David Wong

David Wong, DMD, DMSc

Associate Dean of Research and Professor, School of Dentistry, Division of Oral Biology and Medicine
Director, Dental Research Institute



Contact Information

Scientific Interests

Dr. David Wong's laboratory spearheads the use of genome-wide technologies to harness the diagnostic and genomic information pertaining to the pathogenesis of oral and head and neck cancer development. In particular, he and his colleagues are focusing on the genomic and proteomic determinants of oral precancer progression. Using a patient-based genome-wide approach, the researchers are harnessing the genomic and proteomic determinants that distinguish progressing from non-progressing oral pre-cancers. A key component to this scientific approach is that the researchers seek a molecular concordance of detectable molecular defects. That is, a cellular gene has to exhibit molecular congruency at the gene, mRNA expression, as well as proteomic levels to qualify.

Wong's laboratory believes that a central defect in human cancer lies in the deregulation of cell cycle control. The researchers seek to establish a molecular database of cell cycle regulatory genes deregulated in head and neck cancer and to understand the molecular and biochemical pathways of these genes are of prime interest. Using differential expression screening assays, Wong's laboratory has identified a number of cellular genes that are differentially expressed in squamous cell carcinoma.

Wong and his colleagues have initiated collaborative interactions between the Dental Research Institute, the Division of Head and Neck Surgery/Otolaryngology, the School of Engineering and the School of Public Health at UCLA to partner and jointly advance the research agenda of oral fluid-based molecular diagnostics for head and neck cancer detection. Using the approaches described above, they have identified the expression of cellular genes to be uniquely associated with oral squamous cell carcinoma development. Their current challenge is to validate and translate these basic science findings into state of the art clinical diagnostics, using oral fluids as the diagnostic medium. The outcome of the proposed research will lead to the development of portable, real time, efficient, automated, highly accurate, sensitive and low cost detection of diagnostic analytes in oral fluid applicable for any form of human cancer.

Highlighted Publications

Li Y, Elashoff D, Oh M, Sinha U, St John MA, Zhou X, Abemayor E, Wong DT. Serum circulating human mRNA profiling and its utility for oral cancer detection. J Clin Oncol. 2006; 24(11): 1754-60.

Li Y, St John MA, Zhou X, Kim Y, Sinha U, Jordan RC, Eisele D, Abemayor E, Elashoff D, Park NH, Wong DT. Salivary transcriptome diagnostics for oral cancer detection. Clin Cancer Res. 2004; 10(24): 8442-50.

Shintani S, Ohyama H, Zhang X, McBride J, Matsuo K, Tsuji T, Todd R, Lerman M, Wong DTW. p12DOC-1 is a novel CDK2-associated protein. Mol Cell Biol. 2000; 20:6300-6307.

Tsuji T, Duh F-M, Latif FL, Popescu NC, Zimonjic DB, McBride J, Matsuo KM, Ohyama H, Todd RT, Nagata EN, Terakado N, Sasaki A, Matsumura T, Lerman MI, Wong DTW. Cloning, mapping, expression, function and mutation analyses of the human ortholog of the hamster putative tumor suppressor gene doc-1. J Biol Chem. 1998; 273: 6704-6709.

Wong DTW, Weller PF, Galli SJ, Elovic A, Rand TH, Gallagher GT, Chiang T, Chou MY, Matossian K, McBride J, Todd R. Human eosinophils express transforming growth factor-alpha. J Exp Med. 1990; 172: 673-81.