Meet the team

Faculty & staff

Yong Wang, PhD

Yong Wang, PhD

Principal Investigator
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Primary), Electrical & Systems Engineering (Secondary), Radiology (Jointed), and Biomedical Engineering (Affiliated)

Division: Clinical Research

Postdocs & students

Zichao "Zach" Wen, PhD

Zichao “Zach” Wen, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Visiting researchers

Wenxu Qi, MD, PhD

Wenxu Qi, MD, PhD

Visiting Researcher

Zhexian Sun, BS

PhD Research Rotation Student


Rebecca Chen
Assistant Researcher
Luke James
Data Assistant
Josephine Lau Nga Yue
Summer Trainee
Ruochen Wang
Assistant Researcher
News & timeline


  • Yujie Dun (PhD) changed her position to Postdoctoral Research Associate.
  • Lab name changed to Integrated Biomedical Imaging Lab.
  • Zhexian Sun joined as PhD Research Rotation Student.
  • Wenxu Qi (MD, PhD) joined in as Visiting Scholar.


  • Zulfia Kisrieva-Ware (MD, PhD) joined in as Staff Scientist.
  • Yujie Dun (PhD) joined in as Visiting Scholar.
  • Zichao Wen (PhD) joined in as Postdoctoral Research Associate.


  • EMMI on human.


  • Hui Wang joined in as a PhD student.
  • Wenjie Wu joined in as a PhD student.


  • Yong Wang (PhD) started Wang Lab.

See Dr. Wang’s published research on PubMed »

Contact us

Email Address:
Team Phone: 314-362-6169

Physical Address:
4901 Forest Park Avenue
10th Floor, COH, Suite 10102
St. Louis, MO 63108

Deliveries (Fedex, UPS):
Obstetrics and Gynecology
425 S. Euclid Avenue
Mailstop: 8064-37-1005
St. Louis, MO 63110

Noninvasive high-resolution electromyometrial imaging of uterine contractions in a translational sheep model

Monitoring uterine contractions during labor is critical to ensure good health of the mother and of the baby. Current methods present several limitations, including low resolution and invasiveness. Now, Wu et al. developed a noninvasive three-dimensional electromyometrial imaging called EMMI, able to monitor uterine contractions with high spatial and temporal resolution.

Integrated Biomedical Imaging Lab

The development of the novel electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) technique to noninvasively study cardiac arrhythmia has been the primary research goal during Yong Wang’s PhD study. Wang is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

Wang’s PhD research has encompassed sophisticated biomedical engineering, life science, human physiology, clinical research and patient studies. To further prepare for independent research in biomedical and life science, Dr. Wang devoted himself to the exciting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research with the aim to improve the poor specificity of MRI biomarkers of CNS injury.

Revolutionizing ECGI

Dr. Wang’s invention of meshless ECGI technique has eliminated conventional ECGI’s imaging artifacts and enhanced the imaging speed by a factor of 100, which greatly facilitated the successful application of ECGI system to study the basic mechanisms of cardiac disorders.

During his postdoc studies, he invented and validated diffusion basis spectrum imaging (DBSI) to specifically quantify axon/myelin injury, distinguishing and quantifying co-existing inflammation and/or tissue loss in neurological disorders. Through developing and applying DBSI, he have not only gained valuable experience on studying the mechanism underlying various neurodegeneration diseases, but also led and engaged in multiple successful NIH and national multiple sclerosis society grant applications as PI or co-Investigator.

Wang’s current research of developing a novel hybrid noninvasive imaging system for the study of electrical maturation and microstructural changes of pregnant uterus builds logically on his prior PhD and postdoc training. He will adapt and combine his expertise in ECGI and MRI/DBSI to creatively develop and validate the novel hybrid imaging system and use it to study the mechanism underlying preterm and normal term labor.

Research focus & projects

  • Meshless electrocardiographic imaging in cardiac arrhytmia
  • Diffusion basis spectrum imaging (DBSI) in axon/myelin injury
  • Hybrid imaging system studying electrical maturation and microstructural changes of pregnant uterus

Read about our ongoing research projects:

Neuroinflammation Imaging in Alzheimer’s Disease

Quantification of Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease Using Diffusion Basis Spectrum Imaging

Our team has previously established the validity of diffusion basis spectrum imaging magnetic resonance imaging (DBSI MRI) for neuroinflammation in multiple sclerosis. We have used this in both in vivo and ex vivo mouse and human studies. We are now able to extend this novel biomarker of neuroinflammation to Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Our hypothesis is that this relationship will be present in the earliest preclinical stages of AD, when cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has abnormally low levels of Aβ but before abnormal levels of tau are observed.

