Research Assoc Professor (FSC), Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery
Wei Kong specializes in the biotechnology, vaccinology, and immunotherapy, developing microbes-based vaccines and cancer therapeutics. She is a member of the National Academy of Inventor. She also serves as faculty of Fulton Grand Challenges Scholars Program, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and honors faculty of Barrett in the Honors College, ASU.
Dr. Kong and her team have revolutionized vaccine and therapeutic delivery strategies. They utilize genetically modifying Salmonella Typhimurium (GMS) as vehicles to deliver protective antigens encoded by genes from unrelated pathogens, DNA vaccines, and cancer therapeutics. The safety and effectiveness of these pioneering vaccines have been enhanced by including self-destructing feature, which ensures full biological containment and the successful conveyance of protective antigens, DNA vaccines, and cancer therapeutics. These innovative technologies are actively tackling global challenges by designing, constructing, and assessing live GMSs to mitigate the influence of infectious disease agents.
Additionally, Dr. Kong and her team have turned self-destructing GMS into universal tumor navigating microbe-based cancer therapeutics to combat various cancers. They also uncovered a novel mechanism of cancer to maintain and expand cancer stem cells (CSC) addition to promote cancer cell immune evasion. These findings will aid in establishing efficient therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment in the future. Recently, they have extended their research to design, construct, and evaluate gut-beneficial bacteria-based therapeutics for neurological disorders, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's Disease (AD).
She served as chair and reviewer of study sections, including panels with DOD Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs Funding (MIDRP), the Military Infections Diseases Research Program of U.S. Army Medical Department (USAMD), the US Army Medical Research and Material Command (MRMC), and NIH Translational Immuno-Oncology (TIO).