David T. Wong

2010 George Bugliarello Prizewong1

American Scientist magazine has awarded University of California, Los Angeles, investigator David T. Wong the 2010 George Bugliarello Prize for his article, "Salivary Diagnostics," in the January–February 2008 issue. The Bugliarello Prize honors a superior interdisciplinary essay, review of research or analytical article published in American Scientist. It includes a prize of $5,000. Wong is a professor of oral pathology and associate dean of research at the School of Dentistry. He directs the UCLA Dental Research Institute and a center and laboratory related to his research interests in oral-fluid diagnosis and cancers of the head and neck. In their comments, the judges noted that the article "was intriguing and offered a number of surprises." They found that of the candidate articles available from issues published in 2008 and 2009, "Salivary Diagnostics" offered the best balance of biology, technology and benefit to society. The potential for the use of saliva as a diagnostic tool is tremendous and such tools are already making early diagnosis of several diseases easier, less-invasive and more affordable. Analysis of saliva using mass spectrometry is the primary tool of this area of research, and it reveals RNA and protein molecules that are telltale signs of disease. In his American Scientist article, Wong described the molecular basis behind this emerging technology, reviewed some of the diseases currently diagnosable with it and delved into the future of research in this area.