ICTS Honors Surgeon, Entrepreneur

By Anna Lynn Spitzer

Irvine, CA, May 20th, 2013 -- Dr. Brian J.F. Wong, a prominent UC Irvine surgeon, professor, researcher and entrepreneur, has been named the 2013 Clinical Translational Scientist of the Year by UCI’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.

Dr. Brian Wong: surgeon, professor, researcher, entrepreneur.

Wong, an otolaryngologist/head and neck surgeon, co-founded Praxis BioSciences nearly three years ago with UCI biomedical engineer Joon You. The medical device company, headquartered in Calit2’s TechPortal technology/business incubator, focuses on surgical, diagnostic and therapeutic products for ear, nose, throat and upper airways disorders.

Wong came to UCI in 1990 to complete his residency, followed by a facial plastic and reconstructive surgery fellowship. He joined the faculty in 1997 and currently serves as professor, vice-chair and fellowship director of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He is also a Beckman Laser Institute professor, directing a research lab focused on new ways to reshape and regenerate living tissue. His research funding, much of it from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, exceeds $12 million to date.

Wong is the recipient of numerous professional honors and awards, including the Clinical Innovator Award from the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award, and the Sir Harold Delf Gillies Award from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. In 2011, he received the inaugural Stanley van den Noort and Elliot Frohman Mentoring Award from the UC Irvine School of Medicine.
He also has been named one of America’s Top Doctors, a Best Doctor in America, a Physician of Excellence, an Orange County “Top Doctor” and a Fellow of the Society for Optics and Photonics, an honor accorded to less than 1 percent of the society’s membership.

“There are very few physicians with the breadth of research interest and creativity that Dr. Wong has, and even fewer have the ability to work across a broad range of disciplines and topics,” said the ICTS Clinical Translational Scientist of the Year announcement. “Rarely does one find an individual with the breadth of knowledge and expertise to understand both the fundamental science and technology in an emerging field [as well as] user needs… He is uniquely positioned because of his expertise in engineering and medicine.”

Wong said he is “deeply honored” by the ICTS award. “It came as quite a surprise because UCI has so many individuals working in moving ideas from bench to bedside.”

He will be honored at the fifth annual ICTS “People Who Make a Difference in Human Health” awards dinner on June 3 at the UCI Student Center Pacific Ballroom.