Nam Hai CHUA, Ph.D, Deputy Chairman

Professor Chua Nam Hai received his B.S. from the University of Singapore and A.M. and Ph.D. from Harvard University under a Fullbright Scholarship. Since 1988, Professor Chua holds the position of the Andrew W. Mellon Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology at the Rockefeller University, New York City.

Professor Chua has served and continues to serve on advisory boards of governmental organizations, academic institutions and multinational companies in 16 countries. He was awarded Einstein Professorship of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2007. He is currently the Chairman of the Strategic Research Program Management Committee and a member of the Management Board of Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (Singapore). Professor Chua also serves as a Corporate Advisor to Temasek Holdings. In this capacity, he advises Temasek Holdings on potential biotechnology investments globally.

You may wish to contact Prof Chua Nam Hai at: Tel: +1 (212) 327-8126 Email:

For information on PhD studies at TLL, click HERE

Research Interests Developing platform technologies for functional genomics in Jatropha curcas (“Jatropha”)

The main objective of our project is to develop platform technologies for high-throughput functional genomics studies in Jatropha. The successful development of these technologies will allow us to rapidly assess the function of Jatropha genes. Results from such functional studies will provide the basis as to which Jatropha genes indeed have agronomic value and should be advanced for genetic transformation.

Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) has been successfully used to study gene function in model plant species by downregulating specific gene expression and analyzing the resulting phenotype. VIGS is a rapid and high-throughout tool that makes it possible to assay the knock-down or knock-out phenotype of a few hundred genes within a short period of time. We have screened the susceptibility of Jatropha to a number of RNA and DNA viruses and based on these results we are developing a set of viral vectors for VIGS. Our results so far indicate that VIGS can be used to efficiently and systemically silence Jatropha genes in transient expression assays. We are currently optimizing this technology using gene inserts of different sizes and varying the experimental conditions. At the same time, we are also establishing RNA and DNA virus-based transient expression systems to over-express endogenous and exogenous proteins in Jatropha to dissect function of genes and determine their agronomic value.