RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Immunology, Global Health, Infectious Diseases
Area(s) of Expertise:
Infectious Diseases, Immunology, Global Health
Yi-Ching Ong received her PhD in microbiology and immunology from Stanford University in December 2010. Her research investigated how the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii modulates host immune response, with a focus on the molecular basis of parasite strain-specific differences in infectious outcome. Prior to her doctoral research, Yi-Ching studied at Oxford University as a Keasbey Scholar and received an MPhil in international development in 2005; her master’s dissertation research investigated the sociopolitical and economic considerations that have historically influenced infectious disease policy in Southeast Asia. As a Health & Society Scholar, Yi-Ching plans to merge her research interests in the molecular and macrosocial determinants of health to investigate how innate susceptibility and resistance to disease is affected by social inequality. She is particularly interested in how immunity may be partially programmed (via epigenetic modifications or other mechanisms) during early development by factors such as nutrition and stress. A better understanding of such early life influences may help direct interventions for disparities in infectious disease and chronic disease due to immune system dysfunction. Yi-Ching received a BA in biochemical sciences summa cum laude from Harvard University in 2003.