Thomas D Wang, MD, PhD
H. Marvin Pollard Collegiate Professor of Endoscopy Research and Professor of Internal Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Wang is a physician scientist who has developed a number of novel methodologies for in vivo imaging in the digestive tract for early cancer detection and staging. He has pioneered the use of fluorescence-labeled peptides to detect overexpressed cell surface targets in vivo to identify pre-malignant mucosa. Furthermore, he has developed the first video endoscope that is sensitive to fluorescence for rapidly identifying pre-malignant lesions over large mucosal surface areas. This approach has been patented, commercialized, and developed for clinical use, and is widely cited as a major impetus for the accelerated convergence of fluorescence spectroscopy and endoscopy. He has mentored a total of 3 visiting scholars, 5 junior faculty (research investigators), 34 post-docs (research fellows), 4 M.D. (clinical) fellows, 13 graduate students, 3 medical residents, 2 medical students, and 9 undergraduates. In addition, he has filed 18 patents with the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on novel optical imaging technologies.
Molecular biology students and post-docs are needed to evaluate gene expression profiles and next generation sequencing data from human epithelial specimens to identify promising new targets for early cancer detection. Validation will be performed using RT-PCR, tissue microarrays (TMA), and immunohistochemistry. Novel peptide imaging agents with high specificity and binding affinity to cell surface targets will be developed. High contrast images can be achieved with minimal risk for toxicity, and avoids undesired probe biodistribution to non-target tissues, a major concern with systemic delivery.