Dr Alexander LEZHAVA
PhD

Research-based Molecular Diagnostic Platform Co-Lead

Singapore Translational Cancer Consortium (STCC)

Program Director 

Genome Institute of Singapore

Senior Group Leader

Translational Research 1

Genome Institute of Singapore

 

Dr Alexander Lezhava, assumed the appointment as Group Leader, in the Translational Research group 1 (TR1), at the Genome Institute of Singapore, in August 2013. As a Senior Group Leader, Dr Lezhava, leads TR1 in promoting the smooth transition from basic research to advances in science and technology, and hence to innovation. Mainly focusing on molecular diagnostics, the mission of TR1 is to provide and market molecular diagnostic discoveries aligned with the industry needs and further develop these together with commercial partners. 

 

Dr Lezhava, also holds a concurrent appointment as the Program Director of POLARIS (Transforming Disease Management through Personalised Profiling) program since October 2016. He has actively pushed POLARIS to new heights in RIE2020. His key missions are for POLARIS to maintain its CAP accreditation on top of forging closer links with genomic initiatives at A*STAR as well as industry partners. POLARIS has become a supportive platform for clinical decision-making through molecular genomics. It has gradually evolved and is currently fully capable to serve a clinical community across Singapore and SEA region. In addition, Dr Lezhava serves the institute as a Management Representative for ISO accredited research groups for several years. Under his leadership, both TR1 and the New Generation Sequencing groups achieved ISO 13485 accreditation since 2015. This now has further expand with 2 additional research groups.

 

In response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, A*STAR was commissioned for a central testing facility, where Dr Lezhava undertook the critical role of Laboratory Director of Stronghold Diagnostic Lab. His many years of experience managing POLARIS paired with his deep knowledge of molecular diagnostics renders him fit for this role.

 

Finally, Dr Lezhava extends his research network through his assignment as Visiting Professor of Academician of N. Kipshidze Central University Clinic, Tbilisi Georgia since 2008 and Visiting Professor of Clinical Research, Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan, from 2010 to 2012. This enables the coveted exchange of both students and knowledge which is advantageous and enriching.

 

Prior to his current appointment, Dr Lezhava was a Research Director with Dx Assays from 2011 to 2013. His other earlier positions were a Senior Scientist followed by a Unit Leader under RIKEN, Japan from 2006 to 2010. He started out as a Senior Researcher with K.K. DNAform, Biotech company in 2002.

 

Dr Lezhava’s research interest is in Translational research, Molecular Diagnostics, Genomics technology development and he has published as many as 54 research papers, holds 4 patents and 11 technical disclosures. For his outstanding contributions to research, Dr Lezhava has received the Suzuken Memorial Foundation award in 2007 and Letter of Appreciation from President of RIKEN in 2009.

 

Dr Lezhava graduated with a PhD from the Hiroshima University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Fermentation Technology and Master of Science from Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Biology, Department of Genetics, in 1996 and 1990 respectively. His philosophy is “Professionalism of the Group is a key for successful activities”. Therefore as a group leader and a Program Director his task is to attract motivated individuals with a strong background from both, industry and academia. 

Selected Publications

  • Sathiyanathan P, Samsonraj RM, Tan CLL, Ling L, Lezhava A, Nurcombe V, Stanton LW, Cool SM. A genomic biomarker that identifies human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells with high scalability [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 8]. Stem Cells. 2020;10.1002/stem.3203. doi:10.1002/stem.3203.

  • Goh F, Zhang MM, Lim TR, Low KN, Nge CE, Heng E, Yeo WL, Sirota FL, Crasta S, Tan Z, Ng V, Leong CY, Zhang H, Lezhava A, Chen SL, Hoon SS, Eisenhaber F, Eisenhaber B, Kanagasundaram Y, Wong FT, Ng SB. Identification and engineering of 32 membered antifungal macrolactone notonesomycins. Microb Cell Fact. 2020;19(1):71. Published 2020 Mar 19. doi:10.1186/s12934-020-01328-x. PMID: 32192516 

  • Nindita Y, Cao Z, Fauzi AA, Teshima A, Misaki Y, Muslimin R, Yang Y, Shiwa Y, Yoshikawa H, Tagami M, Lezhava A, Ishikawa J, Kuroda M, Sekizuka T, Inada K, Kinashi H, Arakawa K.  The genome sequence of Streptomyces rochei 7434AN4, which carries a linear chromosome and three characteristic linear plasmids. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):10973. Published 2019 Jul 29. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-47406-y. PMID: 31358803 

