Biomedical Research Education & Training
Faculty Member

Pham, Wellington, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Lab Url:

Phone Number: (615) 936-7621

Email Address:

Pham, Wellington's picture
Academic history
B.S., University of Toledo
Ph.D., University of Toledo
Postdoc, UCLA
Postdoc, Harvard Medical School
Instructor in Radiology, Harvard Medical School

Office Address   Mailing Address

AAA-3117 Medical Center North/VUIIS

1161 21st Avenue South MCN AA-1105 37232-2310

Research Keywords
Molecular Imaging Probes, Cancer Research, Drug Delivery

Research Specialty
Develop molecular probes for detection of cancer using Optical, MRI and PET imaging modalities

Research Description
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.

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 nanosphere conjugated with peanut agglutinin and poly(N-vinylacetamide) as a colonoscopic imaging agent in rats. Nanomedine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, 2015 (in press)

Richard McClure, Daijiro Yanagisawa, Donald Stec, Dave Abdollahian, Dmitry Koktysh, Dritan Xhillari, Rudolph Jaeger, Gregg Stanwood, Eduard Chekmenev, Ikuo Tooyama, John C. Gore and Wellington Pham. Inhalable Curcumin: Offering the potential for translation to imaging and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 44, 283-295, 2015

Shinji Sakuma, James Yu, Timothy Quang, Ken-ichiro Hiwatari, Hironori Kumagai, Stephanie Kao, Alex Holt, Jalysa Erskind, Richard McClure, Michael Siuta, Tokio Kitamura, Seiji Koike, Kevin Wilson, Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Kay Washington, Reed Omary, John Gore and Wellington Pham. Fluorescence-based endoscopic imaging of Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen to improve early detection of colorectal cancer. Int J Cancer(136), 1095-103, 2015

Tokio Kitamura, Shinji Sakuma, Haruki Higashino, Yoshie Masaoka, Makoto Kataoka, Shinji Yamashita, Ken-ichiro Hiwatari, Hironori Kumagai, Naoki Morimoto, Seiji Koike, Etsuo Tobita, Robert M. Hoffman, John C. Gore and Wellington Pham. In vivo imaging of colorectal tumors on the roden instestinal mucosa by lectin-immobilized fluorescent nanospheres. Contrast Media and Molecular Imaging, 2014 ( in press)

Roman V. Shchepin, Wellington Pham, Eduard Y. Chekmenev. Dephosphorylation and biodistribution of 1-13C-phospholactate in vivo. Journal of Labelled Compounds and Radiopharmaceuticals, 57, 517-24, 2014

Richard A McClure, Chad W Chumbley, Michelle Reyzer, Kevin Wilson, Richard M Caprioli, John C Gore and Wellington Pham. Identification of promethazine as an amyloid-binding molecule using a fluorescence high-throughput assay and MALDI imaging mass spectrometry. NeuroImage: Clinical, 2, 620-629, 2013

Friedman H, Holt AT, Pham W. Research Highlights: Highlights from the latest articles in nanomedicine. Nanomedicine, 8, 1909-11, 2013

Kumagai H, Pham W, Kataoka M, Hiwatari KI, McBride J, Wilson K, Tachikawa H, Kimura R, Nakamura K, Liu E, Gore J, Sakuma S. Multifunctional Nanobeacon for Imaging Thomsen-Friedenreich Antigen-Associated Colorectal Cancer. International Journal of Cancer, 132, 2107-2117, 2013

Shinji Toki, Reed A. Omary, Kevin Wilson, John C. Gore, R. Stokes Peebles, Jr., Wellington Pham. A comprehensive analysis of transfection-assisted delivery of iron oxide nanoparticles to dendritic cells. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 9, 1235-44, 2013

Xie J, Wang C, Virostko J, Manning HC, Pham W, Bauer J, Gore JC. A novel reporter system for molecular imaging and high-througput screening of anticancer drugs. Chembiochem, 14, 1494-503, 2013

Nolting D, Nickels M, Tantawy MN, Yu JYH, Xie JP, Peterson TE, Crews BA, Marnett L, Gore JC and Pham W. Convergent synthesis and evaluation of 18F-labeled azulene COX2 probes for cancer imaging. Frontiers in Cancer Imaging and Diagnosis, 2, 207, 2012

Nolting DD, Nickels ML, Guo N, Pham W. Molecular Imaging Probe Development: A Chemistry Perspective. Am J Nucl Med Mol Imaging, 2, 273-311, 2012

Wellington Pham. Quantitative Analysis and Safety Issues of Nanotechnology in Healthcare Research. J Mol Biomark Diagn, 3(5), 1000e111, 2012

Mackay, PS, Kremers GJ, Kobukai S, Cobb JG, Kuley A, Rosenthal SJ, Koktysh DS, Gore JC, Pham W. MULTIMODAL IMAGING OF DENDRITIC CELLS USING A NOVEL HYBRID MAGNETO-OPTICAL NANOPROBE. Nanomedicine:Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 7, 489-496, 2011

Nolting DD, Gore JC and Pham W. Near-Infrared Dyes: Probe Development and Applications in Optical Molecular Imaging. Curr Org Synth, 8, 521-534, 2011

Sakuma S, Higashino H, Oshitani H, Masaoka Y, Kataoka M, Yamashita S, Hiwatari KI, Tachikawa H, Kimura R, Nakamura K, Kumagai H, Gore JC, Pham w. Essence of affinity and specificity of peanut agglutinin-immobilized fluorescent nanospheres with surface poly(N-vinylacetamide) chains for colorectal cancer. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 79, 537-43, 2011

