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Wilfred Ngwa, PhD

RWJMS Faculty

Professor of Global Health, Rutgers Global Health Institute
Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School


Wilfred Ngwa is a global oncology researcher and medical physics expert who is developing technologies that integrate with radiation therapy to reduce cancer treatment times and costs. He is a professor of global health at Rutgers Global Health Institute and a professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He also is a Rutgers Presidential Faculty Scholar.

The broad aim of Ngwa’s research and global collaboration is to increase access to cancer treatment and reduce health disparities, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. He leads a research group that is developing low-cost approaches and technologies that can substantially reduce treatment times and costs and that can be implemented in resource-poor settings. One such technology incorporates artificial intelligence and smart radiotherapy biomaterials, such as nanoparticle drones that can be injected intravenously and will emit missile-like electrons when activated by photon beams during radiation therapy. This process is designed to increase damage to cancerous tumors while minimizing toxic effects on body tissues. This technology also can be programmed to sustainably deliver cancer-fighting immunotherapy drugs in resource-effective and measurable ways. This research is supported by the National Institutes of Health and industry partners and is in clinical translation.

Ngwa’s overall research program is designed to address many types of cancer, and he is leading studies related to treating prostate, breast, and cervical cancers in Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United States. Since 2019, he has been the chair of The Lancet Oncology commission on cancer in sub-Saharan Africa. He also is an external adviser to the U.S. presidential administration’s Cancer Cabinet, convened by President Joe Biden to help establish and make progress on the administration’s reignited Cancer Moonshot initiative, and he is a co-chair of the U.S. Cancer Moonshot 2.0 Lancet Oncology commission. He is editor of IOP Publishing’s scientific series in global health and radiation oncology and an editorial board member for Journal of Global Oncology, Frontiers in Oncology, and ecancermedicalscience.

He is the founding director of the Global Health Catalyst Summit, designed to catalyze high-impact international collaborations and initiatives to eliminate health-related disparities in the U.S. and globally.

Ngwa is originally from Cameroon, where he studied physics and computer science at the University of Buea, receiving a bachelor of science degree. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from University of Leipzig in Germany then completed postdoctoral education and training in radiation oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas and at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Harvard Medical School.


Special feature: Oncology Researcher to Join Rutgers Global Health Institute — Wilfred Ngwa develops technologies that integrate with radiation therapy to improve cancer treatment. He also chairs the Lancet Oncology commission on cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and advises the Biden Administration. He will be a professor of global health and radiation oncology.