Dean Foster Wong

Background photo from JHU Medicine Department of Radiology and Radiological Science


Professor, Johns Hopkins Medicine Department of Radiology and Radiological Science
Radiology Vice Chair, Research Administration and Training
Director, Section of High Resolution Brain PET Imaging, Division of Nuclear Medicine

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 D2 dopamine receptors in schizophrenia, and how dopamine is transported in and out of cells.



Brain Initiative Grant


Contact Information

Phone: 410-955-8433
Address: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Department of Neuroscience
1003 Wood Basic Science Building
725 N. Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21205




MD (University of Toronto)

PhD (Johns Hopkins University)



In vivo Neurochemistry with PET, SPECT and MRI

The use of novel methods in positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) have, in the past few decades, been used to study a wide variety of neuropsychiatric illness, basic brain chemistry and pharmacology. Our focus is on the design, development and application of radiopharmaceuticals imaged PET and SPECT for the study of in vivo brain chemistry. Our research extends from collaborations in basic chemistry through pharmacology, imaging of small and large animals and healthy human subjects as well as the study of volunteers with neuropsychiatric illness.

Current projects in our laboratory include PET/MRI studies in Tourette’s Syndrome, dementia, alcoholism, cocaine abuse, schizophrenia, as well as the discovery and development of CNS drugs. We also collaborate on several small animal imaging studies on Alzheimer’s, Rett’s Syndrome, ADHD, obesity. Our lab does most of our PET research on the high resolution research tomograph (HRRT), one of only 15 scanners of the highest resolution for brain imaging (2-3 mm) in the world and associated high end computing clusters. We do our research with approximately 15 scientists, mathematical modelers, chemists, psychologists, psychiatrists and nuclear medicine physicians.



Munro C, McCaul M, Wong DF, Oswald L, Zhou Y, Kuwabara H, Choi L, Brasic J,  Wand, G. Sex differences in striatal dopamine release in healthy adults. Biological Psychiatry,       59:966-974, 2006.

Munro, C.A., McCaul, M.E., Oswald, L.M., Wong DF, Zhou, Y., Brasic, J., Kuwabara, H., Kumar, A., Alexander, M., Ye, W., Wand, G.S. Striatal dopamine release and family history of alcoholism. Alcohol Clin and Exp Res 30(7):1143-51, 2006.

Zhou Y, Chen MK,  Endres CJ, Ye W, Brasic JR, Alexander M, Crabb AH, Guilarte TR, Wong DF. An Extended Simplified Reference Tissue Model for Quantification of Single Dynamic PET Studies with Amphetamine Challenge.  NeuroImage 33(2) 550-63, 2006.

Horti AG, Fan H, Kuwabara H, Hilton J, Ravert HT, Holt DP, Alexander M, Kumar A, Rahmim A, Scheffel U, Wong DF, Dannals RF. JHU75528, a Radiotracer for PET Imaging of CB1 Cannabinoid Receptors. J Nucl Med 47(10) 1689-96, 2006.

Zhou Y, Resnick SM, Ye W, Fan H, Holt DP, Klunk WE, Mathis CA, Dannals R, Wong DF. Using a reference tissue model with spatial constraint to quantify [11C] Pittsburgh compound B PET for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Neuroimage 36(2):291-305, 2007

Rahmim A, Dinelle K, Cheng JC, Shilov MA, Segars WP, Lidstone SC, Blinder S, Rousset OG, Vajihollahi H, Tsui BMW, Wong DF, and Sossi V. Accurate event-driven motion compensation in high-resolution PET incorporating scattered and random events. IEEE Trans. Med. Imag., vol. 27, pp. 1018-1033, 2008.

Rahmim A, Cheng JC, Dinelle K, M. Shilov MA, Segars WP, Rousset OG, Tsui BMW, Wong DF and Sossi V. System matrix modeling of externally tracked motion Nucl. Med. Comm., In

Rousset OG, Collins DL, Rahmim A, Wong DF. Design and implementation of an automated partial-volume correction in PET: Application to dopamine receptor quantification in the normal human striatum. J Nucl Med 49:1-10, 2008.

Guilarte T, Burton NC, McGlothan JL, Verina T, Zhou Y, Alexander M, Pham L, Griswol M, Wong DF, Syversen and Schneider JS. Impairment of nigrostriatal dopamine neurotransmission by manganese is mediated by pre-synaptic mechanism(s): Implications to manganese-induced parkinsonism. J Neurochem 107:1236-1247, 2008.

Wong DF, Kuwabara H, Schretlen D, Bonson K, Zhou Y, Nandi A, Brasic J, Kimes A, Maris M, Kumar A, Contoreggi C, Links J, Ernst M, Rousset O, Zukin S, Grace A, Lee J, Rohde C, Jasinski D, Gjedde A, London E. Increased Occupancy of Dopamine Receptors in Human Striatum During Cue-Elicited Cocaine Craving. Neuropsychopharmacology 31:2716-2727, 2006.

Wong DF, Gründer G, Brašic JR. Brain imaging research: does the science serve clinical practice? International Review of Psychiatry 2007;19(5):1-13.

Wong DF. Imaging in drug discovery, preclinical, and early clinical development. J Nucl Med 49(6): 26N-28N, 2008.

Wong DF, Brašic J, Singer H, Schretlen D, Kuwabara H, Zhou Y, Nandi A, Maris M, Alexander M, Ye W, Rousset O, Kumar A, Grace A. Mechanisms of Dopamine and Serotonin in Tourette Syndrome: Clues from an in vivo Neurochemistry Study with PET, Neuropsychopharmacology 33: 1239-1251, 2008.

Wong DF, Tauscher J, Gruender G.The Role of Imaging in Proof of Concept for CNS Drug Discovery and Development Neuropsychopharmacology Reviews (2009) 34, 187-203.

Wong DF, Rosenberg PB, Zhou Y,  Ross J, Edell S, A. Kumar A, Raymont V, Ravert HT, Dannals RF, Nandi A, Brasic J, Ye W, Alexander M, Hilton J, Lyketsos C, Kung HF, Joshi AD, Skovronsky DM and  Pontecorvo MJ. In Vivo Imaging of Amyloid Deposition in Alzheimer’s Disease using the Novel Radioligand [18F]AV-45. J Nucl Med (Accepted for publication) 2009.

Wong DF. Is getting older all that rewarding? Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Sep 30;105(39):14751-2.

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