Contact Information  
Address (Office) E12-4011 Chris WONG
(Lab) N22-3003/3004
Phone (Office) 8822 4487
(Lab) 8822 4131
Fax 8822 2314
Ph.D. Department of Genetics, The University of Melbourne, Australia (2007)
BSc (1st Class Hons) Department of Genetics, The University of Melbourne, Australia (2002)
B.Sc. Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne, Australia (2001)
Diploma Biotechnology, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore (1999)
2013-present Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau
2008-2013 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, USA
2007-2008 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Genetics, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Research Interests
My research focuses on two broad aims:

  • To understand how pathogenic fungi cause diseases in humans.
  • To understand how transcription is regulated.

Why study Fungal Pathogenesis?

Fungal pathogens are ubiquitous in the environment, but they usually do not post serious threats to people with a healthy immune system. However, fungal pathogens can cause life-threatening diseases in individuals with a compromised immune system. In recent years, the number of immuno-compromised individuals is escalating as chemotherapy, bone marrow-transplant and organ-transplant therapies are becoming common medical procedures. Prevention and treatment of fungal infections has become a major clinical challenge. The situation is exacerbated by the lack of effective anti-fungal therapies with fatality rates of certain fungal infections being as high as 100%. Therefore, understanding fungal pathogenesis has immense medical implications and will provide valuable information towards development of new effective and life-saving anti-fungal treatments.

Why study Transcription Regulation?

Transcription is an essential molecular process whereby stored biological information is retrieved from the genome of living organisms. Proper and precise control of transcription is of fundamental importance to biology. Defects in this process are linked to many human diseases including cancers. The molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in eukaryotic organisms are remarkably conserved from humans to fungi. In fact, much of our current knowledge of transcription regulation has come from fungal studies. Through studying transcription regulation in fungi, my research aims to provide important new information that is directly relevant to transcription regulatory mechanisms in humans.

