Elaine Wong


  • The University of Western Australia (M507), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


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 Ear Sciences Centre, Division of Surgery, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, 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 the age-related hearing loss, Human Branchio-oto-renal syndrome and Usher syndrome.

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.

Research Interest

Her research focuses on understanding the potential of hair cell regeneration to address hearing impairment in Usher syndrome and develop a new therapeutic treatment for deafness in humans.

(1) Using Usher patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to generate human inner ear and retinal organoids and study the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms in hearing loss for inner ear cell therapies by using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing techniques;

(2) Sensory hair cells, supporting cells and neuronal differentiation by using human cell and animal models for studying regenerative cell biology in the inner ears;

(3) Genetic, molecular and cellular causes of vestibular balancing and hearing loss and their treatment.

Using 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.

Techniques involve human induced pluripotent stem cell, inner ear organoid culture, multiphoton confocal live cell imaging and confocal microscopy, gene manipulation in mouse embryos and cochlea tissues by CRISPR/Cas9 to generate loss-of-function system or overexpressing the target gene for gain-of-function system, flow cytometry, high resolution electron microscopy SEM, ultrastructural localization of the proteins involved in the stereocilia bundle at the top of sensory hair cells in the organ of Corti, quantitative PCR, coimmunoprecipitation CoIP, single cell RNA sequencing, ChIP sequencing and bioinformatics analyses.

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Developmental Biology, Doctor of Philosophy PhD, Hoxb3 regulates inner ear, craniofacial and hindbrain patterning

Molecular Biology, Master of Philosophy MPhil, VCY2 interacts with Ubiquitin ligase E3 in controlling cell division

Biotechnology and Biology, Bachelor of Science, Biology and Biotechnology

External positions

Senior Research Fellow, Curtin University

1 Jul 2017 → …

Senior Research Fellow, Ear Science Institute Australia

1 Jul 2017 → …

Industry keywords

  • Biotechnology
  • Drug Discovery

Research expertise keywords

  • Stem cell and cell therapy
  • Genetic therapies
  • Hearing and deafness
  • Developmental neuroscience
  • Drug delivery


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