Lezanne Ooi

Dr Lezanne Ooi

Phone:    +61 2 4221 5865
Office:      B32.309


  • Senior Lecturer 

Research Interests

  • Use of induced pluripotent stem cells in neurodegenerative disease modelling and drug discovery.
  • Effects of inflammation and oxidative stress on neuronal function.
  • Identification of neuroprotective genes and drugs.
  • Global control of gene expression and protein function: transcriptional regulation and epigenetics.


Balez R, Steiner N,  Engel M, Sanz Muñoz S,  Lum JS, Wu Y, Wang D, Vallotton P, Sachdev P, O’Connor M, Sidhu K, Münch G & Ooi L. Neuroprotective effects of apigenin against inflammation, neuronal excitability and apoptosis in an induced pluripotent stem cell model of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientific Reports. 2016 doi: 10.1038/srep31450.

Engel M, Do-Ha D, Muñoz SS, Ooi L. Common pitfalls of stem cell differentiation: a guide to improving protocols for neurodegenerative disease models and research. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 2016 doi: 10.1007/s00018-016-2265-3. 

Yerbury JJ, Ooi L, Dillin A, Saunders DN, Hatters DM, Beart PM, Cashman NR, Wilson MR, Ecroyd H. Walking the tightrope: Proteostasis and neurodegenerative disease. Journal of Neurochemistry. 2016 137(4):489-505. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13575. 

Sobrevia L, Ooi L, Ryan S, Steinert JR. Nitric Oxide: A Regulator of Cellular Function in Health and Disease. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2016 2016:9782346. doi: 10.1155/2016/9782346. 

Balez R and Ooi L. Getting to NO Alzheimer’s Disease: Neuroprotection versus Neurotoxicity Mediated by Nitric Oxide. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2016 2016:3806157. doi: 10.1155/2016/3806157. 

Steiner N, Balez R, Karunaweera N, Lind JM, Münch G, Ooi L. Neuroprotection of Neuro2a cells and the cytokine suppressive and anti-inflammatory mode of action of resveratrol in activated RAW264.7 macrophages and C8-B4 microglia. Neurochem Int. 2015 Oct 29. pii: S0197-0186(15)30063-2. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2015.10.013.

Zeineddine R, Pundavela JF, Corcoran L, Stewart EM, Do-Ha D, Bax M, Guillemin G, Vine KL, Hatters DM, Ecroyd H, Dobson CM, Turner BJ, Ooi L, Wilson MR, Cashman NR, Yerbury JJ. SOD1 protein aggregates stimulate macropinocytosis in neurons to facilitate their propagation. 2015 Molecular Neurodegeneration Oct 31;10:57. 

Yang S, Zhang KY, Kariawasam R, Bax M, Fifita JA, Ooi L, Yerbury JJ, Nicholson GA, Blair IP. Evaluation of Skin Fibroblasts from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patients for the Rapid Study of Pathological Features. Neurotoxicty Research 2015 Aug;28(2):138-46.  

Gamper N and Ooi L. Redox and nitric-oxide-mediated regulation of sensory neuron ion channel function. Antioxidants and redox signalling 2015 22:486-504. 

Gunawardena D, Bennett L, Shanmugam K, King K, Williams R, Zabaras D, Head R, Ooi L, Gyengesi E, Münch G. Anti-inflammatory effects of five commercially available mushroom species determined in lipopolysaccharide and interferon-γ activated murine macrophages. Food Chem. 2014 Apr 1;148:92-6. 

Ooi L, Gigout S, Pettinger L and Gamper N. Triple cysteine module within M-type K+ channels mediates reciprocal channel modulation by nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species. Journal of Neuroscience 2013 33: 6041-6. 

Steele ML, Fuller S, Patel M, Kersaitis C, Ooi L, Münch G. Effect of Nrf2 activators on release of glutathione, cysteinylglycine and homocysteine by human U373 astroglial cells. Redox Biology 2013 1:441-5. 

