Mei I Lai

  • Research Overview

    Our research group focuses on the modifiers of beta-thalassaemia. Beta-thalassaemia is a debilitating disease particularly in its intermediate and severe form. Patients require intermittent transfusion or even life-long regular transfusions to have a close-to-normal life. Not only that, they have to comply with a strict regiment of iron chelation therapy to keep the iron level in their body as low as they can. Non compliance will lead to iron deposits in their heart and eventually premature death early in their years.

    Although beta-thalassaemia is a single gene disorder, the clinical phenotype is a product of many different genetic and environmental factors. Many studies have reported families with similar alpha and beta-genotype but discordant phenotype.

    Studies on the modifiers of beta-thalassaemia not only helps us to understand the mechanisms involved in the red cell microenvironment but more importantly, these modifiers could be used to alleviate the severity of beta-thalassaemia. For e.g., research has shown that increased levels of HbF is associated with less severe symptoms and better quality of life. Thus many therapeutic research have been carried out to augment the HbF levels but unfortunately it's not easy to increase the HbF level for everybody.

    So we are looking at other modifiers to understand their contribution to the dynamics of beta-thalassaemia and whether it's enough to be pursued at a therapeutic level.

    Research Funding

    Project Title Funding Source
    Investigation of the role of Alpha Haemoglobin Stabilizing Protein (AHSP) in thalassaemia patients with HbE/ IVS I-5 (G-C) and HbE/ Codon 41/42 (-TCTT) in Malaysia FRGS
    The investigation on the heme oxygenase-1 effects on severity of beta-thalassaemia intermedia FRGS
    Investigation of the effects of Bach1 gene on the severity of beta-thalassaemia intermedia. RUGS
    A novel handheld application tool in detection of iron deficiency anaemia using plasma ferritin RUGS

    Selected Publications

    Lim WF, Muniandi L, George E, Sathar J, Teh LK, Gan GG, Lai MI. 2012 α-Haemoglobin stabilising protein expression is influenced by mean cell haemoglobin and HbF levels in HbE/β-thalassaemia individuals. Blood Cells, Molecules and Diseases 48(1):17-21.

    Karthipan SN, George E, Jameela S, Lim WF, Teh LK, Lee TY, Chin VK, Lai MI. 2011 An assessment of three noncommercial DNA extraction methods from dried blood spots for beta-thalassaemia mutation identification. International Journal of Laboratory Hematology 33(5):540-4

    Lai MI, Wendy-Yeo WY, Ramasamy R, Nordin N, Rosli R, Veerakumarasivam A, Abdullah S. 2011 Advancements in reprogramming strategies for the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 28(4):291-301

    Lai MI, Garner C, Jiang J, Silver N, Best S, Menzel S, Thein SL. 2010 A twins heritability study on alpha hemoglobin stabilizing protein (AHSP) expression variability Twin Research and Human Genetics 13(6):567-72

    Lai MI, Jiang J, Silver NA, Best S, Menzel S, Mijovic A, Colella S, Ragoussis J, Garner C, Weiss MJ, Thein SL 2006 AHSP is a quantitative trait gene that modifies the phenotype of beta-thalassaemia. British Journal of Haematology 133 (6): 675-82.


    Year Name of Award
    2011 Pameran Reka Cipta, Penyelidikan dan Inovasi (PRPI) – Silver Medal
    2011 Pameran Reka Cipta, Penyelidikan dan Inovasi (PRPI) – Bronze Medal
    2011 Education and Research Program for Young Scientists in collaboration with East Asia Thalassemia Research Network
    2009 Berend Houwen Travel Award

    Current Lab Members

    Name Position Research Interest Year Joined
  • Mei I Lai

    [email protected]
    Molecular Hematology

    603-8947 2494