Sakuma S, Kataoka M, Higashino H, Yano T, Masaoka Y, Yamashita S, Hiwatari K, Kimura R, Nakamura K, Kumagai H, Gore J, and Pham W. A Potential of Peanut Agglutinin-Immobilized Fluorescent Nanospheres as a Safe Candidate of Diagnostic Drugs for Colonoscopy . European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 42(4), 340-347, 2011

Sakuma S, Yamashita S, Hiwatari KI, Hoffman RM, Pham W. Lectin-immobilized fluorescent nanospheres for targeting to colorectal cancer from a physicochemical perspective. Curr Drug Discov Technol, 8, 367-78, 2011

Sampson UK, Perati RR, Prins PA, Pham W, Liu Z, Harell F, Linton MF, Gore JC, Kon V, Fazio S. Quantitative estimates of variability of in vivo ultrasound imaging measurements of mouse aorta important for studies of abdominal aortic aneurysms and related arterial diseases. J Ultras Med, 30, 773-784, 2011

Dmitry Koktysh, Vanessa Bright, Wellington Pham. Fluorescent Magnetic Hybrid Nanoprobe for Multimodal Bioimaging. Nanotechnology, 22, 275606, 2011

Kobuka S, Kremers GJ, Cobb JG, Baheza R, Xie JP, Kuley A, Zhu M, Pham W. Induction of Antitumor Immunity by Dendritic Cells Loaded with Membrane Translocating MUCIN-1 Peptide Antigen. Translational Oncology, 4(1), 1-8, 2011

Kobukai S, Baheza R, Cobb J, Virostko J, Xie JP, Gillman A, Koktysh D, Kerns D, Does M, Gore JC and Pham W. Magnetic Nanoparticles for Imaging Dendritic Cells. Magn Reson Med, 63, 1383-1390, 2010

Nickels M, Xie JP, Cobb J, Gore JC and Pham W. Functionalization of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles With a Versatile Epoxy Amine Linker. J Mater Chem, 20, 4776-4780, 2010

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

Pham W, Kobukai S, Hotta C, Gore J. Dendritic Cells: Therapy and Imaging. Expert Opin Biol Ther, 9(5), 539-564, 2009

Pham W, Cassell L, Gillman A, Koktysh D and Gore JC. A Near-Infrared Dye for Multichannel Imaging. Chem Commun, 16, 1895-1897, 2008

Medarova Z, Pham W, Farrar C, Petkova V, Moore A. In Vivo Imaging of siRNA Delivery and Silencing in Tumors. Nat Med, 13(3), 372-377, 2007

Pham W, Xie JP and Gore JC. Tracking The Migration of Dendritic Cells By In Vivo Optical Imaging. Neoplasia, 9(12), 1130-1137, 2007

Medarova Z, Pham W, Kim Y, Dai G, Moore A. In Vivo Imaging of Tumor Response to Therapy Using a Dual-Modality Imaging Strategy. Int. J. Cancer, 118, 2796-2802, 2006

Pham W, Pantazopoulos P, Moore A. Imaging Farnesyl Protein Transferase Using a Topologically Activated Probe. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 128(36), 11736-11737, 2006

Pham W, Medarova Z, Moore A. . Synthesis and application of a water-soluble near-infrared dye for cancer detection using optical imaging. Bioconjugate Chem., 16, 735-740, 2005

Pham W, Zhao BQ, Lo EH, Medarova Z, Rosen B, Moore A. . Crossing the blood-brain barrier: a potential application of myristoylated polyarginine for in vivo neuroimaging. Neuroimage, 28, 287-292, 2005

Chen JW, Pham W, Weissleder R, Bogdanov A, Jr. Human myeloperoxidase: a potential target for molecular MR imaging in atherosclerosis. Magn. Reson. Med. , 52, 1021-1028, 2004

Pham W, Choi Y, Weissleder R, Tung CH. Developing a peptide-based near-infrared molecular probe for protease sensing. Bioconjugate Chem. (Special feature on imaging chemistry), 15, 1403-1407, 2004

Pham W, Kircher MF, Weissleder R, Tung CH. Enhancing membrane permeability by fatty acylation of oligoarginine peptides. Chembiochem. , 5, 1148-1151, 2004

Pham W, Lai WF, Weissleder R, Tung CH. High efficiency synthesis of a bioconjugatable near-infrared fluorochrome. Bioconjugate Chem. , 14, 1048-1051, 2003

Pham W, Weissleder R, Tung C-H. A practical approach for the preparation of monofunctional azulenyl squaraine dye. Tetrahedron Lett. , 44, 3975-3978, 2003

Pham W, Weissleder R, Tung C-H. An azulene dimer as a near-infrared quencher. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. , 41, 3659-3662, 2002

Pham W, Weissleder R, Tung C-H. Intermolecular [8+2] cycloaddition reactions of 2H-3-methoxycarbonylcyclohepta[b]furan-2-one with vinyl ethers. Tetrahedron Lett. , 43, 19-20, 2001

Krishnan V, Pham W, Messer WS, Jr., Peseckis SM. First fatty acylated dipeptides to affect muscarinic receptor ligand binding. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. , 9, 3363-3368, 1999

Postdoctoral Position Available

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