Thomas D. Wang, MD, PhD
Photo: Thomas D. Wang



Elected 2009
Dr. Wang has pioneered the use of fluorescence-labeled affinity peptides to detect over expressed cellular and tissue targets in vivo. This novel approach can be used to identify molecular changes in the mucosa of the digestive tract as a new strategy for the early detection and prevention of cancer. Peptides can help localize disease that would not otherwise be seen on conventional endoscopy for guiding tissue biopsy. These ligands have tremendous potential for clinical use as molecular probes to target protein expression because of their high clonal diversity, small size, compatibility with fluorescence dyes, and rapid binding kinetics. Future development is promising for revealing the functional properties of tissue. Furthermore, he has challenged existing paradigms in high resolution microscopy by co-developing the first fiber coupled dual axes confocal microscope for performing in situ histological evaluation of tissue. This novel confocal microscope design uses off-axis illumination and collection of light to overcome the deleterious effects of tissue scattering and to achieve mucosal penetration. This innovative approach provides superior dynamic range so that vertical cross-sectional images that mimic the preferred pathologist’s view can be obtained with a miniature, endoscope compatible instrument. In addition, he has developed the first video endoscope that is sensitive to fluorescence for identify pre-malignant mucosa over large surface areas that are typically found in the digestive tract. This approach has been patented, commercialized, and developed for clinical use, and is widely cited in the literature as a major impetus for the accelerated convergence of fluorescence spectroscopy and endoscopy.