Photo of Melissa Hirose Wong, Ph.D.

Melissa Hirose Wong Ph.D.

  • (503) 494-8749
    • Associate Professor of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology School of Medicine
    • Cell and Developmental Biology Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Cancer Biology Graduate Program School of Medicine
    • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences School of Medicine

My laboratory is actively investigating the physiologic impact of cell fusion hybrids between circulating bone marrow-derived and intestinal tumor epithelial cells in advancing tumorigenesis. We have direct evidence that intestinal epithelial cell fusion hybrids generated after intestinal injury harbor a unique transcriptome that reflects expression potential from both intestinal cells and bone marrow-derived cells. It is our hypothesis that cell fusion may provide acquisition of blood-derived properties to tumor epithelium, permitting them to escape the primary tumor microenvironment and re-establish tumorigenesis at a distant site.A second focus in my laboratory is to determine if cancer stem cell profiling can be used to inform disease behavior. We are currently investigating the expression pattern of these tumor-initiating cells in head and neck carcinoma and colon cancer before and after treatment and correlating our findings with disease aggressiveness. It is our hypothesis that a prevalent cancer stem cell phenotype may correlate with a more aggressive disease course. We hope that these studies will ultimately inform patient treatment and care.


  • B.A., University of Colorado, Boulder Colorado 1987
  • Ph.D., Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem North Carolina 1994


  • "MiR-486-5p Downregulation Marks an Early Event in Colorectal Carcinogenesis." Diseases of the colon and rectum  In: , Vol. 61, No. 11, 01.11.2018, p. 1290-1296.
  • "Loss of murine Paneth cell function alters the immature intestinal microbiome and mimics changes seen in neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis." PloS one  In: , Vol. 13, No. 10, e0204967, 01.10.2018.
  • "Cell fusion potentiates tumor heterogeneity and reveals circulating hybrid cells that correlate with stage and survival." Science Advances  In: , Vol. 4, No. 9, eaat7828, 12.09.2018.
  • "Monoclonal Antibodies Reveal Dynamic Plasticity Between Lgr5- and Bmi1-Expressing Intestinal Cell Populations." CMGH  In: , Vol. 6, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 79-96.
  • "Macrophage-Dependent Cytoplasmic Transfer during Melanoma Invasion In Vivo." Developmental Cell  In: , Vol. 43, No. 5, 04.12.2017, p. 549-562.e6.
  • "Surgical Procedures and Methodology for a Preclinical Murine Model of De Novo Mammary Cancer Metastasis." Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE  In: , No. 125, 29.07.2017.
  • "Intestinal Enteroendocrine Lineage Cells Possess Homeostatic and Injury-Inducible Stem Cell Activity." Cell Stem Cell  In: , Vol. 21, No. 1, 06.07.2017, p. 78-90.e6.
  • "Non-equivalence of Wnt and R-spondin ligands during Lgr5 + intestinal stem-cell self-renewal." Nature  In: , Vol. 545, No. 7653, 11.05.2017, p. 238-242.
  • "Cell Adhesion Molecule CD166/ALCAM Functions Within the Crypt to Orchestrate Murine Intestinal Stem Cell Homeostasis." CMGH  In: , Vol. 3, No. 3, 01.05.2017, p. 389-409.
  • "Colorectal Cancer Liver Metastasis : Evolving Paradigms and Future Directions." CMGH Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology  In: , Vol. 3, No. 2, 01.03.2017, p. 163-173.
  • "Sequencing thousands of single-cell genomes with combinatorial indexing." Nature Methods  In: , Vol. 14, No. 3, 28.02.2017, p. 302-308.
  • "FGF2 from marrow microenvironment promotes resistance to FLT3 inhibitors in acute myeloid leukemia." Cancer Research  In: , Vol. 76, No. 22, 15.11.2016, p. 6471-6482.
  • "Defining a stem cell hierarchy in the intestine : markers, caveats and controversies." Journal of Physiology  In: , Vol. 594, No. 17, 01.09.2016, p. 4781-4790.
  • "IL-10 and integrin signaling pathways are associated with head and neck cancer progression." BMC Genomics  In: , Vol. 17, No. 1, 38, 08.01.2016.
  • "Effect of Ionizing Radiation on the Physical Biology of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells." Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering  In: , Vol. 8, No. 3, 21.09.2015, p. 517-525.
  • "B cells regulate macrophage phenotype and response to chemotherapy in squamous carcinomas." Cancer Cell  In: , Vol. 25, No. 6, 16.06.2014, p. 809-821.
  • "Ponatinib overcomes FGF2-mediated resistance in CML patients without kinase domain mutations." Blood  In: , Vol. 123, No. 10, 06.03.2014, p. 1516-1524.
  • "Network signatures of nuclear and cytoplasmic density alterations in a model of pre and postmetastatic colorectal cancer." Journal of Biomedical Optics  In: , Vol. 19, No. 1, 016016, 01.2014.
  • "Building Blocks for Engineering the Small Intestine."   Regenerative Medicine Applications in Organ Transplantation. Elsevier Inc., 2014. p. 551-559.
  • "Correlation of the same fields imaged in the TEM, confocal, LM, and microCT by image registration : From specimen preparation to displaying a final composite image." Methods in Cell Biology  In: , Vol. 124, 2014, p. 391-416.
  • "A multicenter study to standardize reporting and analyses of fluorescence-activated cell-sorted murine intestinal epithelial cells." American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology  In: , Vol. 305, No. 8, 15.10.2013.
  • "Isolation and characterization of intestinal stem cells based on surface marker combinations and colony-formation assay." Gastroenterology  In: , Vol. 145, No. 2, 08.2013.
  • "Genetic basis of cell-cell fusion mechanisms." Trends in Genetics  In: , Vol. 29, No. 7, 07.2013, p. 427-437.
  • "Fusion between Hematopoietic and Epithelial Cells in Adult Human Intestine." PLoS One  In: , Vol. 8, No. 1, e55572, 30.01.2013.
  • "Effects of epidermal growth factor receptor and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor inhibition on proliferation and intracellular signaling in cutaneous SCCHN : Potential for dual inhibition as a therapeutic modality." Head and Neck  In: , Vol. 35, No. 1, 01.2013, p. 86-93.
  • "Epithelial and mesenchymal contribution to the niche : A safeguard for intestinal stem cell homeostasis." Gastroenterology  In: , Vol. 143, No. 6, 12.2012, p. 1426-1430.
  • "A nomenclature for intestinal in vitro cultures." American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology  In: , Vol. 302, No. 12, 15.06.2012.
  • "Tumor microenvironment complexity : Emerging roles in cancer therapy." Cancer Research  In: , Vol. 72, No. 10, 15.05.2012, p. 2473-2480.
  • "Loss of expression of the cancer stem cell marker aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 correlates with advanced-stage colorectal cancer." American Journal of Surgery  In: , Vol. 203, No. 5, 05.2012, p. 649-653.
  • "The role of colorectal cancer stem cells in metastatic disease and therapeutic response." Cancers  In: , Vol. 3, No. 1, 03.2011, p. 319-339.

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