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Conventional gene annotation methods detect about 20,000 genes in the human genome and estimate that the proteome consist of 20,000 distinct proteins together with their unique variants. In recent years, the advent of ribosome profiling has provided evidence for significant translation  outside of annotated protein-coding sequences (Ingolia et al., 2013, Science).  A significant portion of these new proteins are smaller than 100 amino acids, encoded by small Open Reading Frames  (ORFs) previously overlooked due to their small size. The emergence of  sORF-encoded peptides (SEPs) or micropeptides is rapidly expanding the known proteome at the lower end of the size distribution. Our group is fascinated by the function of this hidden uncharacterized mini proteome. To systematically uncover SEPs, we have established a pipeline from proteogenomic discovery to functional characterization, employing computational and experimental approaches to assign definitive functions to SEPs. We currently focus on secreted and mitochondrial-localized peptides with a two-fold mission to :

1) Uncover new paradigms in cell biology and physiology through SEP discovery and functionalization

2)  Improve cardiometabolic and immune health through the discovery and exploitation of SEPs

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Assistant Professor
Joint Principal Investigator (IMCB, A*STAR)
National Research Foundation Fellow
HHMI International Research Scholar
EMBO Young Investigator

Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders
Duke-NUS Medical School
8 College Road
Singapore 138957

Email :

Lena Ho, PhD

April 2022
Lena featured on JCB.

 Nov 2021
Congrats to Radiance Lim for being awarded a Young Investigator Research Grant (OF-YIRG) from NMRC! Go Radiance!

July 2021
Congrats to Cheryl Lee for being awarded a Young Investigator Research Grant (OF-YIRG) from NMRC! Go Cheryl!

June 2021
We bid adieu to Zhang Shan, who is off to start his own lab in Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. All our best wishes, Shan!
Join our team
Feb 2022
We have openings for postdoctoral fellows interested in mitochondrial biology  and immunometabolism. See here for job descriptions. Interested and qualified applicants should send their CVs to

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