Stephen Wong, Ph.D.

Founding Chairman for Department of Systems Medicine and Bioengineering, Houston Methodist Research Institute

Dr. Stephen Wong is the Director of the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Center for Bioinformatics Research and Imaging for Neuroscience (BRAIN) and the Chair of Systems Medicine and Bioengineering Department, Houston Methodist Research Institute.

Dr. Wong is a specialist in medical imaging and systems biology and their applications to neurological disease. He is a hybrid scientist with career highlights including: leading teams that automated the world’s first VLSI 1MB computer memory production (AT&T) and optoelectronics devices production (Hewlett Packard), developing the world’s largest on-line brokerage trading system (Charles Schwab), contributing to the world’s first hospital-wide PACS in academic medical centers (UCSF) and the 90’s NIH Human Brain Project Program, and directing product development and implementing one of the largest radiology information systems in Europe (Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris, France) at Philips Healthcare, Royal Philips Electronics. While on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Wong founded the Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair’s Center for Bioinformatics, and the Functional and Molecular Imaging Center, including the creation of the first cyclotron facilities and preclinical optical imaging laboratory, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Partner Healthcare. 

Dr. Wong has dedicated the second part of his career to solving disease problems, applying engineering principles to the identification of new disease treatments. He has broad, interdisciplinary research experience in multi-scale imaging, biomedical informatics, computer science, and molecular and cellular biology to identify new drug targets, biomarkers, and signaling crosstalk for fast track drug repositioning and discovery. His ability to integrate an extremely diverse skillset and domain knowledge uniquely situates him to combat complex diseases like Alzheimer’s.

At Houston Methodist, work in the PI’s lab has focused on generation of disruptive technologies that seek to make disease cures faster and more efficient. This AD work has focused on two primary objectives: (1) modeling phenotypic data to deliver a comprehensive understanding of the wide array of genetic and molecular interactions involved in normal brain function and neurodegeneration and (2) fast, efficient identification of known or shelved drugs and drug combinations for treatment.

Funded Research

Project Description Researchers Funding
Use of High-Content Drug Screening and Systems Biology Modeling on a Novel 3-D Cell Model to Repurpose Known Drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease

Taking advantage of recent research progress, we propose to carry out a compound screen to find potential drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The screen will use a revolutionary 3-D stem cell model, recently developed by Drs. Rudy Tanzi and Doo Yeon Kim at Massachusetts General Hospital, which for the first time faithfully recapitulated major pathological hallmarks of AD in a dish. The screen also will use the previously developed neuronal image processing software packages, which are able to automatically and accurately assess the cell phenotype to evaluate the compound effect.

2015 to 2016