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Leong, Melanie, MD

Leong, Melanie, MD
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Division: Neonatology
Certification: Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine,

Melanie Leong, MD, MS joined the Division of Newborn Medicine in August 2018 as an Attending Neonatologist at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at New York Medical College.  Her research in residency under the guidance of Dr. Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos found that hypoxia-induced high affinity calcium-ATPase activity is attenuated by hypothermia following hypoxia, in the cerebral cortex of newborn piglets.  Her most recent research focuses on the development of hyperoxia-induced acute lung injury (HALI) and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

We recently showed that autophagy plays an important role in hyperoxia-induced apoptotic cell death as well as HALI/BPD in developing lungs, and that the mechanistic target of rapamycin (MTOR) complex regulates lung injury in the BPD mouse model.  Therefore, we screened for regulators of MTOR and focused on microRNAs (miRs), which are small, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally.  Specifically, we sought to investigate the role of miR-99 in the development of HALI, proposing that it modulates autophagy by specifically targeting the Akt/MTOR specific signaling pathway.  Using newborn mice and mouse lung epithelial (MLE-12) cells that were exposed to either normoxia or hyperoxia, we found that miR-99 expression was increased in vivo and in vitro.  In hyperoxia-exposed MLE-12 cells, the key autophagy target proteins pMTOR, MTOR, p-P70S6, and SQSTM1/p62 were increased compared to normoxia conditions, while RPTOR, an important subunit of MTORC1, was decreased.  Furthermore, inhibition of miR-99 led to a partial resolution of RPTOR expression in hyperoxia-exposed MLE-12 cells.  Collectively, our study is a novel proposal of the potential protective role that miR-99 may have in the development of HALI and BPD.

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Medical Education: Drexel University of Medicine (Pennsylvania), Philadelphia, PA
Residency: St. Christopher's Hospital for Children , Philadelphia , PA - Pediatrics
Fellowship: St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA - Pediatrics - Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine


  • Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
Special Clinical Interest: Proposed role of microRNA-99 in Hyperoxia-induced Acute Lung Injury (HALI) and Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)     


Boston Children's Health Physicians (Neonatology)

100 Woods Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
Phone: 914-493-8558