Portrait of Irene Ong
Irene Ong, PhD
Assistant Professor, Associate Director of UW Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center Cancer Informatics Shared Resource, and Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics.
Reproductive Sciences

Office Address

UW Hospital and Clinics
600 Highland Ave
Madison, WI, 53792

B.A. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
M.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

NIH R13 Sponsored Attendance Perinatal Research Society Grants Writing Workshop

K12 Scholar,
UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research

Burroughs Wellcome Pre-Term Birth Grant

Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award

American Family Funding Initiative Award

Career Enhancement Program Award,
Wisconsin Head and Neck Cancer SPORE

Ong publishes in Frontiers in Immunology

Irene Ong, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Reproductive Sciences, is senior author on a new publication in Frontiers in Immunology.

In "Assessing Immune Factors in Maternal Milk and Paired Infant Plasma Antibody Binding to Human Rhinoviruses", Ong and co-authors “used high-density peptide arrays to profile infant and maternal antibody reactivity to capsid and full proteome sequences of three human rhinoviruses (RVs).”

You can read the article here. Incredible work, Dr. Ong!

Stanic, Ong Labs publish in the Journal of Immunology

A new study in collaboration between the Stanic and Ong research groups in the UW Department of Ob-Gyn will be published in the July 2023 issue of the Journal of Immunology!

Proteogenomic and V(D)J Analysis of Human Decidual T Cells Highlights Unique Transcriptional Programming and Clonal Distribution”, by Deborah A. Chasman; Rene Welch Schwartz; Jessica Vazquez; Melina Chavarria; Eryne T. Jenkins; Gladys E. Lopez; Chanel T. Tyler; Aleksandar K. Stanic; Irene M. Ong, uses multiomics analysis to reveal regulation of fetal–maternal immune coexistence. The study was selected by the Journal of Immunology editors as a Top Read for the upcoming July issue. The study and its authors will be featured on the Journal of Immunology social media.

The Journal of Immunology is a preeminent basic science journal in the field, and to have the journal choose to feature translational or clinical-adjacent work is truly an exceptional honor.

You can see the study here; keep an eye on the Journal of Immunology Twitter for the future posts about this study and these incredible research teams!

UW Ob-Gyn presentations at 2023 Society for Reproductive Investigation Conference

In March 2023, the Society for Reproductive Investigation hosted their 70th Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane, Australia. Members of the UW Department of Ob-Gyn brought fantastic representation to the meeting: 

Irene Ong, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Reproductive Sciences, was invited to present during the “Circulating Factors Regulating Maternal/Fetal Immunity” symposium. She presented “Integration of multi-omics datasets (Spatial, scRNAseq, CITEseq, VDJseq) at the Maternal-fetal interface”. 

Aleks Stanic-Kostic, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Divisions of Reproductive Sciences and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, was invited to present during the “Circulating Factors Regulating Maternal/Fetal Immunity” symposium. His talk was “T cell dysregulation in preeclampsia at a single cell level”. 

Stanic co-chaired the Parturition III mini-symposium during the conference. He also presented in two career development sessions:  

How to be a Good & Creative Mentor” - Mid-Career Session 

Writing to Win the Grant” - Connections Corner (for junior investigators) 

Joint work by the Ong and Stanic Labs was selected for oral presentation during the Preeclampsia session. Project collaborator Ai-Ris Collier, MD, presented “Single Cell Multi-Omic Analysis of Intervillous Lymphocytes in Preeclampsia” on behalf of Rene Welch (Ong Lab) and Jessica Vazquez (formerly Stanic Lab).  

Soma Banerjee, MD, graduate student in the Stanic Lab, received a President’s New Investigator Plenary Award for her Plenary Oral presentation "High-Dimensional Flow Cytometry Analysis of Immune Cell Subsets in Circulation and Follicular Microenvironment in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” 

Incredible work, all!   

Division of Reproductive Sciences prepares impressive slate of research for Society for Reproductive Investigation conference

The 2022 Society for Reproductive Investigation’s Annual Scientific Meeting, held in Denver, CO between March 15-19, features several presentations, posters and abstracts from members of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Reproductive Sciences! Just some of their exciting accomplishments:

Clinical and Translational Perinatology Oral Presentation:

Breastfeeding Promotes Predominant Bifidobacterium in Farm-Exposed Infants
Deborah Chasman, Krittisak Chaiyakul, Samantha Fye, James E Gern, Susan V Lynch, Christine M Seroogy, Irene M Ong

Maternal Biology and Health oral presentation:

Perfluorooctane Sulfonic Acid (PFOS) Increases Mean Arterial Pressure by Impairing Endothelial Nitric Oxide-Mediated Vasodilation and Enhancing Angiotensin II-Mediated Vascular Contraction in Pregnant Rats
Sri V Dangudubiyyam, Jay S Mishra, Ruolin Song, Sathish Kumar

Preeclampsia oral presentation:

