Dr Zen Huat Lu


Senior Assistant Professor, Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences and Senior Assistant Professor, Institute of Applied Data Analytics


After obtaining his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Bern, Switzerland, Dr Lu had spent the earlier years of his career, also in Switzerland, looking at the cellular attachment of infectious bacteria to their animal hosts. Due to necessity and interest, he then gradually moved into the fields of microbial bioinformatics and later animal and human genomics/bioinformatics. He was a research fellow in Bioinformatics and a permanent Biocomputing support at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK for more than 10 years before moving to UBD in mid-2015. In addition to his background in the biochemistry and molecular biology of infectious disease, Dr Lu’s expertise in bioinformatics focuses mainly on the analysis of big genomic data, in particular whole genome mapping and assembly for variant discovery. He is now a Senior Assistant Professor in Genomics and Bioinformatics and the Programme Leader for Graduate Studies at UBD’s Institute of Health Sciences where he is working on population genomics and disease (e.g. cancer) genetics. He is also helping to lay the foundation of pharmacogenomics in Brunei.


PhD in Biochemistry (University of Bern, Switzerland)


Comparative Genomics
Infectious Disease
Cancer genetics and genomics


Genetic variation profiling of 100 important pharmacogenes in the Bruneian population

Pharmacogenomics or the associations between genetic traits of individuals and their responses to drugs is believed to hold the key to the solution of low (30 to 60%) pharmaceutical efficacy observed in many of today’s drug treatments. In ASEAN, information pertaining to the prevalence of pharmacogenomic biomarkers is incomplete. Individual case safety reports (adverse effects or drug-related problems) per million population per year range from ~3600 in Singapore to just 9 in Brunei. Therefore, an ASEAN-wide pharmacogenomics consortium has recently been tasked to fill in the gap. As a collaborative project between ASEAN countries and RIKEN (Japan), the initial study will involve the next-generation sequencing of 100 important pharmacogenes in 1000 individuals across the 10 ASEAN nations. In Brunei, DNA from 100 anonymous healthy individuals will be extracted and the 100 pharmcogenes library constructed for sequencing at RIKEN. Genetic variations identified here and those from other ASEAN individuals will aid in the estimation of allelic frequencies of genotypic biomarkers of drug metabolisers. Such information should ultimately provide the important scientific support on the wider implementation of pharmacogenomic screening in Brunei and ASEAN using a customised pharmacogene panel.

Applications Invited
PhD/Master by research

A Genotype Catalogue of (Potential Human Genetic Disorders in) the Southeast Asian Populations

Millions of human genomics variants from different studies have been made publicly available over the last three decades. While many genetic disorders have been identified consequently, much remains undeciphered and yet understanding of these variants is paramount to the realisation of personalised precision medicine. Regrettably, systematic variant data for the majority Austronesian population groups in Southeast Asia have been at best patchy if not upright shortcoming. Our current effort attempts to catalogue all the known genotypes, including their allele frequencies, in this region and link them to reported genetic disorders.

Applications Invited
Final Year Undergraduate or Internship

Google Scholar Citations


Google Scholar h-index


Google Scholar i10-index


1. Chen L, Bi D, Lu ZH, McClafferty H, Shipston MJ. (2017) Distinct domains of the β1-subunit cytosolic N-terminus control surface expression and functional properties of large conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK) channels. J Biol Chem. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Lu Z.H., Wang X., Wilson A.D., Dorey-Robinson D.L.W., Archibald A.L., Ait-Ali T. and Frossard J.P. (2017) Quasispecies evolution of the prototypical genotype 1 porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus early during in vivo infection is rapid and tissue specific. Archive of Virology. [Epub ahead of print]
3. Lu Z.H., Wilson A.D., Wang X., Frossard J.P., Stadejek T., Archibald A.L. and Ait-Ali T. (2015) Complete Genome Sequence of a Pathogenic Genotype 1 Subtype 3 Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (Strain SU1-Bel) from Pig Primary Tissue. Genome Announcements 3:e00340
4. Lu Z.H., Archibald A.L. and Ait-Ali T. (2014) Beyond the whole genome consensus: Unravelling of PRRSV phylogenomics using next generation sequencing technologies. Virus Research. 194:167
5. Lu Z.H., Brown A., Wilson A., Calvert J., Balasch M., Fuentes-Utrilla P., Loecherbach J., Turner F., Talbot R. Archibald A.L. and Ait-Ali T. (2014) Genomic variation in macrophage-cultured European porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus Olot/91 revealed using ultra-deep next generation sequencing. Virology Journal. 11:42


1. Lu Z.H., Archibald A.L. and Ait-Ali T. (2014) Beyond the whole genome consensus: Unravelling of PRRSV phylogenomics using next generation sequencing technologies. Virus Research. 194:167
2. Lu Z.H., di Domenico A., Wright S.H., Knight P.A., Whitelaw C.B.A. and Pemberton A.D. (2011), Strain-specific copy number variation in the intelectin locus on the 129 mouse chromosome 1. BMC Genomics. 12:110
3. Soldati G., Lu Z. H., Vaughan L., Polkinghorne A., Zimmermann D., Huder J. and Pospischil A.. (2004), Detection of mycobacteria and Chlamydia in granulomatous inflammation of reptiles: a retrospective study. Veterinary Pathology. 41, 388-397
4. Lu Z.H. & Solioz M. (2001), Copper Induced Proteolysis of the CopZ Copper Chaperone of Enterococcus hirae. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 276, 47822-7


Zen LU (PI) et. al. Genetic variation profiling of 100 important pharmacogenes in the Bruneian population. UBD Competitive Research Grant, BND50,000, 2017-2019

Industry, Institute, or Organisation Collaboration

1. Ongoing collaborative research with colleagues from The Roslin Institute, UK, in comparative genomics and bioinformatics.
2. 1K ASEAN Pharmacogenes Consortium


My research works has thus far been an integral part of advanced animal breeding and welfare programmes.