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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


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.

2012 - First description of the "dual chemical inhibition" for neural induction, which has become the most widely adopted method to generate human neurons from induced pluripotent stem cells. 

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

2021 - With Dr. Jim Perry, showed that baseline low HDL was a risk factor for severe COVID-19 infection.

2022 - With Drs. Scott Devine and Jim Perry, discovered over 100K active mobile element insertions in 58K individuals, with implications for human disease such as cancer.

2023 - Discovered that mutations in RTTN gene cause infantile dilated cardiomyopathy by impairing programmed centrosome reorganization during cardiomyocyte maturation, revealing a window to potential cure for this rare but devastating childhood disease. The first time a defect in centrosome reorganization has been found to cause human disease.  

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.


Charles  Hong, MD on his selection as the next Chair of Medicine at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.  

Fahad Alkhalfan, MD on starting vascular medicine fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic, Mehmet Hocaoglu, MD on starting rheumatology fellowship at U of Pittsburgh, and Alex Pu, MD on starting internal medicine residency at U of Maryland!

Daniel Fong on his medical school acceptance, 2023!

Matthew Miyamoto for being awarded 2023 Stanley Sarnoff Fellowship, first for the University of Maryland!

Daniela Fuller on her poster prize at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate School Symposium and a travel award from the 2023 Weinstein Conference.

Jessica Cornell on her spectacular MS Thesis Defense & simultaneous admission to PhD Program at U of Maryland School of Medicine, 2023

Alex Gyftopoulos, MD on matching at the University of Maryland Cardiology Fellowship Program, 2021

Chaz Hong, MD, PhD on his role as the inaugural Chief Editor of Frontiers in Drug Discovery, Cardiovascular and Hematological Section, 2021

Matthew Miyamoto for his AOA Caroyln L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship, 2021, and his presentation at the 2021 AHA Scientific Sessions

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

Jovanni Ahmad, Sherry Fan, Maya Silver-Isenstadt and Ajoke Kareem 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, 2020

Young Chun, PhD on receiving a grant from Maryland Stem Cell Research Foundation for the proposal 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 named one of Springer's top eBook performers.