Elaine Wong

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Elaine Y.M. Wong

BSc, Mphil, PhD (HKU)

Elaine Wong is the Senior Research Fellow at Ear Science Institute Australia and School of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences in Curtin University. She has an appointment as Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Neurological & Neuromuscular Diseases, The University of Western Australia. 

She graduated from the University of Hong Kong in 1999, and she completed a Mphil in 2002 and a PhD in 2006 at the University of Hong Kong. Dr Wong was a visiting scholar in inner ear neurobiology at the University of Iowa in 2008.  She underwent her second post-doctoral training in inner ear developmental and regenerative biology in Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York in 2010-2013. Elaine worked as a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences, HKU in 2013-2017.

Since joining Ear Science in July 2017 she has been involved in inner ear organoids from pluripotent stem cells for patient-specific ear development model, inner ear developmental biology, human and mouse molecular genetics research in ear and hearing therapy. Her research interest includes understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms in human deafness and regeneration of hair cells in mammalian inner ear; and understanding regulatory networks controlling mammalian complex disease mechanisms underlying hearing and balancing disorders. 

The Wong’s laboratory uses human and mouse genetic approaches, including conditional gene targeting and inducible expression systems to elucidate key molecular pathways involved in different aspects of inner ear development. She is currently working on the Human pluripotent stem cell differentiation to inner ear tissue for Usher syndrome model. This project is funded by the Stan & Jean Perron Charitable Foundation and started on 2018-2021 to support “the Stan & Jean Perron cure hearing loss team to perform Human pluripotent stem cell differentiation to inner ear tissue for Usher syndrome model’.

Her laboratory also focuses on studying the roles of the transcription factors in the regeneration of hair cells in inner ears. The project is currently supported by The Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation Australia and started on April 2018. The long-term goal is to develop therapies for prevention, repair and regeneration in human deafness. 

Dr Wong’s research has attracted over $1.5 million in research funding from Australian, Hong Kong and China government and industry. She has developed active collaboration with various institutions including Lions Eye Institute, Perth; University of Newcastle in Australia; Peking Union Medical College and Southern University of Science and Technology in China; The University of Hong Kong.

Top publications:

Zhang, H., Wang, L., Wong, E.Y., Tsang, S.L., Xu, P.X., Lendahl, U. and Sham, M.H. (2017) An Eya1-Notch axis specifies bipotential epibranchial differentiation in mammalian craniofacial morphogenesis. eLife, 6, e30126.

Wong, E.Y., Xu, C.Y., Brahmachary, M. and Xu, P.X. (2016) A novel ENU-induced mutation in Myo6 causes vestibular dysfunction and deafness. PLoS ONE, 11, e0154984. 

Xu, J., Wong, E.Y., Cheng, C.M., Li, J., Sharkar, M.T., Xu, C.Y., Chen, B., Sun, J., Jing, D. and Xu, P.X. (2014) Eya1 interacts with Six2 and Myc to regulate expansion of nephron progenitor pool during nephrogenesis. Developmental Cell, 31, 434-447. 

Wong, E.Y.* Ahmed, M. and Xu, P.X.* (2013) EYA1-SIX1 complex in neurosensory cell fate induction in the mammalian inner ear. Hearing Research, 297, 13-19 (*Co-corresponding author)

Ahmed, M., Wong, E.Y., Xu, J., Wang, F. and Xu, P.X. (2012) Eya1-Six1 interaction is sufficient to induce hair cell fate in the cochlea by activating Atoh1 expression in cooperation with Sox2. Developmental Cell, 22, 377-390. (Recommended by FACULTY OF 1000)

Wong, E.Y., Wang, X.A., Mak, S.S., Sae-Pang, J.J., Ling, K.W., Fritzsch, B. and Sham, M.H. (2011) Hoxb3 negatively regulates Hoxb1 expression in mouse hindbrain patterning. Developmental Biology, 352, 382-392.