Dr. Dean Foster Wong

SLI Title

Professor, Department of Radiology and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Dr. Dean Foster Wong is a Professor in the Johns Hopkins Medicine Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. He also serves as Radiology Vice Chair for Research Administration and Training, and Director of the Section of High Resolution Brain PET Imaging within the Division of Nuclear Medicine.  Dr. Wong received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Western Ontario, and completed his M.D. at the University of Toronto in 1977. After an internship at Sunnybrook Medical Center in Toronto, he undertook a residency in anatomic pathology at Princess Margaret Hospital of the Ontario Cancer Institute, and a subsequent residency in radiology at the University of Toronto. In 1980, he came to Johns Hopkins as a research and clinical fellow in the Radiology Division of Nuclear Medicine. He was soon promoted to Assistant Professor of Radiology, and in 1987 became an Associate Professor. He received a doctorate in Radiation Health Sciences from Hopkins in 1990.  Over the course of his career, Dr. Wong has been a leader in the design, development and use of PET scanning for the study of brain chemistry. He has been primary investigator on numerous federal and private grants, has authored or coauthored more than 200 articles and 50 book chapters and essays, and has been an active consultant to pharmaceutical companies.  In 2013, the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging bestowed upon him the Paul C. Aebersold Award for Outstanding Achievement in Basic Nuclear Medicine Science.

Throughout his career, Dr. Wong has used PET scanning to uncover key insights into brain chemistry and to identify receptors for the major neurotransmitters. He oversaw the first dopamine PET receptor imaging in human beings; led the first study suggesting elevations of so-called D2 dopamine receptors in schizophrenia, and how dopamine is transported in and out of cells; and acted as principal investigator on one of the first studies to document cocaine craving, as measured by nerve cell dopamine release. Additionally, his research team demonstrated elevated dopamine release in Tourette’s syndrome. Recently, the Wong lab has collaborated with Avid Radiopharmaceuticals of Philadelphia on the first study using FDA-approved F-18 amyloid radiopharmaceutical imaging in humans to help map out the role of amyloid plaques in large groups of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Affiliated Research