Ting Ong, Research Assistant

Ear Science Institute Australia

Molecular and Cellular Otolaryngology


What are you working on now?

I am using Mesenchymal Stem Cells to regulate wound healing in the eardrum! I am trying to understand the healing mechanism of an eardrum perforation – why some people heal spontaneously, while other do not, and eventually how we can resolve that.


What/who motivates and inspires you?

My supervisor Professor Rodney Dilley was the one who introduced me to MSCs and also research itself when he took me on as an Honours student. Subsequently, everybody in the lab helped in their own ways and I found my place in research! The constant problem solving and trouble-shooting when tackling different questions got really intriguing and I realised this is the type of motivation that puts me on the right path!


Where did you study previously?

Before my undergrad studies, I was living in Singapore. In my high school, there was only 1 class that had biology in their curriculum; everyone else, including me, did physics and chemistry. When I came to Perth, my undergrad was also majored in Forensic toxicology and it was challenging at first, but it just got better along the way.


What made you choose science?

To be honest, I stumbled across what I did for my undergrad, not knowing what I had actually signed up for! I chose Forensics because of how exciting it sounded, and at the same time, I picked the Forensics degree that had a combination with biomedical science and molecular biology, and here I am!


Favourite science teacher and why?

Chemistry was my favourite subject before I got to know biology, and my high school chemistry teacher was actually the first one to recognise my efforts in prac classes! I guess he made an impression because he taught the entire cohort of about 400 students every year and yet he remembers every single one of us. After coming to Perth, I had lost contact with him but I heard a couple of years ago that he was starting to do a PhD after a period of teaching!


What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months?

I hope to get a scholarship so I can start on my PhD project that I have been planning for over a year now! Of course, I also hope to produce more results and progressively be in a better position than this year in general!


Favourite holiday destination?

Well if my favourite holiday destination has to be somewhere I have actually been to, I would say Hong Kong because I’m always there during the end of year and it’s winter! No matter how many times I have been there, there is just so much more to see! From the sightseeing up on the mountain tracks, to the vibrant shopping areas with tonnes of sales, people and delicious local food, Hong Kong never gets boring!


If I wasn’t doing this (job) I’d be….

A wedding planner! I like managing and planning events, I like to visit new places or even countries, I like to see people happy, weddings are full of happy people, so I guess a wedding planner sounds fantastic!