Winston Patrick Kuo, DDS

Dr. Winston Kuo (first-generation Chinese-American) was born in Poughkeepsie, New York  (USA). He graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Albany where he received his BS in biology. He pursued his graduate training at Columbia University where he obtained his DDS. He completed a two-year dental General Practice Residency program at Catholic Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He further pursued a clinical specialty in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Southern California and Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center. His research at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center in craniofacial development and malformation (cleft lip and palate) had inspired him to gain more knowledge in basic sciences. He enrolled into a Doctorate program at Harvard University in Oral Biology and two dental fellowships thru Harvard School of Dental Medicine: Oral Medicine and Dental Informatics. His informatics training has led to his completion of his Masters of Science in Medical Informatics (a concentration in Bioinformatics) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Kuo is currently a Biomedical Informatics Research Fellow in several labs throughout Harvard Medical School: Decision System’s Group at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (www.dsg.harvard.edu), Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (www.chip.org), and the Department of Genetics (http://genetics.med.harvard.edu/~cepko/). His research is divided into technical and biological aspects in Genomics and Bioinformatics (Computational Biology). He is currently evaluating commercial and academic high-throughput technologies that measure gene expression profiles, in terms of their accuracy, comparability, sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility that will benefit the biomedical research community as this technology becomes universally accepted. From a biological perspective Dr. Kuo is interested in the ability to predict the biology of pre-malignant lesions of oral cancer based on gene expression profiles, since the current status of prediction is inaccurate and very subjective. Another interest of his is in craniofacial development and malformation, where the goal is to identify candidate genes that will represent distinct signaling pathways and region-specific transcription factors that are involved in the development and malformation of the cranium. Another interesting topic Dr. Kuo is involved with is the “classic evolution” project studying Darwin’s finches, which he collaborates with Arhat Abzhanov, a colleague. Darwin’s finches are a group of closely related birds inhabiting the Galapagos Islands. They are studying the expression profiles of several species representing distinct morphologies and hoping to identify genes that correlate well with particular beak morphologies. Additionally, Dr. Kuo is also a consultant for several biotechnology companies.

Dr. Kuo is a pioneer in the area of Bioinformatics in the Dental Medicine. He is the first dental trained “bioinformatician” and he hopes to bridge clinical dentistry and the dental basic sciences using “informatics” approaches. This will include both clinical informatics and bioinformatics approaches. His advantage is his diverse background. Dr. Kuo has published numerous articles in national peer-reviewed journals such as Bioinformatics, Genome Biology, Nucleic Acid Research, Human Genetics, Oral Oncology, Journal of the American Dental Association, Expert Reviews in Molecular Diagnostics, Lecture Notes in Computer Science/Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, and IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. He is also a referee for many of the above journals as well as many others. He has also been featured in several national magazines and newsletters, such as Genome Technology and BioArray News. Dr. Kuo lectures throughout the country and internationally on his current research topics.

Dr. Kuo is a recipient of several fellowship awards. He received awards from the National Library of Medicine and the Fogarty International Center, both at the National Institutes of Health. He received a research assistant award for his large-scale cross platform analysis of high-throughput technologies from Harvard University and MIT, Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He also received several travel fellowship awards from the Department of Energy for similar studies. He also received the Lester W. Burket and Robert I. Schattner Award awards best research papers, both from the American Academy of Oral Medicine, a national conference.

Dr. Kuo is a member of several international and national professional organizations, which include the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Academy of Oral Medicine, American Medical Informatics Association, and the International Society for Computational Biology.

Dr. Kuo intends to pursue an academic career in both clinical and basic science research at Harvard Medical School in areas of craniofacial development and malformation and oral cancer after completion of his doctorate. By combining his diverse knowledge base to “oral genomics”, he hopes to discover potential candidate genes that can propel the understanding, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of these diseases and disorders. Aside from his research, Dr. Kuo plans to see patients at least one day a week.

Dr. Kuo’s inspiration to learn was attributed to the continuous support from his parents, Helen and Chien Kuo as well as his family, Irene, Lance, Brendan, and Skyler.


 

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