Wendy Chung serves as the principal investigator of the foundation's Simons Variation in Individuals Project (Simons VIP), which characterizes behavior and brain structure and function in participants with genetic copy number variants such as those at 16p11.2, believed to play a role in autism spectrum disorders. Chung joined the Simons Foundation in 2012 as director of clinical research, after serving on SFARI's scientific advisory board.
Chung, a clinical and molecular geneticist, received a B.A. in biochemistry and economics from Cornell University, an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College, and a Ph.D. in genetics from Rockefeller University. She is currently the Herbert Irving associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at Columbia University, where she directs the clinical genetics program and performs human genetics research. At Columbia, she clinically assesses children with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities and uses advanced genomic diagnostic methods, including whole-exome sequencing, to identify the underlying genetic basis for neurological conditions. Her work strives to facilitate the integration of genetic medicine into all areas of health care in a medically, scientifically and ethnically sound, accessible and cost-effective manner.
Chung also directs NIH-funded research programs on a variety of human genetic conditions, including obesity, breast cancer, pulmonary hypertension and birth defects, including congenital diaphragmatic hernia and congenital heart disease. She has been the recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics Young Investigator Award, the Medical Achievement Award from Bonei Olam and a career development award from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and is a member of the Dade County Hall of Fame. A renowned teacher and mentor, she is a member of the Glenda Garvey Teaching Academy and has won many awards for teaching, including the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching, the American Medical Women’s Association Mentor Award, and the Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching.