Wilfred Ngwa, Ph.D., M.Sc.

Headshot of Wilfred Ngwa
  • Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences

Research Interests

Radio-immunotherapy; Global Health and disparities research ...read more


Dr. Wil Ngwa is the PI for the Biomaterial Drones and Radio-immunotherapy Lab at Johns Hopkins Medicine and is Director of the Global Health Catalyst dedicated to catalyzing high impact collaborations to eliminate cancer health disparities in the USA and globally.   He completed his postdoctoral and clinical training at  M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Florida, and Harvard Medical School. He has held tenured faculty appointment at University of Massachusetts Lowell, and been honored with guest professorships at the  University of Heidelberg and Pennsylvania  USA, and as Distinguished Professor of Public Health at ICT University.  He is a co-founder of Global Oncology University, with an award-winning collaborative education model that offers everyone access to the same world-class education and training available from professors at the world’s best institutions. Wil has published 4 books and serves on the editorial boards of different Journals including ASCO’s Journal of Global Oncology, Frontiers in Oncology, and is the lead Editor of the IOP Sciences Publishing series on global health.   He has won many awards including 17 prestigious awards/honors over the past 5 years alone from Harvard Medical School institutions, the United States National Institutes of Health, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, and international professional societies and organizations for his leading efforts in global health and radiation oncology. Amongst his awards, he won the prestigious Bright Futures Prize in 2015 and has won three "Best in Physics" Awards by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine for his innovative work on tiny drones to target cancer, as well as a Brigham and Women's Hospital Physician Organization Pillar award. 

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  • Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences
  • Associate Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions



  • M.Sc.; University Leipzig Medicine Fak - Saxony (Germany) (2000)
  • Ph.D.; University Leipzig Medicine Fak - Saxony (Germany) (2004)
  • B.Sc.; University of Buea (Cameroon) (1997)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

The Biomaterial Drones and Radio-immunotherapy Lab is at the forefront of research to extend the use of radiotherapy to curative treatment of both local and metastatic disease. A key focus is the use of biomaterial drones for smart sustained delivery of immunoadjuvant/drug payloads that can engender robust in-situ vaccination in combination with radiotherapy to cause regression of both local tumors and metastatic cancer with minimal toxicity. The biomaterial drones have also been customized to safely deliver phytomedicine extracts like medical cannabis extracts to boost treatment outcomes with minimal side effects. The focus here is in simultaneously targeting cancer and pain, increasing survival and quality of life. This research developing low-cost technology and approaches for treatment presents major opportunities to increase access to care and reduce disparities both in the USA and in global health.

Selected Publications

W Ngwa, Irabor OC, Schoenfeld JD, Hesser J, Demaria S, Formenti SC. Using immunotherapy to boost the abscopal effect. Nat Rev Cancer. 18(5):313-322 (2018).

W Ngwa, I Olver I, KM Schmeler The Use of Health-Related Technology to Reduce the Gap Between Developed and Undeveloped Regions Around the Globe. Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book 40:1-10 (2020).

BW Addai, W Ngwa, COVID-19 and cancer in Africa, Science 371: 25-27 (2021).

W Ngwa, The role of Black people in ending systemic racism in oncology, Lancet Oncol 22: 172 (2021)

C Grassberger, W Ngwa,  Cancer Immunotherapy: Modelling treatment-response rates, Nat Biomed Eng.  5:295-296 (2021).

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