We will validate this marker in vivo with positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of regional neuroinflammation. After validation, we will confirm with ex vivo autopsy of human microglial infiltration using immunohistochemistry and autoradiography. DBSI MRI sequences are FDA approved which makes this method ready for clinical trials.

PET-MRI Imaging of White Matter Damages and Inflammation in AD 

In this project will develop and validate a novel PET-MR imaging method by integrating amyloid PET and diffusion basis spectrum imaging (DBSI) to simultaneously measure white matter (WM) demyelination and inflammation in vivo.

Antecedent Biomarkers for AD: the Adult Children Study. Project 4: Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to Assess Volume, Shape, and Thickness of Selected Brain Regions

This project uses structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, resting state functional MRI (fs-fcMRI), and arterial spin labeling (ASL) to identify the earliest possible imaging correlates of AD prior to symptoms onset. The focus of the ACS and this project is the discovery of predictive and diagnostic biomarkers of AD. A more complete view of brain metabolism, specifically as it relates to synaptic function, and AD pathology would be extremely helpful in achieving a better understanding of AD pathophysiology and assisting in the design and control of appropriate preventive treatments which may seek to modify synaptic function.

Human Placental Immune Imaging

Applying Diffusion Basis Spectrum Imaging to Characterize Human Placenta Immuno-Response during Normal Term and Preterm Pregnancies

In this R01 project, we propose to develop a novel, noninvasive human placental immune imaging (PII) technique, which will be able to safely assess human placental inflammation in real time. PII is based on a diffusion MRI technique called diffusion basis spectrum imaging (DBSI), which noninvasively image and quantify brain inflammation in multiple sclerosis in both animal models and humans. Development of PII must take into account the fact that unlike mature brain, the human placenta is a very dynamically changing organ throughout pregnancy, and is quite different from animal placentas. The anatomic and potential pathological complexity and heterogeneity of the placenta create strong background noise interference not present in the brain, making it more challenging to identify and extract the signals specific to placental inflammation.

To address this technical challenge, we are developing PII specifically for human applications by making use of three distinct clinical cohorts.

  • Those at low risk of preterm birth
  • Those at high risk of preterm birth who respond to preventative hormonal treatment
  • Those at high risk of preterm birth who fail to respond to preventative hormonal treatment

To validate PII, we are correlating imaging findings with measurements of immune factors and long non-coding RNAs in maternal blood, and histological characterization of inflammatory cells in placenta samples obtained at delivery.

We expect that this novel imaging modality will help to identify noninvasively placental immune responses characteristic of pregnancies at risk of preterm birth, as well as serve as an objective tool in evaluating success or failure of standard of care preventative treatment.

Ex vivo MRI Immune Imaging of Term and Preterm Human Placentae 

As part of validation of the PII technique, we are going to develop a precise sequence using imaging of ex vivo term and preterm placentae.

MR Imaging of Placental Immune Cell Infiltration in Gestational Diabetes Mellitus 

We are going to test our new imaging modality, PII, to detect placental immune signature of women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). GDM imposes serious threat to both women with GDM and their babies such as higher risk for pregnancy-related complications, and long-term health problems that could affect their quality of life. We expect that PII could allow for the early diagnosis of relevant complications, and serve as an objective tool for testing the effectiveness of GDM treatment modalities.


The research target of this project is to generate and refine new technologies that could lead to important new discoveries that could be crucial for the prevention of preterm birth. We aim to leverage the expertise and resources available across all Washington University in St. Louis and its partner institutions, to provide a strong foundation for transdisciplinary collaboration.


Non-invasively Measure the Cervix Mechanical Properties using Magnetic Resonance Elastography 

Our goals are to develop a novel MRE platform on Prisma scanner to study the mechanical properties in human cervix during pregnancy, to establish the normal range of the storage and loss moduli values in measurements of elastic response of cervix in the second and third trimester of pregnancy, and to compare them with corresponding values of cervix in 10 nulliparous women with short cervix length at 18-22 weeks’ gestation.

Transabdominal Fetal Electroencephalography

Development of Ultrasound-Guided Transabdominal Fetal Electroencephalography

This is a feasibility study to determine whether transabdominal electrodes placed on the maternal abdomen surface can pick up fetal electroencephalography (FEEG) at different time points in pregnancy. In this proposal, we are going to develop the clinical protocol for transabdominal FEEG (TA-FEEG) recordings and the signal processing platform to reliably extract FEEG signals.