Washington University School of Medicine

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Michael Wong, MD, PhD

Dr. Wong is the Allen P. and Josephine B. Green Professor of Pediatric Neurology, in Neurology, and Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology and Pediatrics at Washington University. He is a board-certified pediatric neurologist, specializing in clinical pediatric epilepsy and basic epilepsy research. As part of the Pediatric Epilepsy Center, Dr. Wong's clinical responsibilities include outpatient epilepsy clinic and inpatient neurology attending, as well as interpretation of EEG and long-term video-EEG monitoring studies at St. Louis Children's Hospital. He also serves as Director of the Washington University Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic, one of several recognized specialty clinics devoted to patients with Tuberous Sclerosis in the United States. Dr. Wong is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with Special Qualification in Child Neurology, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with Special Qualification in Clinical Neurophysiology, and the American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology (Epilepsy Monitoring Track). He is named in the Best Doctors in America for Child Neurology and has been awarded a number of federal and private research grants to study epilepsy. He received the Dreifuss-Penry Epilepsy Award from the American Academy of Neurology in 2009.

Dr. Wong's research laboratory performs studies on basic mechanisms of epilepsy. One major focus of his research involves investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of epileptogenesis within the brain that cause epilepsy to develop. His research has identified specific defects in specialized brain cells, astrocytes, involving glutamate and potassium buffering, as potential causes for seizures in a mouse model of the genetic epilepsy, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). Remarkably, his lab has been able to prevent epilepsy and the associated brain abnormalities in the mice using a drug, rapamycin, targeting specific cell signaling pathways that are dysregulated in TSC. His lab has also found similar results with rapamycin in models of acquired epilepsy due to brain injury. A second main area of his research involves studying seizure-induced brain injury, including both lethal (neuronal cell death) and non-lethal mechanisms of cell injury. Most recently his laboratory has utilized modern multiphoton imaging techniques to directly visualize acute changes in dendritic structure of neurons with time-lapse imaging in living mice. Mechanisms of this seizure-induced injury to dendrites and dendritic spines related to modulation of the cytoskeletal proteins have begun to be elucidated. Further information on Dr. Wong's laboratory research can be found at: http://neuro.wustl.edu/research/researchlabs/wonglaboratory/

Medical Training

Originally from New York, Dr. Wong received his undergraduate degree in biology from Princeton University in 1987 and a PhD in neuroscience and MD degrees from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1995. Following a pediatric internship at Southwestern, he came to St. Louis for adult and pediatric neurology residency training at Barnes Hospital and St. Louis Children's Hospital. In 2001, he completed a fellowship in pediatric epilepsy at St. Louis Children's Hospital and was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine. He is now an epileptologist in the Pediatric Epilepsy Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital and is also involved in clinical and basic science research in epilepsy.

Selected Publications

See my complete bibliography.

  • Wong M. A critical review of mTOR inhibitors and epilepsy: from basic science to clinical trials. Expert Rev Neurotherap 2013; 13:657-669.

  • Guo DG, Zeng LH, Brody DL, Wong M.  Rapamycin attenuates the development of posttraumatic epilepsy in a mouse model of traumatic brain injury.  PLoS One 2013; e64078.

  • McDaniel SS, Rensing NR, Thio LL, Yamada KA, Wong M.  The ketogenic diet inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway.  Epilepsia 2011; 52:e7-e11. PMID: 21371020

  • Zeng LH, Rensing NR, Zhang B, Gutmann DH, Gambello MJ, Wong M.  Tsc2 gene inactivation causes a more severe epilepsy phenotype than Tsc1 inactivation in a mouse model of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.  Hum Mol Genet 2011; 20:445-454.

  • Zeng LH, Rensing NR, Wong M.  The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway mediates epileptogenesis in a model of temporal lobe epilepsy.  J Neurosci 2009; 29:6964-6972.

  • Zeng LH, Xu L, Gutmann DH, Wong M.  Rapamycin prevents epilepsy in a mouse model of tuberous sclerosis complex.  Ann Neurol 2008; 63:444-453.

  • Zeng LH, Xu, L, Rensing NR, Sinatra PM, Rothman SM, Wong M.  Kainate seizures cause acute dendritic spine loss and actin depolymerizationin vivo.  J Neurosci 2007; 27:11604-11613

  • Rensing NR, Ouyang Y, Yang XF, Yamada KA, Rothman SM, Wong M. In vivoimaging of dendritic spines during electrographic seizures.  Ann Neurol 2005; 58:888-898.

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