Heng-Phon TOO

Associate Professor

+65 6516 3687


Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS.
Principal Investigator, Neurobiology/Ageing, Life Sciences Institute, NUS.
Faculty Fellow, Singapore-MIT Alliance
Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NUS.


Dr Too Heng Phon received his undergraduate training in Biochemistry, Imperial College of Science & Technology, UK. He then continued with his PhD training in a joint research project in Imperial College, Institute of Ophthalmology and West Minister Hospital, London. Thereafter, he received further training in the Medical Research Council, Cambridge (UK), where he was a Procter & Gamble Fellow. He then moved to the Department of Anesthesiology and Department of Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School where he was a recipient of the Merck Sharpe Dohme Academic Development Fellowship. Currently, he is a faculty in the Department of Biochemistry, National University Singapore, adjunct to Bioprocess Technological Institute and Biotransformation Innovation Platform, A*STAR, Singapore. He was a Fellow of the Singapore Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alliance (Molecular Engineering of Biological & Chemical Systems program; Chemical & Pharmaceutical Engineering program). Dr Too is a molecular biologist focusing on biotechnology and neuroscience. In recent years, Roche Diagnostics (USA & Asia Pacific) and National Institute of Health (USA) funded him to develop qPCR assays for infectious diseases. He is an awardee of a number of Commercialization of Technology grants from A*STAR to develop miRNA diagnostics. Dr Too has also been awarded a KHIDI-A*STAR grant with a Korean company to co-develop IVD for prognostic/diagnostic of breast cancer. He has intellectual property protections on specific diagnostic platforms with various research departments and with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

Research Interest

* Molecular tools for the detection of microRNAs & replicating viruses.
* Non-viral gene delivery.
* in vivo & in vitro Metabolic Engineering of the DXP pathway.
* Glial-derived neurotrophic growth factor (GDNF) and related factors.

Selected Publications

  1. Zhang C, Zou R, Chen X, Stephanopoulos G, Too HP. Experimental design-aided systematic pathway optimization of glucose uptake and deoxyxylulose phosphate pathway for improved amorphadiene production. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015. 99(9):3825-37.

  2. Low SY, Ho YK, Too HP, Yap CT, Ng WH. MicroRNA as potential modulators in chemoresistant high-grade gliomas. J Clin Neurosci. 2014; (3):395-400.

  3. Zhou L & HPToo. Mitochondrial localized STAT3 is involved in NGF induced neurite outgrowth. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21680, 2011.

  4. Zhou L, Too, H. P. GDNF family ligand dependent STAT3 activation is mediated by specific alternatively spliced isoforms of GFRα2 and RET. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 2013;1833(12):2789-802.

  5. Lim QE, Wan G, Ho YK and Too, H. P. Multiplexed, Direct miRNA Quantification from Cell Lysates without RNA Isolation. Nat. Protoc. Exchange (2011) doi:10.1038/protex.2011.202.

  6. Wan G, Lim QE, Too HP. High-performance quantification of mature microRNAs by real-time RT-PCR using deoxyuridine-incorporated oligonucleotides and hemi-nested primers. RNA (2010) 16(7):1436-45.

  7. Ajikumar PK, Xiao WH, Tyo KE, Wang Y, Simeon F, Leonard E, Mucha O, Too HP, Pfeifer B, Stephanopoulos G. Isoprenoid pathway optimization for Taxol precursor overproduction in Escherichia coli. Science (2010) 330 (6000):70-4.