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


A biochemist by trade but because of necessity and interest, Dr Lu has ventured into the fields of microbial bioinformatics and later animal and human genomics/bioinformatics nearly two decades ago. In addition to his background in molecular aspects of pathogen-host interaction, Dr Lu’s expertise in bioinformatics focuses mainly on the analysis of big genomic data, such as whole genome mapping and assembly for disease variant discovery. He was a research fellow in Bioinformatics and a permanent Biocomputing Support at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK for about 10 years before moving to Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) in mid-2015. He is currently a Senior Assistant Professor in Genomics & Bioinformatics at both the Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) and the recently formed Institute of Applied Data Analytics, UBD. He is also serving as the Programme Leader for Graduate Studies at IHS and Head of Bioinformatics at the UBD Biomedical Genomics Core Laboratory. His research now is focusing on medical genomics, particularly that related to population and disease (cancer, rare genetic diseases and pharmacogenomics) genomics.


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


1. Chumnumwat S, Lu ZH, Sukasem C, Winther MD, Capule FR, Hamid AAA, et al (2019) Southeast Asian Pharmacogenomics Research Network (SEAPharm): Current Status and Perspectives. Public Health Genomics, 22:132–139.
2. L Sutherland, M Ruhe, D Gattegno-Ho, K Mann, J Greaves, M Koscielniak, S Meek, ZH Lu, M Waterfall, R Taylor, A Tsakiridis, H Brown, SK Maciver, A Joshi, M Clinton, LH Chamberlain, A Smith, T Burdon (2018) LIF-dependent survival of embryonic stem cells is regulated by a novel palmitoylated Gab1 signalling protein. 131: jcs222257
3. 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. 292:8694-8704
4. 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. 162:2203–2210
5. Idris A, Hasnain SZ, LU ZK, Koh D (2017) Human diseases, immunity and the oral microbiota—Insights gained from metagenomic studies. Oral Science International. 14:27-32


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


1. LU ZH (PI) & Abd Ghani bin Hj Naim. Development of Bioinformatics Infrastructure for Biomedical Genomics Research at IADA/IHS. IADA FIC Allied Grant, UBD, BND18,516, 2020
2. LU ZH (co-PI) et. al. Start-up funding for Biomedical Genomics Core Lab. IHS FIC Allied Grant, UBD, BND79,988 (Total sum of 2 grants). 2020
3. Zen LU (PI) et. al. Genetic variation profiling of 100 important pharmacogenes in the Bruneian population. UBD Competitive Research Grant, BND50,000, 2017-2021.

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.