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Hsin-Chih Lai

Hsin-Chih Lai

Highest Degree

Ph. D. Depatment of Pathology, Cambridge University, UK

Areas of Specialty

Infection, Inflammation and Molecular Immunology

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Research website:


Lab & Research Interest

Host innate immunity, cancer metastasis and inflammasomes

Current evidences indicate that chronic inflammation and infection are major causes of cancer. Chronic inflammation is also closely associated with tumor development and progression. The underlying mechanism of inflammation, together with the role of inflammation on host innate immunity and cancer cells metastasis are being studied. Bacteria and their components, and various natural compounds are evaluated to see their effect on modulation of inflammation and apoptosis of cancer cells. In vitro andin vivo assays are used to unravel the signaling and role of inflammasomes on cancer cells metastasis.

Bacterial cell-cell communication 

Bacteria communicate with each other or the environment through quorum sensing systems and two-component systems. Such communications are closely related with bacterial multicellular behavior, virulence expression and pathogenesis. What are the signals perceived by bacterial cells and how signals are transferred to within the bacterial cells are our main interests.

Cancer stem cells

Side population (SP) cells have been isolated from several solid tumors. Increasing evidences suggest that they may play an important role in tumorigenesis and difficulty encountered in cancer therapy. Recently SP cells having cancer stem cell (CSC) characteristics in vitro were isolated from nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cell lines, A strong tumorigenesis ability of SP cells following in vivo transplantation into nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient mice was observed. Besides, SP cells were found to be more resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Thus NPC CSC might be developed as a novel target for effective clinical treatment of NPC. We aim at further characterization of NPC CSC. The results obtained will aid the development of novel therapeutic strategies and efficient drugs against NPC.

Biosensors development

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and non-tuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) infections are a major problem encountered in clinical treatment. Rapid diagnosis is essential for treatment of patients. Use of biosensors techniques for rapid diagnosis of bacterial infection is currently being studied for direct and clinical applications.


