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  • From developmental biology  to drug discovery and  cardiovascular medicine.
  • From developmental biology  to drug discovery and  cardiovascular medicine.

    Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)

  • From developmental biology to drug discovery and cardiovascular medicine.

    Human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes immunostained with alpha-actinin (green) and myosin light chain-2v (red)

  • From developmental biology  to drug discovery and  cardiovascular medicine.

    A kind gift from a patient/friend

  • From developmental biology  to drug discovery and  cardiovascular medicine.

    Osteogenesis in zebrafish

  • From developmental biology to drug discovery and cardiovascular medicine.

    Electron micrograph of human iPSC-derived cardiiomyocytes demonstrates well organized sarcomere

  • Chemical Biology in Regenerative Medicine

    Newly published book from Wiley edited by Chaz Hong and colleagues

  • Chemical Biology by Hempel, Williams and Hong

    We "wrote the book" on chemical biology.

The Hong Laboratory

Welcome

We function at the intersection of a variety of disciplines which include zebrafish development, drug discovery, and cardiovascular biology.

Our research can be divided into 2 broad areas. The first area involves chemical biology of vertebrate development, which entails discovery of small molecules that selectively modulate signaling pathways involved in embryogenesis. We have thus far discovered potent and highly selective chemical modifiers of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), Wnt, Hedgehog, and lipid signaling pathways, among others.

Several of our compounds are first-in-class molecules with substantial therapeutic potential in rare and common diseases, including heterotopic ossification, cancers, atherosclerosis and heart failure. Thus, our chemical biological exploration is leading to new opportunities for innovative therapeutic programs.

In the second, we are exploring the potential of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to study and treat human heart diseases. We use human iPSCs as renewable cell sources for examining the fundamental cell biology and physiology of normal and diseased human cardiomyocytes.

Finally, we collaborate with bioengineers to develop human iPSC-derived heart tissues as a platform for drug discovery and evaluation.


Selected Achievements

2006 - Discovered the role of PI3K-ERK crosstalk in vascular development.

2008 - Discovered the first pharmacological inhibitor of the BMP pathway.

2010 - First large scale in vivo structure activity relationship (SAR) study outside the antimicrobial field.

2008, 2010 - First reported use of pharmacological inhibitors of BMP and Wnt pathways to induce cardiomyogenesis in pluripotent stem cells.

2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 - Helped reveal therapeutic potential of a BMP inhibitor for anemia, fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, atherosclerosis, and variety of cancers (lung, metastatic breast, ovarian and brain cancers).

2015 - Discovered phosphodiesterase-4 as a pharmacological target for hedgehog signaling inhibition.

2015 - Signed an exclusive research and licensing agreement with La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company covering novel BMP receptor inhibitors.


Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP)

A major focus of lab's drug development efforts, begun with a generous support from the Cali Family Fund, remains finding a safe and effective treatment for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), a rare genetic disease of progressive heterotopic ossification.

Video: FOP. A single letter makes great difference

To learn more about FOP, please check out this video by IFOPA.

Lab News

We have moved!

Drs. Chun, Williams and Hong joined the faculty of University of Maryland School of Medicine on June 1, 2018. Dr. Hong is the Director of Cardiovascular Research.

Congratulations!

Rebeca Joca, PhD on the birth of her daughter Julia, December 2020

Chaz Hong, MD, PhD on his election as a Fellow of American Association of Advancement of Science, 2020

Jovanni Ahmad, Sherry Fan and Maya Silver-Isenstadt on their medical school acceptances, 2020!

Jovanni Ahmad, for his MS Scholar Award from U of Maryland School of Medicine, 2020

Chaz Hong, MD, PhD for his term as Chair-Elect, Chair, Immediate Past Chair, Scientific Committee of Sarnoff Foundation for Cardiovascular Research, 2020

Adrian Cadar, PhD on his recent paper entitled, "Real-time visualization of titin dynamics reveals extensive reversible photobleaching in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes,"  which was Chosen for APSselect Award, which showcases some of the best recently published articles in physiological research, 2020

 

Young Chun, PhD on receiving a grant from Maryland Stem Cell Research Foundation for the propsal entitled “Reduced graphene oxide (rGO)-Mattress system for high-throughput iPSC-derived cardiomyocyte-based screening platform,” 2019

The electronic version of our book, Chemical Biology: Methods and Protocols, has been downloaded 90,000 times as of December 2019, making it one of Springer's top eBook performers!