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Young Investigator: Derek Wong, PhD

By November 22, 2022December 18th, 2023Awards & Grants, NF1, Science & Research

The Young Investigator Award (YIA) provides two-year salary support to early career NF researchers to help them get established as independent NF investigators. Since its inception, several YIAs have made groundbreaking research findings and notable publications through this program, and many have advanced to become leaders in the NF research and clinical communities.

We’re pleased to introduce some of these researchers from the latest class of awardees: Derek Wong tells us about his research and being part of the community.


What are you hoping to learn from this project?

In this project, we are aiming to identify signatures in the blood of NF1 patients that can be used to detect MPNST at an early stage. MPNST is a very aggressive tumor, thus the earlier we can catch them, the better the outcomes.

What are your long-term research goals?

My long-term research goals are to pursue translational cancer research with a focus of adapting cutting edge genomics to the clinic.

What do you like to do when you're not in the lab?

Outside of the lab, I am passionate about rock climbing and baking!

What does it mean to you to receive this funding from CTF?

To me, receiving this funding from CTF means that the research that I’m pursuing is important and impactful for the NF community. It also will allow my lab to fund bigger datasets for more powerful analyses.


The Children’s Tumor Foundation Discovery Fund is an $8-10 million initiative supporting the Foundation’s longstanding commitment to driving and funding the best and most promising neurofibromatosis (NF) research. Discovery Fund researchers will focus on NF drug development, including basic science to pre-clinical and early-stage clinical trials, with the goal of developing new treatments and potential cures for NF1, NF2, MPNSTs and schwannomatosis.

Learn more about the Young Investigator Awards here.