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Ooi Eng Eong

Professor

Deputy Director, Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme

Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, National University of Singapore

Professor, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Co-director, Viral Research And Experimental Medicine Centre @SingHealth Duke-NUS (ViREMiCS)

Email

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 concurrent appointment in the SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute, as well as joint Professorships at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, both 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.

 

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.

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.

Chan KR, Wang X, Saron WA, Gan ES, Tan HC, Mok DL, Zhang SL, Lee YH, Liang C, Wijaya L, Ghosh S, Cheung YB, Tannenbaum SR, Abraham SN, St John AL, Low JG and Ooi EE (2016). Cross-reactive antibodies enhance live attenuated virus infection for increased immunogenicity. Nat Microbiol, 1:16164.

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.

Wilder-Smith A, Ooi EE, Horstick O, Wills B (2019). Dengue. Lancet 393:350-63.

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.

Ong EZ, Chan YZF, Leong WY, Lee NMY, Kalimuddin S, Haja Mohideen, SM, Chan KS, Tan A, Bertoletti A, Ooi EE*, Low JG* (2020). A dynamic immune response shapes COVID-19 disease progression and resolution. Cell Host Microbe, 27:879-882.e2. *Co-corresponding authors.

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 Reports, 31:107617.