  1. H. C. Lai*, P. C. Soo, J. R. Wei, W. C. Yi, S. J. Liaw, Y. T. Horng, S. M. Lin, S. W. Ho, S. Swift, and P. Williams. 2005 May. The RssAB Two-Component signal transduction system in Serratia marcescens regulates swarming motility and cell envelope architecture in response to exogenous saturated fatty acids. J. Bacteriol. 187(10):3407-3414.
  2. J. R. Wei, , Y. H. Tsai, P. C. Soo, Y. T. Horng, S. C. Hsieh, S. W. Ho, and H. C. Lai*. 2005 Aug. Biochemical characterization of RssA-RssB, a two-component signal transduction system regulating swarming behavior in Serratia marcescens. J. Bacteriol. 187(16):5683-5690.
  3. P. C. Soo, J. R. Wei, Y. T. Horng, S. C. Hsieh, S. W. Ho, and H. C. Lai*. 2005 Sep. Characterization of the dapA-nlpB genetic locus involved in regulation of swarming motility, cell envelope architecture, hemolysin production and cell attachment ability in Serratia marcescens. Infect. Immun. 73(9):6075-6084.
  4. J. R. Wei, Y. H. Tsai, P. C. Soo, Y. T. Horng, S. C. Hsieh, P. R. Hsueh, J. T. Horng, P. Williams, and H. C. Lai*. 2006 Feb. A mobile quorum sensing system in Serratia marcescens. J. Bacteriol. 188(4):1518-1525.
  5. P. C. Soo, Y. T. Horng, P. R. Hsueh, B. J. Shen, J. Y. Wang, H. H. Tu, S. C. Hsieh, J. R. Wei, C. C. Huang, andH. C. Lai*. 2006 Mar. Direct and Simultaneous Identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) by Rapid Multiplex nested PCR-ICT assay. Journal of Microbiological Methods. 66(3):440-448.
  6. J. R. Wei and H. C. Lai*. 2006 Apr. N-Acylhomoserine lactone-dependent cell-to-cell communication and social behaviour in the genus Serratia. Int. J. Med. Microbiol. 296(2-3):117-124. Review.
  7. H. M. Wu, Y. M. Wang, M. F. Yen, J. M. Wong, H. C. Lai, J. Warwick and H. H. Chen. 2006 May. Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Colorectal Cancer Screening with Stool DNA Testing in Intermediate-Incidence Countries. BMC Cancer. 6:136.
  8. Y. T. Horng, P. C. Soo, B. J. Shen, Y. L. Hung, K. Y. Lo, H. P. Su, J. R. Wei, S. C. Hsieh, P. R. Hsueh, H. C. Lai*. 2006 Jun. Development of an improved PCR-ICT hybrid assay for direct detection of Legionellae and Legionella pneumophila from cooling tower water specimens. Water Research. 40(11):2221-2229.
  9. J. R. Wei, P. C. Soo, Y. T. Horng, S. C. Hsieh, Y. H. Tsai, S. Swift, H. Withers, P. Williams, H. C. Lai*. 2006. Regulatory roles of spnT, a novel gene located within transposon TnTIR. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 348(3):1038-46.
  10. W. B. Wang, H. C. Lai, P. R. Hsueh, R. Y. Chiou, S. B. Lin, S. J. Liaw. 2006. Inhibition of swarming and virulence factor expression in Proteus mirabilis by resveratrol. J Med Microbiol. 55:1313-21.
  11.  P. C. Soo, Y. T. Horng, M. J. Lai, J. R. Wei, S. C. Hsieh, Y. L. Chang, Y. H. Tsai1 and H. C. Lai*. 2007. Pirin regulates pyruvate catabolism through interaction with the pyruvate dehydrogenase E1 subunit and modulating pyruvate dehydrogenase activity. Journal of Bacteriology. 2007 Jan. 189(1):109-118.
  12. Wang JY, Lee LN, Lai HC, Hsu HL, Jan IS, Yu CJ, Hsueh PR, Yang PC. 2007 Performance assessment of the Capilia TB assay and the BD ProbeTec ET system for rapid culture confirmation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. Sep 17; [Epub ahead of print]
  13. Wang JY, Lee LN, Lai HC, Wang SK, Jan IS, Yu CJ, Hsueh PR, Yang PC. Fluoroquinolone resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates: associated genetic mutations and relationship to antimicrobial exposure. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2007 May;59(5):860-5. Epub 2007 Apr 5.
  14. Shang-Chen Hsieh, Chia-Chen Lu, Yu-Tze Horng, Po-Chi Soo, Yung-Lin Chang, Yu-Huan Tsai, Chuan-Sheng Lin, Jan-Kan Chen, Hsin-Chih Lai*. 2007 The bacterial metabolite 2,3-butanediol ameliorates endotoxin-induced acute lung injury in rats. Microbes and Infection. 9(12-13):1402-9. Epub 2007 Jul 17.
