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
    • Co-leader, Cancer Biology Program OHSU Knight Cancer Institute 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
    • M.D./Ph.D. Program Committee 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


  • "Caught in the Akt" Gastroenterology September 2010
  • "29 Combining gnotobiotic mouse models with functional genomics to define the impact of the microflora on host physiology" Methods in Microbiology  2002
  • "A nomenclature for intestinal in vitro cultures" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology June 15 2012
  • "A multicenter study to standardize reporting and analyses of fluorescence-activated cell-sorted murine intestinal epithelial cells" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology October 15 2013
  • "Lessons from development" Stem Cell Research January 2010
  • "Effect of Ionizing Radiation on the Physical Biology of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells" Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering September 21 2015
  • "Hematopoietic stem cells contribute to lymphatic endothelium" PLoS One November 26 2008
  • "Ponatinib overcomes FGF2-mediated resistance in CML patients without kinase domain mutations" Blood March 6 2014
  • "Tumor microenvironment complexity" Journal of Cancer Research May 15 2012
  • "Effects of epidermal growth factor receptor and insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor inhibition on proliferation and intracellular signaling in cutaneous SCCHN" Head and Neck January 2013
  • "Characterization of the intestinal cancer stem cell marker CD166 in the human and mouse gastrointestinal tract" Gastroenterology December 2010
  • "Lentiviral-mediated transgene expression can potentiate intestinal mesenchymal-epithelial signaling" Biological Procedures Online  2009
  • "Cancer stem cells in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma" Journal of Oncology  2011
  • "Living and commuting in intestinal crypts" Gastroenterology  1999
  • "Effects of forced expression of an NH2-terminal truncated β-catenin on mouse intestinal epithelial homeostasis" Journal of Cell Biology May 4 1998
  • "Forced expression of the tumor suppressor adenomatosis polyposis coli protein induces disordered cell migration in the intestinal epithelium" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America September 3 1996
  • "B cells regulate macrophage phenotype and response to chemotherapy in squamous carcinomas" Cancer Cell June 16 2014
  • "Cloning and molecular characterization of the ontogeny of a rat ileal sodium-dependent bile acid transporter" Journal of Clinical Investigation  1995
  • "Epithelial and mesenchymal contribution to the niche" Gastroenterology December 2012
  • "Expression cloning and characterization of the hamster ileal sodium-dependent bile acid transporter" Journal of Biological Chemistry January 14 1994
  • "Epithelial stem cells and their niche" Stem Cells February 2005
  • "Erratum to "Lessons from development" Stem Cell Research July 2010
  • "Cell fusion and stem cells"   2011
  • "Selection of multipotent stem cells during morphogenesis of small intestinal crypts of Lieberkühn is perturbed by stimulation of Lef-1/β-catenin signaling" Journal of Biological Chemistry May 3 2002
  • "Fusion between Hematopoietic and Epithelial Cells in Adult Human Intestine" PLoS One January 30 2013
  • "Molecular analysis of commensal host-microbial relationships in the intestine" Science February 2 2001
  • "Identification of a mutation in the ileal sodium-dependent bile acid transporter gene that abolishes transport activity" Journal of Biological Chemistry  1995
  • "Genetic basis of cell-cell fusion mechanisms" Trends in Genetics July 2013
  • "BMP Signaling in the Intestine" Gastroenterology September 2007
  • "Transplanted adult hematopoietic stems cells differentiate into functional endothelial cells" Blood January 1 2004

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