Nguyen NTQ, Ooi L, Piller SC and Münch G. Pro-energetic effect of resveratrol in the murine neuronal cell line Neuro2a. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2013 57:1901-7. 

Laurenti D and Ooi L. Mammalian expression systems and transfection techniques. Methods Mol Biol. 2013 998:21-32. 

Gunawardena D, Shanmugam K, Low M, Bennett L, Govindaraghavan S, Head R, Ooi L, Münch G. Determination of anti-inflammatory activities of standardised preparations of plant- and mushroom-based foods. European Journal of Nutrition. 2013 May 8. [Epub ahead of print]. 

Ooi L, Kirubakaran S, Patel M, Debono R and Münch G. New drugs under development for Alzheimer's disease. Book chapter in: Advances in Alzheimer's Disease Management. Gauthier S, Rosa-Neto P (Eds). Expert Reviews 2012 p 58-67. Future Medicine, London, UK. 

Ooi L, Sidhu K, Poljak A, Sutherland G, O’Connor MD, Sachdev P and Münch G. Induced pluripotent stem cells as tools for disease modelling and drug discovery in Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Neural Transmission 2012. Jun 13. [Epub ahead of print]. 

Linley JE*, Ooi L*, Pettinger L, Kirton H, Boyle J, Peers CS and Gamper N. Neurokinin signalling in peripheral sensory neurons: reactive oxygen species as novel second messengers. *Joint first author, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012, Jun 12;109(24):E1578-86. Epub 2012 May 14. 

Wild R, Ooi L, Srikanth V and Münch G. A quick, convenient and economical method for the reliable determination of methylglyoxal in millimolar concentrations: the N-acetyl-L-cysteine assay. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 2012, Jul;403(9):2577-81. Epub 2012 May 14. 

Rose K, Ooi L, Dalle C, Robertson B, Wood IC and Gamper N. Transcriptional Repression of the M Channel Subunit Kv7.2 in Chronic Nerve Injury. Pain 2011 152:742-54. 

Mucha M*, Ooi L*, Linley J, Mordaka P, Dalle C, Robertson B, Gamper N, and Wood IC. Transcriptional control of KCNQ channel genes and the regulation of neuronal excitability. *Joint first author, J Neurosci 2010, 30(40):13235-13245. 

Liu B, Linley J, Du X, Zhang X, Ooi L, Zhang H and Gamper N. The acute nociceptive signals induced by bradykinin in rat sensory neurons are mediated by inhibition of M-type K+ channels and activation of Ca2+-activated Cl- channels. J Clin Invest. 2010 120(4):1240-52. 

Linley J, Rose K, Ooi L and Gamper N. Understanding Inflammatory Pain: Ion Channels Contributing to Acute and Chronic Nociception. Pflugers Arch. 2010 459(5):657-69. 

Ooi L and Wood IC. Regulation of gene expression in the nervous system. Biochem J. 2008 414:327-341. 

Ooi L and Wood IC. Chromatin switching and transcriptional regulation in disease. Biochem Soc Trans. 2008 36(Pt 4):599-602. 

Ooi L and Wood IC. Potassium channel regulation: Identifying transcriptional regulatory regions using reporter genes and DNA-protein interactions by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Methods Mol Biol 2008 491:3-17. 

Zuccato C, Belyaev ND, Conforti P, Ooi L, Tartari M, Papadimou E, McDonald M, Zeitlin S, Buckley NJ, Cattaneo E. Widespread disruption of the REST/NRSF-regulated transcription in Huntington's Disease. J Neurosci. 2007 27:6972-83. 

Ooi L and Wood IC. Chromatin crosstalk in development and disease: lessons from REST. Nature Reviews Genetics 2007 8:544-554. 

Bingham AJ*, Ooi L*, Kozera L, White E and Wood IC. Multiple chromatin modifying complexes are required for REST to regulate cardiac specific gene expression. *Joint first author, Mol Cell Biol. 2007 27:4082-92. 

