., Ng, P.Y., Leong, C.-O. Cytochrome P450 2W1 (CYP2W1) in Colorectal Cancers. Current Cancer Drug Targets, 2015, 16: 71–78.
  26. Soo, J.S.-S., Ng, C.-H., Tan, S.H., Malik, R.A., Teh, Y.-C., Tan, B.-S., Ho, G.-F., See, M.-H., Taib, N.A.M., Yip, C.-H., Chung, F.F.-L., Hii, L.-W., Teo, S.-H., Leong, C.-O. Metformin synergizes 5-fluorouracil, epirubicin, and cyclophosphamide (FEC) combination therapy through impairing intracellular ATP production and DNA repair in breast cancer stem cells. Apoptosis, 2015, 20: 1373–1387.
  27. Tan, B.S., Tiong, K.H., Choo, H.L., Chung, F.F.-L., Hii, L.-W., Tan, S.H., Yap, I.K., Pani, S., Khor, N.T., Wong, S.F., Rosli, R., Cheong, S.-K., Leong, C.-O. Mutant p53-R273H mediates cancer cell survival and anoikis resistance through AKT-dependent suppression of BCL2-modifying factor (BMF). Cell Death and Disease, 2015, 6: e1826.
  28. Ong, L.-C., Chung, F.F.-L., Tan, Y.-F., Leong, C.-O. Toxicity of single-walled carbon nanotubes. Archives of Toxicology, 2014, 1–16.
  29. Wang, Y., Chung, F.F.-L., Lee, S., Dykes, G. Inhibition of attachment of oral bacteria to immortalized human gingival fibroblasts (HGF-1) by tea extracts and tea components. BMC Research Notes, 2013, 6: 143.