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Ooi Eng Eong



Contact: 65168594

Eng Eong trained in medicine at the University of Nottingham and then completed his PhD studies at the Department of Microbiology, National University of Singapore. He holds a joint Professorship at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, at the National University of Singapore. He co-directs the Viral Research and Experimental Medicine Centre at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre (ViREMiCS), which aims to develop molecular endpoints for use in viral disease therapeutic and vaccine trials. He received the Clinician-Scientist (Senior Investigator) Award by the National Medical Research Council of Singapore, in 2010, 2014 and 2019. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Science Translational Medicine and an editorial board member of PLoS Biology.

The global emergence of epidemic dengue and other Aedes-borne flaviviruses is fuelled in part by an incomplete understanding of the determinants of immunity against these viruses and the molecular underpinnings of disease pathogenesis. My laboratory aims to address these critical gaps in knowledge at the interface between clinical epidemiology, virology and immunology. We combine molecular virology and host response investigations with epidemiological investigations and experimental medicine studies, including clinical trials. Specifically, we are interested in elucidating: (1) the mechanisms that govern the clinical and epidemiological fitness of flaviviruses; (2) the immune responses necessary for flaviviral immunity and infection enhancement; and (3) the molecular correlates of clinical outcome of flaviviral infection. By developing deeper understanding in these areas, we hope to contribute to the development of effective vaccines and treatment against dengue and other Aedes-borne flaviviruses. 


Studies on flaviviral infection and vaccines in humans have also enabled us to bring our approach in interfacing bench and bedside research to bear on other viral infections and development of non-flaviviral vaccines. ViREMiCS is thus actively working with both academic and industry partners to develop molecular correlates of safety and efficacy to evaluate novel therapeutics and vaccines, including those for COVID-19.

Selected Publications

Manokaran G, Finol E, Wang C, Gunaratne J, Bahl J, Ong EZ, Tan HC, Sessions OM, Ward AM, Gubler DJ, Harris E, Garcia-Blanco M and Ooi EE (2015). Dengue subgenomic RNA binds TRIM25 to inhibit interferon expression for epidemiological fitness. Science, 350:217-21.

Kwek SS, Watanabe S, Chan KR, Ong EZ, Tan HC, Ng WC, Nguyen MTX, Gan ES, Zhang SL, Chan KWK, Tan JH, Sessions OM, Manuel M, Pompon J, Chua C, Hazirah S, Tryggvason K, Vasudevan SG and Ooi EE (2018). A systematic approach to the development of a safe live attenuated zika vaccine. Nat Commun, 9:1301.

Chan KR, Gan ES, Chan CYY, Liang C, Low JZH, Zhang SL, Ong EZ, Bhatta A, Wijaya L, Lee YH, Low JG, Ooi EE (2019). Metabolic perturbations and cellular stress underpin susceptibility to symptomatic live attenuated yellow fever infection. Nat Med, 25;1218-1224.

Syenina A, Vijaykrishna D, Gan ES, Tan HC, Choy MM, Siriphanitchakorn T, Cheng C, Vasudevan SG, Ooi EE (2020). Positive epistasis between viral polymerase and 3’ untranslated region of its genome reveals epidemiological fitness of dengue virus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 117:11038-11047.

Choy MM, Ng D, Siriphanitchakorn T, Ng WC, Sundstrom KB, Tan HC, Zhang SL, Chan KWK, Manuel M, Kini RM, Chan KR, Vasudevan SG, Ooi EE (2020). A non-structural 1 protein G53D substitution attenuates a clinically-tested live dengue vaccine. Cell Rep, 31:107617.

Gan ES, Tan HC, Thi Le DH, Huynh TT, Wills B, Seidah NG, Ooi EE*, Yacoub S* (2020). Dengue virus induces PCSK9 expression to alter antiviral responses and disease outcomes. J Clin Invest, 130:5223-5234. *Co-corresponding authors.

Low JG, Ng JHJ, Ong EZ, Kalimuddin S, Wijaya L, Chan YFZ, Ng DHL, Tan HC, Baglody A, Chionh YH, Lee DCP, Budigi Y, Sasisekharan R, Ooi EE (2020). Safety and efficacy of a therapeutic anti-yellow fever virus human antibody. N Engl J Med, 383:452-459.

Kalimuddin S, Tham CYL, Qui M, de Alwis R, Sim JXY, Lim JME, Tan HC, Syenina A, Zhang SL, Le Bert N, Tan AT, Leong YS, Yee JX, Ong EZ, Ooi EE*, Bertoletti A, Low JG (2021). Early T cell and binding antibody responses are associated with Covid-19 RNA vaccine efficacy onset. Med, 2:682-688. *Corresponding author.

Yau C, Low JZH, Gan ES, Kwek SS, Cui L, Tan HC, Mok DZL, Chan CYY, Sessions OM, Watanabe S, Vasudevan S, Lee YH, Chan KR, Ooi EE (2021). Dysregulated metabolism underpins Zika virus infection-associated impairment in fetal development. Cell Rep, 37:110118.

Syenina A, Gan ES, Toh JZN, de Alwis R, Lin LZ, Tham CYL, Yee JX, Leong YS, Zam H, Cheong C, The YE, Wee Ile, Ng DHL, Chan KR, Sim JXY, Kalimuddin S, Ong EZ, Low JG, Ooi EE (2022). Adverse effects following anti-COVID-19 vaccination with mRNA-based BNT162b2 are alleviated by altering the route of administration and correlate with baseline enrichment of T and NK cell genes. PLoS Biol, 20:e3001643.