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Wellington Pham

Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering

Intellectual Neighborhoods

Research Focus

Our ongoing investigation emphasizes on cell therapy using a transgenic and preclinical mouse model. We have employed integrated nanotechnology-based platforms to achieve a multifunctional and multiplexed nanovaccine delivery system for cancer therapy. Aside from highlighting the contrast properties and carrier features available in nanotechnology, the overall goals of our studies are to (i) provide microanatomical and functional imaging feedback of the therapeutic process and (ii) realize an approach for longitudinal treatment and monitoring. In another project, we developed fluorescence nanoparticles for detection of colorectal cancer using fluorescence colonoscopy. Currently, the nanoparticles are prepared in GMP/GLP facilities in Japan.

Our second project focuses on the development of a novel synthetic chemistry approach to the generation of probes intended specifically for imaging Alzheimer's disease (AD). The significance of this work lies in the development of a versatile vehicle which, after being loaded with imaging cargo, can be delivered to the brain. Furthermore, our laboratory currently employes HTS and earosolized methods to facilitate the discovery of novel chemical genetics for treatment of AD. Considering the tremendous contribution made by imaging in understanding the pathogenesis of AD, the results obtained through this research will have a strong influence on current efforts to find reliable biomarkers of this disease.


McClure R, Ong H, Zhu M, Li B, Dawes M, Jerome WG, Gore JC, Pham W. Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease by Aerosol Delivery to The Brain. J Alzheimer’s Disease 2017, 55, 797-811.

Li B, Siuta M, Bright V, Gilchuk P, Koktysh D, Matlock B, Dumas M, Zhu M, Holt A, Stec D, Deng S, Savage P, Joyce S, Pham W. Improved Proliferation of Antigen-Specific Cytolytic T Lymphocytes Using a Multimodal Nanovaccine. Nanomedicine 2016, 11, 6103-21.

Sakuma S, Kumagai H, Shimosato M, Kitamura T, Mohri K, Ikejima T, Hiwatari KI, Koike S, Tobita E, McClure R, Gore JC and Pham W. Toxicity studies of coumarin 6-encapsulated polystyrene nanospheres conjugated with peanut agglutinin and poly(N-vinylacetamide) as a colonoscopic imaging agent in rats. Nanomedicine 2015, 11, 1227-36.

McClure R, Yanagisawa D, Stec D, Koktysh D, Xhillari D, Jaeger R, Chekmenev E, Tooyama I, Gore JC, Pham W. Inhalable curcumin: offering the potential for translation to imaging and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimer’s Disease 2015, 44, 283-295.

Sakuma S, Yu J, Quang T, Hiwatar KI, Kumagai H, Kao S, Holt A, Erskine J, McClure R, Siuta             M, Zhu M, Kitamura T, Tobita E, Koike S, Wilson K, Richards-Kortum R, Liu E, Washington K, Omary R, Gore JC, Pham W. Fluorescence-based endoscopic imaging of Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen to improve early detection of colorectal cancer, Int J Cancer 2015, 136, 1095-103.

McClure RA, Chumbley CW, Reyzer ML, Wilson K, Caprioli RM, Gore JC, Pham W, Identification of promethazine as an amyloid-binding molecule using a fluoresecence high-throughput assay and MALDI imaging mass spectrometry. NeuroImage Clinical. 2013, 2, 620-629.

Kumagai H, Pham W, Kataoka M, Hiwatari KI, McBride J, Wilson K, Tachikawa H, Ryoji K, Nakamura K, Liu E, Gore J, Sakuma S, Multifunctional Nanobeacon for Imaging Thomsen-Friedenreich-Associated Colorectal Cancer, Int J Cancer. 2013, 132, 2107-17.

Kobukai S, Baheza R, Xie J, Virostko J, Gillman A, Koktysh D, Kernes D, Jerome J, Koes M,             Gore J, Pham W. Development of Magnetic Nanoparticles for in vivo Imaging the Migration of Dendritic Cells. Magn Reson Med. 2010, 63, 1383-1390.

Nolting D, Nickels M, Price R, Gore JC, and Pham W, Synthesis of Bicyclo[5.3.0]Azulene Derivatives. Nat Protoc. 2009, 4: 1113-1117.

Pham W, Xie JP, Gore JC. Tracking the Migration of Dendritic Cells by In vivo Optical Imaging. Neoplasia. 2007; 9 (12), 1130-1137.


Professor Pham received his B.S. in Chemistry with honors from the University of Toledo and Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry in the same university. Following two postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA Medical School and Harvard Medical School in PET chemistry and molecular imaging, respectively; in 2005, he was an Instructor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Radiology at Vanderbilt Medical School. He is a member of the editorial advisory boards for the Journal of Nanomedicine and Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.