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“The close proximity to the clinic is the most unique aspect of the Center. I have never seen any other research center where researchers have such a regular interaction with the clinicians and easy access to the patient samples.”
- Dr. Jamie Wong, Research Scientist
Dr. Wong joined Tisch MSRCNY as a principal investigator in May 2015, after completing her postdoctoral training at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her research career has been dedicated to studying pathophysiological mechanisms underlying central nervous system (CNS) injury and disorders, with the goal of identifying therapeutic targets to promote CNS regeneration and repair. Dr. Wong’s postdoctoral studies contributed to the elucidation of molecular signaling pathways and epigenetic mechanisms which can be manipulated to improve ischemic injury following stroke, and enhance axon regeneration following spinal cord injury.
At Tisch MSRCNY, Dr. Wong has used her surgical expertise to develop a novel animal model for primary progressive MS (PPMS), via intrathecal injection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) obtained from PPMS patients into the subarachnoid space of the cervical spinal cord in mice. This PPMS animal model exhibits hallmark characteristics of the disease including: demyelination, reactive astrogliosis and axonal damage in the cervical spinal cord, which consistently manifests as forelimb motor deficits. Additionally, Dr. Wong and her research team discovered that intrathecal delivery of PPMS CSF inhibits oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) proliferation, as well as OPC differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes, resulting in impaired remyelination following lysolecithin-induced demyelination. In a series of CSF filtration studies, her team has demonstrated that toxic factors can be removed from PPMS CSF, which subsequently attenuates its capacity to induce clinical symptoms and pathology in the animal model. Dr. Wong is a member of the NeurapheresisTM Research Consortium, which is geared towards advancing the use of CSF filtration therapy in various neurological conditions.
Ongoing investigations in Dr. Wong’s research team are directed at: 1) understanding how glial dysfunction contributes to neurodegeneration, 2) understanding mechanisms underlying remyelination failure in PPMS, and 3) identifying pathological factors present in PPMS CSF which are responsible for causing and/or sustaining disease pathophysiology.
Dr. Wong received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences in 2011, and B.S. in Neurobiology in 2004 from the Neurobiology and Behavior Department at University of California, Irvine. Her thesis work focused on evaluating the impact of plasticity-promoting drugs and motor training on locomotor recovery following spinal cord injury.
Dr. Wong works with research assistants Joseph Beaty (BA from Vassar College '19), Taylor Shue (BS from Wake Forest University '19), and Nadia Celestin (BS from University of Massachusetts, Amherst '20).