  • Sinha S, Nge CE, Leong CY, Ng V, Crasta S, Alfatah M, Goh F, Low KN, Zhang H, Arumugam P, Lezhava A, Chen SL, Kanagasundaram Y, Ng SB, Eisenhaber F, Eisenhaber B. Genomics-driven discovery of a biosynthetic gene cluster required for the synthesis of BII-Rafflesfungin from the fungus Phoma sp. F3723. BMC Genomics. 2019;20(1):374. Published 2019 May 14. doi:10.1186/ s12864-019-5762-6.  PMID: 31088369 

  • Tapsin S, Sun M, Shen Y, Zhang H, Lim XN, Susanto TT, Yang SL, Zeng GS, Lee J, Lezhava A, Ang EL, Zhang LH, Wang Y, Zhao H, Nagarajan N, Wan Y. Genome-wide identification of natural RNA aptamers in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Nature Commun. 2018 Mar 29;9(1):1289. doi: 10.1038/ s41467-018-03675-1. 

  • Goh JY, Feng M, Wang W, Oguz G, Yatim SMJM, Lee PL, Bao Y, Lim TH, Wang P, Tam WL, Kodahl AR, Lyng MB, Sarma S, Lin SY, Lezhava A, Yap YS, Lim AST, Hoon DSB, Ditzel HJ, Lee SC, Tan EY, Yu Q. Chromosome 1q21.3 amplification is a trackable biomarker and actionable target for breast cancer recurrence. Nature Medicine 2017 Nov;23(11): 1319-1330. doi: 10.1038/nm.4405.  

  • Yao X, Tan J, Lim KJ, Koh J, Ooi WF, Li Z, Huang D, Xing M, Chan YS, Qu JZ, Tay ST, Wijaya G, Lam YN, Hong JH, Lee-Lim AP, Guan P, Ng MSW, He CZ, Suling Lin J, Nandi T, Qamra A, Xu C, Myint SS, Davies JOJ, Goh JY, Loh G, Tan BC, Rozen SG, Yu Q, Huat Tan IB, Cheng CWS, Li S, Chang KTE, Tan PH, Silver DL, Lezhava A, Steger G, Hughes JR, Teh BT, Tan P. VHL deficiency drives enhancer activation of oncogenes in clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Cancer Discov. 2017 Nov;7(11):1284-1305. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-17-0375.  

  • Chia S, Low JL, Zhang X1, Kwang XL2, Chong FT2, Sharma A1, Bertrand D1, Toh SY2, Leong HS2, Thangavelu MT, Hwang JSG3, Lim KH3, Skanthakumar T2, Tan HK3, Su Y1, Hui Choo S1, Hentze H4, Tan IBH, Lezhava A, Tan P, Tan DSW, Periyasamy G, Koh JLY, Gopalakrishna Iyer N, DasGupta R Phenotype-driven precision oncology as a guide for clinical decisions one patient at a time. Nature Commun. 2017 Sep 5;8(1):435

  • Suzuki Y, Ng SB, Chua C, Leow WQ, Chng J, Liu SY, Ramnarayanan K, Gan A, Ho DL, Ten R, Su Y, Lezhava A, Lai JH, Koh D, Lim KH, Tan P, Rozen SG, Tan IB. Multiregion ultra-deep sequencing reveals early intermixing and variable levels of intratumoral heterogeneity in colorectal cancer. Mol Oncol. 2017 Feb;11(2):124-139. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12012  

  • Wang SR, Malik S, Tan IB, Chan YS, Hoi Q, Ow JL, He CZ, Ching CE, Poh DY, Seah HM, Cheung KH, Perumal D, Devasia AG, Pan L, Ang S, Lee SE, Ten R, Chua C, Tan DS, Qu JZ, Bylstra YM, Lim L, Lezhava A, Ng PC, Wong CW, Lim T, Tan P. Technical Validation of a Next-Generation Sequencing Assay for Detecting Actionable Mutations in Patients with Gastrointestinal Cancer. J Mol Diagn. 2016 Mar 9. pii: S1525-1578(16).