Preeclampsia Differentially Dysregulates Female and Male Fetal Endothelial Cells Function and Transcriptomic Profiles in Lean and Obese Pregnancies.
Chi Zhou, Allison Yang, Colman Freel, Olivia Mills, Jing Zheng

Preeclampsia II Oral Presentation session, moderated by Aishwarya Rengarajan


An Endogenous Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Ligand Induces Preeclamptic Phenotypes in Rats. Ying-jie Zhao, Chi Zhou, Hui-hui Li, Jay S Mishra, Sathish Kumar, Jing Zheng

Follicular Immune Signature of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in Women Undergoing Infertility Treatment. Soma Banerjee, Fernanda B Levya Jaimes, Abigail A Zettel, Eryne T Jenkins, Jason Austin, Laura G Cooney, Aleksander K Stanic

Immunohistochemical Localization of ACE2 in the Male Reproductive Tract in the Rhesus Macaque: Implications for Nonhuman Primate Model Development for COVID-19. Hayly Hinkle, Sierra Block, Ann Mitzey, Jenna Schmidt, Gregory Wiepz, Thaddeus G. Golos

Estradiol Protects Against Gestational Intermittent Hypoxia-Induced Hypertension and Metabolic Dysfunctions in the Adult Female Offspring. Ruolin Song, Jay S Mishra, Sri V Dangudubiyyam, Jyoti Watters, Tracy Baker, Sathish Kumar

Novel Role of Angiotensin Type 2 Receptor in Promoting Angiogenesis in Primary Human Uterine Artery Endothelial Cells. Jay S Mishra, Sri V Dangudubiyyam, Ruolin Song, Dong-Bao Chen, Sathish Kumar

Endothelial Dysfunction in Preeclampsia: The Story of the Interleukins. Rachel L Dahn, Amanda C Ampey, Jason L Austin, Ian M Bird

Congratulations to all!

Patankar and Ong earn grant from UW Prevention Research Center

UW Ob-Gyn Division of Reproductive Sciences Director Manish Patankar, PhD, and Irene Ong, PhD, earned a Special Interest Project grant from the UW-Madison Prevention Research Center! Their project will focus on detecting early-stage ovarian cancer, with a goal of developing computational tools to help identify early-stage ovarian cancer and improve patient outcomes.

In collaboration with Jesus Gonzalez Bosquet, MD, PhD, of the University of Iowa, and Peter Argenta, MD, of the University of Minnesota, they will use machine learning models to examine electronic health record data from the three institutions to determine whether demographic/clinical variables, social determinants of health, and high-frequency germline genetic variants can be used to identify early predictors of ovarian cancer.

Congratulations, Dr. Patankar and Dr. Ong! Read more about the goals of this project in this article on WKOW: 

UW Health launches new project to detect ovarian cancer sooner

Ong’s work on AyrFlo intervention featured in Madison Magazine

Over the last few years, Irene Ong, PhD, of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Reproductive Sciences, has been working with clinician-scientists in the SMPH Departments of Anesthesiology and Radiology to develop a device that could identify respiratory distress earlier.

An article in the November 2021 issue of Madison Magazine introduces the team behind AyrFlo, tracks their progress in developing the device, and highlights some funding victories – and unexpected pandemic challenges:

“In 2017, they won WARF Accelerator Phase I Funding , making Bilen-Rosas and Ong the first women from the medical school to ever win. In July 2019, they received a Phase II award from WARF’s accelerator program. This allowed them to take their prototype to sedation patients — and into the operating room that fateful day. Sixteen more patients followed — then COVID-19 hit, effectively halting the case studies.”

Read the whole article here!

Stanic Lab published in American Journal of Reproductive Immunology

new article out of collaborative research between Aleks Stanic-Kostic, MD, PhD and Irene Ong, PhD was published in the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology!

Multiomic analysis reveals decidual-specific transcriptional programing of MAIT cells” examines the possible role of Mucosal-Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells in tissue-repair mechanisms at the maternal-fetal interface. Stanic Lab members Jessica Vazquez, PhD and Melina Chavarria are shared first authors on the publication, while Stanic and Ong are senior authors.

Read the whole publication here!

Ong publishes article on antibody binding in SARS-CoV-2 infections in PLOS Biology

Many researchers over the last many months have shifted their focus to help us better understand and treat SARS-CoV-2, and that’s true of some of the brilliant research minds in the UW Department of Ob-Gyn! Irene Ong, PhD, of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Reproductive Sciences co-authored the article “The landscape of antibody binding in SARS-CoV-2 infection” in PLOS Biology.

In the article, Ong and co-authors try to get a fuller picture of antibody responses in SARS-CoV-2 infections: 

Many questions remain regarding the biology and immunology related to SARS-CoV-2. Our extensive profiling of epitope-level resolution antibody reactivity in COVID-19 convalescent patients, confirmed by independent assays, provides new epitopes that could serve as important targets in the development of improved diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 and dangerous human CoVs that may emerge in the future.

Read the whole article here. Incredible work, Dr. Ong!

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