BEnvSc (Hons Class I), PhD
Position: 
Garnett Passe & Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation Research Fellow
Room: 
125
Phone: 
07-33654603 / 07-33651892
Role: 

Cheryl-lynn Ong is a Research Fellow in the McEwan Lab at the University of Queensland. Her main research interest lies in the field of Microbiology, with a focus on bacterial infections, infectious diseases and metal metabolism (in particular zinc).

She works mainly on pathogenic Streptococcal species (Group A Streptococcus and Streptococcus pneumoniae). She has recently attained a Garnett Passe & Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation (GP&RWMF) Research Fellowship which involves investigating the bacterial species that causes ear infections. This work is in collaboration with Clinician, Dr David Reid at QIMR Berghofer.

 

Biography: 

I have come from Singapore and completed my Undergraduate (BEnvSc), Honours (Advanced Wastewater Management Centre) and PhD at the University of Queensland. My PhD was focused on virulence factors of uropathogenic Escherichia coli in Prof. Mark Schembri's laboratory.

Following that, I was hired as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow position with Prof. Alastair McEwan and Prof. James Paton (University of Adelaide) under a NHMRC Program Grant and worked on how iron regulation affected virulence in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Following on, I continued as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Prof. Alastair McEwan and Prof. Mark Walker investigating the effects of metals such as zinc on the virulence of Group A Streptococcus, and the use of metals as potential anti-microbials.

In 2015, I was promoted to Research Fellow.

In 2016, I was awarded a Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation Research Fellowship.

 

 

Brief Research Description: 
Infectious Diseases, bacterial pathogenesis and Metals
Research Focus and Collaborations: 

My main research interest lies in the field of Microbiology, with a focus on bacterial infections and infectious diseases. I work mainly on Streptococcal species (Group A Streptococcus and Streptococcus pneumoniae) that causes a wide range of infections ranging from mild sore throats, to ear infections to more serious ‘flesh-eating’ disease, chest infection, pneumonia and bacteremia.

My current research has been focused on metals in biology. In particular, the metal pathways by which bacteria use to survive in the hostile human host. Metals play a large role in the biology of bacterial pathogens and in the host. They are needed as co-factors in enzymes, enhances growth and play a protective role against oxidative and nitrosative stresses. However, a metal imbalance that results in metal overload can have devastating adverse effects to the bacteria. I have demonstrated that addition of manganese can rescue the toxic effects of iron-induced stress, and that malfunction of a zinc efflux pump can result in decreased virulence. My aim is to identify novel ways in which metals such as zinc can be utilised to kill these bacterial pathogens, particularly when antibiotic resistance is on the rise.

 

Secondary Research Areas: