Professor Wang Hongyan

Prof. Wang Hongyan is the deputy programme director and principal investigator of the laboratory of Neural Stem Cell at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.

We use Drosophila and mammalian neural stem cells (NSCs) to model neurodevelopmental disorders and brain tumours.

NSCs are crucial for the development, regeneration, and repair of the nervous system. The delicate balance between NSC quiescence and activation is important for adult neurogenesis and NSC maintenance. We and others are establishing Drosophila NSCs as a model system to elucidate the disease mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently, we are interested in addressing the following key questions: What are the intrinsic mechanisms underlying NSC reactivation? What are the molecular signatures of quiescent NSCs? What are the extrinsic signals “waking up” quiescent NSCs?

We and others have established Drosophila larval brain neural stem cells as a model for stem cell self-renewal and tumorigenesis. Our work demonstrated a causal link between deficits in NSC asymmetric division and the formation of brain tumours in Drosophila models. Currently, we are interested in addressing the following key questions: What mutations trigger neural stem cells to become cancer stem cells? How asymmetric divisions of neural stem cells are regulated? What are the mechanisms that prevent more mature cells from dedifferentiating back into neural stem cells?

Prof Wang is an elected EMBO Associate Member (2020), recipient of the Singapore National Academy of Science Young Scientist Award (2008), and the National Research Foundation (NRF) Research Fellowship (2009-2014). She is Associate Editor of PLOS Genetics, Asia-Pacific Drosophila Board member, the founding president of Society of Developmental Biologists Singapore, and executive member of Stem Cell Society Singapore.

Selected publications

  1. Ding W, Huang J, and Wang H. Waking up quiescent neural stem cells: Molecular mechanisms and implications in neurodevelopmental disorders. PLOS Genetics (2020) Apr 23;16(4)
  2. Ly PT, Tan YS, Koe CT, Zhang Y, Xie G, Endow S, Deng WM, Yu F, Wang H. CRL4Mahj E3 ubiquitin ligase promotes neural stem cell reactivation. PLOS Biology (2019) June 6. 
  3. Zhang Y, Koe CT, Tan YS, Ho J, Tan P, Yu F, Sung WK, and Wang H. The Integrator Complex Prevents Intermediate Neural Progenitors Dedifferentiation back into Neural Stem Cells. Cell Reports (2019). Apr 23;27(4):987-996.e3. (Press release by Duke-NUS)
  4. Huang J and Wang H. Hsp83/Hsp90 physically associates with Insulin Receptor to promote neural stem cell reactivation. Stem Cell Reports (2018). Oct 9.
  5. Koe CT, Tan YS, Lönnfors M, Hur SK, Lan Low CSL, Zhang Y, Kanchanawong P, Vytas A. Bankaitis VA, Wang H. Vibrator and PI4KIIIa Govern Neuroblast Polarity by Anchoring Non-muscle Myosin II. eLife (2018). Feb 27;7. (Press release by Duke-NUS)
Deputy Director
Neuroscience & Behavioural Disorders Programme
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