  15. Chen LS, Liao CS, Chang SH, Lai HC, Chen TH. 2007. Cost-effectiveness analysis for determining optimal cut-off of immunochemical faecal occult blood test for population-based colorectal cancer screening (KCIS16). J Med Screen. 14(4):191-9.
  16. Wang JY, Lee LN, Lai HC, Hsu HL, Liaw YS, Hsueh PR, Yang PC. 2007. Prediction of the tuberculosis reinfection proportion from the local incidence. J Infect Dis. 196(2):281-8. Epub 2007 Jun 4.
  17. Tang WF, Yang SY, Wu BW, Jheng JR, Chen YL, Shih CH, Lin KH, Lai HC, Tang P, Horng JT. 2007. Reticulon 3 binds the 2C protein of enterovirus 71 and is required for viral replication. J Biol Chem. 23;282(8):5888-98. Epub 2006 Dec 20.
  18. Lu CC, Lai HC*, Hsieh SC, Chen JK. 2008. Resveratrol ameliorates Serratia marcescens-induced acute pneumonia in rats. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. (Epub Jan). 83(4):1028-37. Epub 2008 Jan 3.
  19. Soo PC, Horng YT, Wei JR, Shu JC, Lu CC, and Lai HC* 2008 Regulation of swarming motility and flhDCSm expression by RssAB signaling in Serratia marcescens. J. Bacteriol. 190(7):2496-504. (Epub Jan).
  20. Huang, Guan-Jhong; Lai, Hsin-Chih*; Chen, Hsien-Jung; Chang, Yuan; Sheu, Ming-Jyh; Lin, Yaw-Huei. 2008. Antimicrobial, dehydroascorbate reductase and monodehydroascorbate activities of defensin from sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam. 'Tainong 57') storage roots. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Apr 5. [Epub ahead of print]
  21. Soo PC, Horng YT, Fu YH, Lu CC, Lai HC*. 2008. A potential acyltransferase regulates swarming in Serratia marcescens. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 371(3):462-7. Epub 2008 Apr 28.
  22. Chia-Chen Lu and Hsin-Chih Lai* 2008. Current dilemma and developments in diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. J Formos Med Assoc. 107(5):353-4.
  23. Shu CC, Lee CH, Wang JY, Jerng JS, Yu CJ, Hsueh PR, Lee LN, Yang PC; the TAMI group. 2008 Nontuberculous mycobacteria pulmonary infection in medical intensive care unit: the incidence, patient characteristics, and clinical significance. Intensive Care Med. 2008 Jul 22. [Epub ahead of print].
  24. Wu TL, Chia JH, Kuo AJ, Su LH, Wu TS, Lai HC*. Rapid Identification of Mycobacteria from Smear Positive Sputum Samples by Nested PCR-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis. J Clin Microbiol. 2008 Sep 3. [Epub ahead of print]
  25. Po-Chi Soo; Yu-Tze Horng; Kai-Chih Chang; Jann-Yuan Wang; Po-Ren Hsueh; Chun-Yu Chuang; Chia-Chen Lu;Hsin-Chih Lai* 2009 A simple Gold Nanoparticle Probes assay for identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex from Clinical Specimens. Mol Cell Probes (2009 Oct;23(5):240-6. Epub 2009 May 20).
  26. Lin MT, Wang JY, Yu CJ, Lee LN, Yang PC; TAMI Group. Mycobacterium tuberculosis and polymorphonuclear pleural effusion: incidence and clinical pointers. Respir Med. 2009 Jun;103(6):820-6.
  27. Ting-Shu Wu, Chia-Chen Lu and Hsin-Chih Lai* 2009 Current Situations on Identification of Nontuberculous Mycobacteria. J Biomed Lab Sci (in Press).
  28. Ting-Shu Wu, Hsieh-Shong Leu, Cheng-Hsun Chiu, Ming-Hsun Lee, Ping-Cherng Chiang, Tsu-Lan Wu, Ju-Hsin Chia, Lin-Hui Su, An-Jing Kuo, Hsin-Chih Lai*. The clinical manifestations, antibiotic susceptibility and molecular analysis of Mycobacterium kansasii isolates from a university hospital in Taiwan. J Antimicro Chemother (2009 Sep;64(3):511-4. Epub 2009 Jul 7.).
  29. Po-Chi Soo, Yu-Tze Horng, Yung-Lin Chang, Wei-Wen Tsai, Kai-Chih Chang, Chia-Chen Lu and Hsin-Chih Lai*. ManA bridges glucose and mannose metabolism pathway which individually and additively regulates Serratia marcescens swarming. (submitted for publication).
  30. Chuan-Cheng Lin, Yu Huan Tsai, Jwu-Han Tsai, Chia-Chen Lu and Hsin-Chih Lai*. RssAB-FlhDC-ShlBA Dominantly Controls Serratia marcescens Pathogenesis. (in preparation).
  31. Po-Chi Soo, Yu-Tze Horng, Yung-Lin Chang, Wei-Wen Tsai, Kai-Chih Chang, Chia-Chen Lu and Hsin-Chih Lai*. RssAB negatively controls production of prodigiosin synthesis in Serratia marcescens. (in submission).