Staff profile - Steve Cheung

Dr Steve Cheung

Position: Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Science Engineering & Built Environment
Department: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 92446110 +61 3 92446110



Dr Cheung obtained his Ph.D. in 1993 from the University of Melbourne. His postdoctoral studies were undertaken at Monash University. He began his teaching career (2001-2007) at the National University of Singapore. On his return to Australia he joined the Menzies Research Institute as a Principal Research Fellow, and then joined Deakin University in 2011 (June) as an academic teaching staff. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles and achieved >2400 total career citations with h-index of 27. His research is currently supported by NH&MRC. Dr Cheung’s research interests centre on the brain injury mechanisms and the identification of novel genes involved in acute and chronic neurodegeneration. Neurodegenerative conditions of the central nervous system continue to have a tremendous impact on Australian society. Excitotoxic neuronal injury is well documented to be a disease mechanism contributing to the pathobiology of stroke (hypoxic-ischaemic injury), traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's and motoneurone diseases. Excitotoxic neuronal injury occurs because the extracellular concentration of L-glutamate reaches toxic levels and there is overactivation of ionotropic glutamate receptors. This subsequently leads to inflammatory responses, oxidative damage and eventual neuronal death. Since 2003 his research group has continued to use microarray and proteomics to search for molecular markers and cellular signalling pathways that may be useful diagnostically or therapeutically in neurodegenerative diseases. Currently his group is investigating the role of cell cycle-associated protein kinase in excitotoxic neuronal death. Targeted gene delivery into primary cerebral cortical neurons using lentiviral vector mediated overexpression and knockdown functional studies is employed in his research study.


Subjects and units currently teaching

SLE321 Molecular Biology Techniques
SLE323 Advanced Topics in Biomedical Science

Knowledge areas

Cell and Molecular Biology of neuronal cell death
Microarray and proteomics


Research projects

The role of cell cycle-associated protein kinase in stroke and traumatic brain injury.
Molecular mechanisms of neuronal death in Niemann–Pick disease type C.

Research grants

NHMRC Grants

2002-2004:        “Mitochondria, reactive oxygen species and neuronal apoptosis: cellular, molecular and  pharmacological approaches” (Nagley P, Beart PM & Cheung NS; AUS$135,000 p/a) ID # 194323 - incorporated into Programme Grant.

2008-2010:        “Deciphering how PTEN phosphatase mediates excitotoxic neuronal death” (Cheng HC& Cheung NS; AUS$166,250 p/a) ID # 509146.

2009-2011:       “How amyloid causes neurodegeneration: the role of transthyretin in familial amyoidotic polyneuropathy” (Small DH, Parkington HC, Cheung NS, Aguilar MI & Coleman HA; AUS$198,125 p/a) ID # 544920.

2009-2011:       “How does the LRP receptor megalin promote regenerative neuronal growth?” (Chung RS, West AK, Gell D & Cheung NS; AUS$129,250 p/a) ID # 544913.

2012-2014:       “Aurora kinase: molecular, cellular and functional studies deciphering its role in stroke injury?” (Cheung NS; AUS$189,965 p/a) ID # 1023646.



Choy, M.S., Chen, M.J., Manikandan, J.,  Peng, Z.F., Jenner, A.M.,  Melendez, A.J. and  Cheung, N.S. (2010) Up-regulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress-related genes during the early phase of treatment of cultured cortical neurons by the proteasomal inhibitor lactacystin.  Journal of Cellular Physiology, 226(2):494-510. (IF = 4.586).

Chew, J., Chen, M.J., Lee, A., Peng, Z.F., Bay, B.H., Ng, J.M., Qi, R.Z. and Cheung, N.S. (2010) Identification of p10 as a neurotoxic product generated from the proteolytic cleavage of the neuronal Cdk5 activator, Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 111:1359-1366. (IF = 2.935).

Yap, Y.W., Chen, M.J., Choy, M.S., Peng, Z.F., Whiteman, M., Manikandan, J., Melendez, A.J. and Cheung, N.S. (2010) Temporal transcriptomic profiling revealed cellular targets that govern survival in HOCl-mediated neuronal apoptosis, Life Sciences, 87:457-467. (IF = 2.560).

Chen, M.J., Peng, Z.F., Manikandan, J., Melendez, A., Li, Q.T., Tan, G.S., Chung, M.C., Li, Q.T., Tan, T.M., Deng, L.W., Whiteman, M., Beart, P.M., Moore, P.K., Cheung, N.S. (2011) Gene profiling reveals hydrogen sulphide recruits death signaling via the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor identifying commonalities with excitotoxicity, Journal of Cellular Physiology, 226(5):1308-1322. (IF = 4.586).

Chong, K.W., Chen, M.J., Koay, E.S., Wong, B.S., Lee, A.Y., Russo-Marie, F. and Cheung, N.S. (2010)  Annexin A3 is associated with cell death in lactacystin-mediated neuronal injury, Neuroscience Letters, 485:129-133. (IF = 1.925).

Chen, M.J., Soo, P.C., Choy, M.S., Peng, Z.F., Cheng, H.C. and Cheung, N. S. (2011) Calpains-mediated PTEN cleavage in excitotoxic neuronal death, Journal of Biochemistry - Molecular Biology at the Post-Genomic Era, 1(1):  13 – 28.

Peng, Z.F., Chen, M.J., Manikandan, J., Melendez, A.J., Shui, G., Russo-Marie, F., Beart, P.M., Moore, P.K. and Cheung, N.S. (2011) Multifaceted role of nitric oxide in an in vitro mouse neuronal injury model: transcriptomic profiling defines the temporal recruitment of death signaling cascades, Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 16 1  41 - 58 (IF = 4.608).

Chen, M.J., Ng, J.M., Peng, Z.F. and Cheung, N.S. (2011). Witnessing the mechanistic insights of neuronal apoptosis from a global transcriptomic view: Comparative microarray analysis of multiple neurodegenerative models: Neuronal Cell Apoptosis. New York, Nova Science Publishers.

Chen, M.J., Wong, C.H., Peng, Z.F., Manikandan, J.,  Melendez, A.J., Tan, T.M., Crack, P.J. and Cheung, N.S. (2011) A global transcriptomic view of the multifaceted role of Glutathione Peroxidase-1 in cerebral ischemic-reperfusion injury, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 50(6):736-748. (IF = 6.081).

Ng, J.M., Chen, M.J., Leung, J.Y., Peng, Z.F., Manikandan, J., Qi, R.Z., Chuah, M.I., West, A.K., Vickers, J.C.,  Lu, J., †Cheung, N.S. and †Chung, R.S. (2011) Transcriptional insights on the regenerative mechanics of axotomized neurons in vitro. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 16(4):789-811. (IF= 4.608). (†Joint Corresponding/Senior author)

Yap YW, Chen MJ, Peng ZF, Manikandan J, Ng JM, Llanos RM, La Fontaine S, Beart PM, Cheung NS (2013) Gene expression profiling of rotenone-mediated cortical neuronal death: evidence for inhibition of ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy-lysosomal pathway, and dysfunction of mitochondrial and calcium signaling. Neurochemistry International. 62(5):653-663.

Chen MJ, Ng JM, Peng ZF, Manikandan J, Yap YW, Llanos RM, Beart PM, Cheung NS. (2013) Gene profiling identifies commonalities in neuronal pathways in excitotoxicity: evidence favouring cell cycle re-activation in concert with oxidative stress. Neurochemistry International. 62(5):719-730.


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