Representative Publications
Journal Publications

  • Zhang, B., Lyu, J., Liu, Y., Wu, C., Yang, E.J., Pardeshi, L., Tan, K., Wong, K.H., Chen, Q., Xu, X., Deng C. and Shim, J.S. “BRCA1 deficiency sensitizes breast cancer cells to bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) inhibition” Oncogene 2018;
  • Sun, H., Miao, Z., Zhang, X., Chan, U.I., Su, S.M., Guo, S., Wong, K.H., Xu, X., and Deng. C.X. “Single-cell RNA-Seq reveals cell heterogeneity and hierarchy within mouse mammary epithelia.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 2018; 293(22) 8315–8329.
  • Wang, H., Pardeshi, L.A., Rong, X., Li, E., Wong, K.H., Peng, Y., and Xu, R.H. “Novel variants identified in multiple sclerosis patients from southern China” Frontiers in Neurology 2018; doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.00582.
  • Veri, A.O., Miao, Z., Shapiro, R.S., Tebbji, F., O’Meara, T.R., Kim, S.H., Colazo, J., Tan, K., Vyas, V.K., Whiteway, M., Robbins, N., Wong, K.H., and Cowen L.E. “Tuning Hsf1 levels drives distinct fungal morphogenetic programs with depletion impairing Hsp90 function and overexpression expanding the target space” PLoS Genetics 2018; 14(3): e1007270.
  • Xie, J.L., Qin, L., Miao, Z., Grys, B.T., Diaz, J.D.L.C., Ting, K., Krieger, J.R., Tong, J., Tan, K., Leach, M.D., Ketela, T., Moran, M.F., Krysan, D.J., Boone, C., Andrews, 
 B.J.,  Selmecki, A., Wong, K.H., Robbins, N. and Cowen, L.E. “The Candida albicans Transcription Factor Cas5 Couples Stress Responses, Drug Resistance, and Cell Cycle Regulation.” Nature Communications 2017; 8(1):499.
  • Petrenko, N. *, Jin, Y. *, Wong, K.H. * and Struhl, K. “Evidence that Mediator is essential for Pol II transcription, but is not a required component of the preinitiation complex in vivo.” eLife 2017;6:e28447. (* Equal contribution)
  • Jiang, B., Yan, L., Miao, Z., Li, E.-Q., Wong, K.H. and Xu, R.-H. “Spheroidal formation preserves human stem cells for prolonged time under ambient conditions for facile storage and transportation.” Biomaterials 2017; 133:275-86.
  • Szot, P.S., Yang, A., Wang, X., Parsania, C., Rohm, U., Wong, K.H. and Ho, J.W.K. “PBrowse: a web-based platform for real-time collaborative exploration of genomic data.” Nucleic Acids Research. 2017; 1-8.
  • Petrenko, N. *, Jin, Y. *, Wong, K.H. *#, Struhl, K#. “Mediator undergoes a compositional change during transcriptional activation.” Molecular Cell. 2016; 64(3):443-454. (* Equal contribution; # Corresponding author)
    • Featured in: Malik, S., and Roeder, G.R. “Mediator: A Drawbridge across the Enhancer-Promoter Divide.” Molecular Cell. 2016; 64(3):433-434.
  • Leach, M.D., Farrer, R.A., Tan, K., Miao, Z., Walker, L.A., Cuomo, C.A., Wheeler, R.T., Brown, A.J.P., Wong, K.H., Cowen, L.E.,Hsf1 and Hsp90 orchestrate temperature-dependent global transcriptional remodeling and chromatin architecture in Candida albicans, Nature Communications,7(11704)
  • Wong, K.H. *, Jin, Y. *, and Struhl, K. “TFIIH phosphorylation of the Pol II  CTD stimulates Mediator dissociation from the preinitiation complex and promoter escape.” Molecular Cell. 2014; 54(4): 601-612. (* Equal contribution)
  • Downes, D.J., Davis, M.A., Wong, K.H., Kreutzberger, S.D., Hynes, M.J., and Todd, R.B. “Dual DNA binding and coactivator functions of Aspergillus nidulans TamA, a Zn(II)2Cys6 transcription factor.” Molecular Microbiology. 2014 Apr.
  • Hunter, C.C., Siebert, K.S., Downes, D.J., Wong, K.H., Kreutzberger, S.D., Fraser, J.A., Clarke, D.F., Hynes, M.J., Davis, M.A., and Todd, R.B.  “Multiple Nuclear Localization Signals Mediate Nuclear Localization of the GATA Transcription Factor AreA.” Eukaryotic Cell. 2014; 13(4):527-38.
  • Wong, K.H.*, Jin, Y., and Moqtederi, Z. “Multiplex Illumina sequencing using DNA-barcoding.” Current Protocol in Molecular Biology. 2013; Chapter 7:Unit 7.11. (Invited protocol) (* Corresponding author)
  • Suzuki, Y., Murray, S., Wong, K.H., Davis, M.A., and Hynes, M.J. “Reprogramming of carbon metabolism by the transcriptional activators AcuK and AcuM in Aspergillus nidulans.” Molecular Microbiology. 2012; 84(5):942-64.
  • Wong, K.H., and Struhl, K. “The Cyc8−Tup1 complex inhibits transcription primarily by masking the activation domain of the recruiting protein.” Genes and Development. 2011 Dec 1; 25: 2525-2539.               
    • Featured in: Parnell, E.J., and Stillman, D.J. “Shields up: the Tup1−Cyc8 repressor complex blocks coactivator recruitment.” Genes and Development. 2011; 25: 2429-2435.
  • Tirosh, I.*, Wong, K.H.*, Barkai, N., and Struhl, K. “Extensive divergence of yeast stress responses through transitions between induced and constitutive activation.” PNAS. 2011; 108(40):16693-8. (* Equal contribution)
  • Suk, K., Choi, J., Suzuki, Y., Ozturk, SB., Mellor, JC., Wong, K.H., MacKay, JL., Gregory, R.I., and Roth, F.P. “Reconstitution of human RNA interference in budding yeast.” Nucleic Acids Research. 2011; 39(7):e43. 
  • Fan, X., Geisberg, J.V., Wong, K.H., and Jin, Y., “Conditional depletion of nuclear proteins by the anchor away system.” Current Protocol in Molecular Biology. 2011; Chapter 13:Unit13.10B. (Invited protocol)
  • Wong, K.H., Hynes, M.J., Todd, R.B., and Davis, M.A. “Deletion and overexpression of the Aspergillus nidulans GATA factor AreB reveals unexpected pleiotropy.” Microbiology. 2009; 155(Pt 12):3868-80.
  • Wong, K.H., Hynes, M.J., and Davis, M.A. “Recent advances in nitrogen regulation: a comparison between yeast and filamentous fungi.” Mini-review. Eukaryotic Cell. 2008; 7(6):917-925.
  • Wong, K.H., Todd, R.B., Oakley, B.R., Oakley, C.E, Hynes, M.J., and Davis, M.A. “Sumoylation in Aspergillus nidulans: sumO inactivation, overexpression and live-cell imaging.” Fungal Genetics and Biology. 2008; 45:728-737.
  • Wong, K.H., Hynes, M.J., Todd, R.B., and Davis, M.A. “Transcriptional control of nmrA by the bZIP transcription factor MeaB reveals a new level of nitrogen regulation in Aspergillus nidulans.” Molecular Microbiology. 2007; 66(2):534-551.
  • Todd, R.B., Fraser, J.A., Wong K.H., Davis, M.A., and Hynes, M.J. “Nuclear accumulation of the GATA factor AreA in response to complete nitrogen starvation by regulation of nuclear export. Eukaryotic Cell. 2005; 4(10): 1646-1653. 

Book Chapter

  • Davis, M.A. and Wong K.H. “Chapter 23: Nitrogen Metabolism in Filamentous Fungi.” In: Cellular and Molecular Biology of Filamentous Fungi edited by Borkovich, Katherine A. and Ebbole, Daniel J. © 2010 American Society for Microbiology (ASM). (Invited book chapter)
2013 Marine Biological Laboratory Scholarship, Marine Biological Laboratory, USA
2009-2010 Croucher Postdoctoral Fellowship,The Croucher Foundation, Hong Kong
2003-2006 International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS), The Australian Government
2003-2006 Melbourne International Research Scholarships (MIRS), The University of Melbourne, Australia
2001-2003 Howitt Natural History Scholarship, The University of Melbourne, Australia
2003 The Department of Genetics Postgraduate Scholarship, The University of Melbourne, Australia
2002 The Department of Genetics Honours Scholarship, The University of Melbourne, Australia
2002 Dean’s Honour List – B.Sc.(Hons), Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Professional Activities
  • Member of the Genetics Society of America