Susanna Su Jan LEONG

Adjunct Associate Professor


Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS.
Associate Professor, Singapore Institute of Technology.


Degree and Institution Year(s)
Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering), University of Cambridge 2006
M.Phil. (Chemical Engineering), University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, 2002
B.Eng. (Chemical Engineering), University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology 2000

Professional Experience

Position and Institute Year(s)
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS 2013-Present
Associate Professor, Singapore Institute of Technology 2013 - Present
Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University 2006 - 2013


Susanna Leong’s research interests are in biochemical engineering and synthetic biology. Her current research involves biomolecular engineering of antimicrobial molecules for improved structure-function understanding, leading to extended applications of these molecules for in vitro protection. Her group has recently established a correlation between tuning charge and hydrophobic attributes of antimicrobial peptides and inter-residue interactions which modulates antimicrobial potency. She is also interested in identifying targets for elucidation of the mechanism of action. Dr. Leong is also interested in biochemically engineering microbes for biofuels production. Her current work targets the development of genetic tools for the production of biofuels in an oleaginous microbial strain, as well as engineering chimeric enzymes and protein scaffolds to complement pathway construction to improve product flux. Her group has recently tweaked a native inner membrane transporter in bacteria by evolutionary methods to improve efflux of small fuel molecules. The utilization of such optimized native efflux pumps will increase productivity of biofuels synthesis and alleviate toxicity and difficulties in production scale-up in current microbial platforms.

Research Interest

1. Microbial engineering for biofuels production.
2. Engineering antimicrobial molecules: structure-function studies.

Selected Publications

  1. Leong S.S.J. and Middelberg A.P.J., 2006, “The refolding of different alpha-fetoprotein variants,” Protein Science 15(9):1-11.

  2. Foo J.L., Ching C.B., Chang M.W., Leong S.S.J. (2011) The imminent role of protein engineering in synthetic biology. Biotechnology Advances 30(3):541-549.

  3. Foo J.L., Leong S.S.J. (2013) Directed evolution of an E. coli inner membrane transporter for improved efflux of biofuel molecules. Biotechnology for Biofuels 6:81.

  4. Basu A., Mishra B., Leong S.S.J. (2013) Immobilization of Polybia-MPI by allyl glycidyl ether based brush chemistry to generate novel antimicrobial surface. Journal of Materials Chemistry B (2013) 1(37), 4746 – 4755 (featured in Chemistry World, Royal Society of Chemistry).

  5. Saravanan R., Li X., Lim K.Y., Mohanram H., Li P., Mishra B., Basu, A., Lee J.M., Bhattacharyya S., Leong S.S.J. (2013) Design of short membrane selective antimicrobial peptides containing tryptophan and arginine residues for improved activity, salt-resistance and biocompatibility. Biotechnology and Bioengineering DOI: 10.1002/bit.25003; selected to be featured in B&B Video Highlights.