Yu Chinn Joshua Chey

Mr Yu Chinn Joshua Chey

Grant Funded Researcher

South Australian Immunogenomics Cancer Institute

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Postdoctoral Research

Josh is starting as a postdoc in the Cancer and Immune Signalling Laboratory.  His research interests encompass the biology, etiology and treatment of presently incurable diseases.  He has extensive experience in utilising CRISPR gene-editing technology across a range of research contexts, from the elucidation of the roles of hypoxic-signalling pathways in Multiple Myeloma (MPhil with Associate Professor Dan Peet and Professor Andrew Zannettino) to the generation of mouse models and development of precision gene-editing therapies for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (PhD with Professor Paul Thomas and Dr Fatwa Adikusuma).  In his new role, Josh will contribute to research examining the role of the innate immune response in pancreatic cancer, aiming to identify and validate novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for the disease.

PhD Research

CRISPR Therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

CRISPR/Cas9's therapeutic potential is, without a doubt, incredibly powerful. This cutting-edge gene-editing technology enables fast, precise, and straightforward modification of DNA. It has quickly become the mainstay technique of many research laboratories to manipulate the genome of cells and laboratory animals. There is currently significant research interest in transitioning the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to the clinic and further developing it as therapy for the permanent correction of many different genetic diseases.

Joshua's PhD project involves developing CRISPR/Cas9 editing strategies for the long-term genetic correction of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). DMD is a severe muscle-wasting disease associated with mutations to the DMD gene located on the X-chromosome. Due to loss-of-function mutations to the DMD gene, patients do not express functional dystrophin protein- an essential membrane stabiliser in striated muscles. Muscle contractions cause damage to the unstable muscle cell membrane, leading to necroptosis and subsequent replacement of muscle with fibrous and fat tissue, manifesting in the progressive loss of muscle strength observed in patients. This disease is ultimately fatal as patients succumb to complications arising from heart and respiratory weakness.

Our CRISPR therapy team is focused on developing CRISPR/Cas9 editing strategies that are safe, effective, and applicable for human DMD patients. Joshua is involved in identifying, testing and tuning strategies that apply to a broad range of DMD mutations, with hopes of identifying the best candidates for further testing in a clinical setting. These strategies intend to permanently change and correct the sequence of patients' DMD gene to restore dystrophin protein expression and delay further disease progression.

Joshua is also actively involved in side projects relating to the advancement of CRISPR/Cas9 technology and novel PRIME editing technology.


PQT 2021

PQT 2020


MPhil Research

Sn'HIF'fing out roles for HIFs in Multiple Myeloma

Joshua's MPhil project was in the areas of hypoxia (state of low oxygen levels) and blood cancer biology. Cellular responses to hypoxia are primarily mediated by the HIFs, which play important roles in both normal physiology and in disease, such as in cancer, infarction and inflammation. While hypoxia is widely recognised as a hallmark of solid tumours, its role in the pathology of liquid tumours is less well understood.

MM is the second most common blood cancer, an incurable haematological malignancy of bone marrow plasma cells that manifests as combination of clinical symptoms known mnemonically as CRAB: hyperCalcaemia, Renal failure, Anaemia, and Bone lesions. As the bone marrow microenvironment is physiologically hypoxic, HIF activation is likely to to contribute to the unfavourable biology of MM through the induction of angiogenesis, metastasis, osteolysis and cell survival.

Using cutting-edge CRIPSR/Cas9 technology, Joshua aimed elucidate HIF's roles in MM pathology to strengthen the rationale for the development of MM therapies that target the hypoxic bone marrow niche and for the repurposing of HIF-inhibitors.

Joshua was also involved in side projects pertinent to the study of Factor Inhibiting HIF (FIH) as a novel regulator of metabolism and the study of HIFs in retinal metabolism.


Peet Lab 2019

Peet Lab 2018

2023 - Guest Lecturer, Biochemistry III: Cancer, Stem Cells and Development

2018, 2019, 2022 - Lab Prac Demonstrator, Biochemistry III: Cancer, Stem Cells and Development

  • Position: Grant Funded Researcher
  • Email: yuchinnjoshua.chey@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: West End Health Precinct
  • Building: AHMS - Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences
  • Org Unit: South Australian Immunogenomics Cancer Institute

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