Bingham AJ, Ooi L, Wood IC.  Multiple chromatin modifications important for gene expression changes in cardiac hypertrophy. Biochem Soc Trans. 2006 34: 1138–1140. 

Ooi L, Belyaev ND, Miyake K, Wood IC, Buckley NJ. BRG1 chromatin remodeling activity is required for efficient chromatin binding by the transcriptional repressor REST and facilitates REST-mediated repression. J Biol Chem. 2006 281:38974-80. 

Bruce AW, Krejci A, Ooi L, Deuchars J, Wood IC, Dolezal V, Buckley NJ. The transcriptional repressor REST is a critical regulator of the neurosecretory phenotype. J Neurochem. 2006 98:1828-40. 

Johnson R*, Gamblin RG*, Ooi L*, Bruce AW, Donaldson IJ, Westhead DR, Wood IC, Jackson RM, Buckley NJ. Identification of the REST regulon reveals extensive transposon-mediated binding site duplication. *Joint first author, Nucleic Acids Res. 2006 34:3862-3877. 

Smith GD, Gunthorpe MJ, Kelsell RE, Hayes PD, Reilly P, Facer P, Wright JE, Jerman JC, Walhin JP, Ooi L, Egerton J, Charles KJ, Smart D, Randall AD, Anand P, Davis JB. TRPV3 is a temperature-sensitive vanilloid receptor-like protein. Nature. 2002 418:186-90.  

Jerman JC, Gray J, Brough SJ, Ooi L, Owen D, Davis JB, Smart D. Comparison of effects of anandamide at recombinant and endogenous rat vanilloid receptors. Br J Anaesth. 2002 89:882-7. 

Searchable publications

Current Lab Members

Post-doctoral Fellowa:

  • Dr Tracey Berg
  • Dr Yossi Buskila
  • Dr Mauricio Castro
  • Dr Martin Engel
  • Dr Claire Stevens 

PhD Students:

  • Monique Bax
  • Sonia Sanz-Munoz
  • Rachelle Balez
  • Dzung Do-Ha
  • Yi Sing Gee (co-supervised)
  • Jeremy Lum (co-supervised)
  • Rebecca San Gil (co-supervised)

Honours Students

  • Amy Hulme

Future Topics for Students

  • Induced pluripotent stem cells in Alzheimer’s disease and motor neurone disease research.
  • Identification of novel neuroprotective drugs.
  • Regulation of gene expression in neurodegenerative disease.
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative disease.

Abbreviated CV


  • 2015-date Senior Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong
  • 2012-2014 Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong
  • 2011-2012 School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney
  • 2008-2011 Postdoctoral research fellow, Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology, University of Leeds, UK
  • 2002-2006 Wellcome Trust prize PhD studentship. School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Leeds, UK


Current Grants

  • NHMRC Project Grant 2016-2018 APP1107644
  • NHMRC Dementia Team Grant 2015-2020
  • NHMRC Project Grant APP1079995 2015-2017
  • NHMRC Project Grant APP1071250, 2014-2016

Past Grants 

  • Brain Foundation research gift, 2015
  • Cooper Foundation grant, 2014
  • MNDRIA Grant-in-aid, 2014
  • The Medical Advances Without Animals Trust, 2012-2014

Awards and Scholarships

  • The American Association of Anatomists platform presentation prize, 2012
  • The Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Research Centre Young Investigator Prize, 2008
  • The American Association of Anatomists postdoctoral prize, 2007
  • The New England Biolabs sponsored poster prize, 2007
  • The Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology postdoctoral prize, 2006

Professional Associations

  • The Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute
  • Centre for Molecular and Medical Bioscience
  • American Association of Anatomists Advisory Committee for Young Anatomists (AAA-ACYA), 2009-2012


Last reviewed: 3 November, 2016