It's a problem that has fascinated him for more than 15 years, since he first enrolled in a biomedical science degree program at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and later joined the faculty there.
And with an aging population, it's one that will only worsen as time goes on.
"This is a crisis we need to face," he said.
As his work progressed, interaction with Alzheimer's patients fueled the sense of urgency behind Dr. Wang's research, which aims to provide new ideas for the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's, MS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
"All the current approaches are symptom-alleviating," Dr. Wang said. "There's no cure."
Harriet and Lazier Singer
Dr. Wang has been named the inaugural Harriet and Lazier Singer Professor of Experimental Neuroscience within the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience. The professorship was created to honor the Singers, who were longtime supporters of neuroscientific research at UNMC.
"Our family is honored to continue the tradition set by our parents of helping others through their commitment to supporting research in neuroscience to bring cutting-edge treatments from the research laboratory to patients," said Sandy Kutler, daughter of the Singers. "We are grateful to have Dr. Wang join the strong team at UNMC as the Harriet and Lazier Singer Professor."
Dr. Wang came to UNMC from Case Western University in part because of the robust neuroinflammation component in the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience and the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, led by Howard Gendelman, MD.
"Neuroinflammation is a common feature in almost all measures of a neurodegenerative disease," he said. "So based on the strong program here, we hope to find opportunities for more collaboration."
Another reason UNMC was attractive, he said, was the opportunity to take a leading role in the establishment of a strong program researching neurodegeneration.
Dr. Wang arrives at UNMC with an impressive research portfolio, supported by the National Institutes of Health and other leading organizations, that includes an exciting study on a newly identified gene that could potentially be suppressed to slow the advance of Alzheimer's disease. His lab's other research work includes studies on the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in diseases such as Alzheimer's, as well as how it may contribute to muscle atrophy, and exploring the role of a DNA-binding protein called TDP-43 in many neurodegenerative diseases.
"Dr. Xinglong Wang is a perfect addition to a growing dynamic neuroscience department," Dr. Gendelman said. "Xinglong is resourceful, energetic, motivated, intelligent and a 'true' team player. Each of these attributes and more are rolled into a single academic powerhouse."
Dr. Gendelman noted that Dr. Wang's research integrates disciplines of neural cell biology, neuroimmunology, pharmacology and neuroinfectious and degenerative disease pathobiology with studies of mitochondrial pathways including fission and fusion dynamics, trafficking and bioenergetics.
The result? "A true leader," Dr. Gendelman said. "We are absolutely ecstatic to have been able to recruit someone of his caliber and do so in partnership with the Singer family of Omaha. The future is ever brighter as we merge new avenues for neurodegeneration therapeutics for his laboratory, the department and our medical center."
"Alzheimer's disease is the most common dementia, and dementia are largely neurodegenerative diseases," Dr. Wang said. "Our goal is to find the cause of these neurodegenerative diseases."
Congratulations Dr. Wang! It will be an honor and a privilege to work with you. Welcome to UNMC!
Congratulations, Dr. Wang. Looking forward to working with you on Alzheimer's disease.
Welcome Dr. Wang! You will an outstanding addition to the team of scientists working on developing therapeutics for Alzheimers Disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Looking forward to working with you.
Welcome to Omaha and UNMC! Looking forward to your work in neurodegeneration. Certainly an important topic in our geriatric population.
Welcome Dr. Wang!
Congratulations Dr. Wang and welcome to UNMC!