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Institute of Dentistry - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Dr Muy-Teck Teh, BSc (Hons.), PhD, FHEA.


Senior Lecturer in Head and Neck Cancer

Telephone: +44 (0) 207 882 7140
Room Number: 1WDA-4, First Floor, Blizard Building


Dr Muy-Teck Teh pursued his Biomedical Science degree (B.Sc. Hons, 1996) followed by a PhD in Physiology (2000) at King’s College London. Following two postdoctoral training funded by the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK, he is currently a tenured Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Head and Neck Cancer at Barts & the London School of Medicine & Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, leading a transnational research group investigating cancer biomarker discovery, molecular diagnostics, molecular reprogramming of adult epithelial stem cell renewal, differentiation, and senescence. He aims to translate basic science into clinical applications and towards personalised medicine based on molecular signatures. Dr Teh has international collaborators from USA, Norway, Switzerland, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and China on clinical translation of the world’s first FOXM1-based digital squamous cancer test – “qMIDS” for quantitative cancer diagnosis and prognosis.
Dr Teh is also involved in the Barts Centre for Squamous Cancer which is a cross-institute collaborative centre at QMUL, bringing together research groups with diverse expertise from across the School of Medicine and Dentistry to tackle the problem of squamous cancer and drive clinical innovation.


Dr Teh has been involved in teaching and administration at QMUL since 2005. He is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy in recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and learning support in higher education. 

Dr Teh is involved in undergraduate (BDS, BSc, intercalated BSc) and postgraduate (MSc, DClinDent, PhD) teaching within Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. In addition, he is involved in the development of each course curriculum, student feedbacks / reflection, and improvement of the lecture courses, setting exam questions, marking exam scripts and individual student support. 


Research Interests:

Dr Teh identified and delineated the mechanism of a key driver oncogene FOXM1 in human cancer which subsequently led to the Molecule of the Year 2010 Award. He later pioneered the world first FOXM1-based digital molecular cancer test - "quantitative malignancy diagnostic system (qMIDS)" for early detection oral cancer risk. The qMIDS test has been validated on several hundreds of oral cancer patients from UK, Norway, China and India with highly accurate results (>90%) compared to conventional histopathology. The qMIDS test requires only a tiny 1 mm (a grain of rice) tissue biopsy and test results could be obtained within 90 mins by measuring 16 genes to produce a malignancy index via an algorithm. The qMIDS test may potentially revolutionise oral cancer diagnosis in the future by providing a cost-effective, fully automated, high-throughput, rapid, quantitative, digital diagnostic system for managing ever increasing population of patients with oral lesions. Rapid segregation and release of majority (>90%) of low risk patients from surveillance whilst channelling funding and resources to treat high-risk patients will result in long-term benefits for both the patients and healthcare establishments.

His current research aims to identify exosome biomarkers for developing non-invasive salivary or blood-based diagnostic tests. New molecular signatures were found to characterise a clinically distinct UK population of oral cancer patients that may be predisposed to therapeutic resistance. Using a three-dimensional (3D) culture and xenograft tumour models, a novel mechanism regulated by FOXM1 was found to promote aberrant differentiation in squamous differentiation. He further discovered the squamous differentiation mechanism could be perturbed by serum lipids, retinoic acid and phenol red, raised important issues with using cell culture models. Using in vitro and in vivo mouse models, a new target tumour suppressor gene RASSF1A was found to be regulated via a YAP pathway in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells.

Tobacco is a risk factor for oral cancer - recent discovery using a zebrafish model identified a genetic locus (Slit3) regulates nicotine addiction in human could lead to new ways to prevent or treat tobacco addiction thereby eliminating a key risk factor for many cancers.

Molecular Pattern Recognition in Pre-Cancer Cells - all cellular processes are tightly regulated by a complex network of interacting biomolecules. Given that mRNA transcription precedes protein translation, change in gene expression levels often precedes visible pathological manifestation. Hence, transcriptome instability in the form of gene expression alterations serves as key signals for subsequent disease initiation and manifestation. Dr Teh hypothesised that if we could recognise and measure cancer-associated transcriptome instability, this could enable better understanding of cancer initiation and smarter way to predict cancer risk in otherwise asymptomatic patients. With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), this study could be translated into a clinically useful clinical AI tool for risk prediction before disease manifestation.

Molecular Patterns of Therapeutic Resistance in Cancer Cells. Multidrug resistance renders chemotherapeutic treatment failure in large proportion of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients requiring multimodal therapy involving chemotherapy in conjunction with surgery and/or radiotherapy. Molecular events conferring chemoresistance remain unclear. This project investigates a number of chemical, biological and physical strategies for targeting molecular vulnerabilities of chemoresistant cancer cells whilst sparing non-cancer cells. A large panel of chemical library consisting of synthetic and natural compounds will be screened using human cell culture models. We aim to identify the most potent multimodal anticancer therapy with the least toxicity to prevent or reverse chemoresistance in HNSCC patients.


  1. Qadir F, Aziz MA, Sari CP, Ma H, Dai H, Wang X, Raithatha D, Da Silva LGL, Hussain M, Poorkasreiy SP, Hutchison IL, Waseem A, Teh MT: Transcriptome reprogramming by cancer exosomes: identification of novel molecular targets in matrix and immune modulation. Mol Cancer 2018, 17:97. 
  2. Hwang S, Mahadevan S, Qadir F, Hutchison IL, Costea DE, Neppelberg E, Liavaag PG, Waseem A, Teh MT: Identification of FOXM1-induced epigenetic markers for head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Cancer 2013, 119:4249-4258. 
  3. Teh MT, Hutchison IL, Costea DE, Neppelberg E, Liavaag PG, Purdie K, Harwood C, Wan H, Odell EW, Hackshaw A, Waseem A: Exploiting FOXM1-orchestrated molecular network for early squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis and prognosis. Int J Cancer 2013, 132:2095-2106. 
  4. Gemenetzidis E, Elena-Costea D, Parkinson EK, Waseem A, Wan H, Teh MT: Induction of human epithelial stem/progenitor expansion by FOXM1. Cancer Res 2010, 70:9515-9526. 
  5. Blaydon DC, Ishii Y, O'Toole EA, Unsworth HC, Teh MT, Ruschendorf F, Sinclair C, Hopsu-Havu VK, Tidman N, Moss C, Watson R, de Berker D, Wajid M, Christiano AM, Kelsell DP: The gene encoding R-spondin 4 (RSPO4), a secreted protein implicated in Wnt signaling, is mutated in inherited anonychia. Nat Genet 2006, 38:1245-1247. 
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