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Main Profile

Full Name and Degrees: 
Charles C. Hong, M.D., Ph.D.
Member Role: 
Institutional affiliation: 
Vanderbilt University

Dr. Charles (Chaz) Hong is an Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he is a Co-Director of Center for Inherited Heart Disease, and a member of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology and the Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology. His research is focused on chemical biology of vertebrate development and stem cell differentiation. He received his MD and PhD from Yale, and did cardiology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. His honors include election to American Society for Clinical Research, Sarnoff Scholar Award, GlaxoSmithKline Young Investigator Award and Finalist for AHA Irvin H. Page Young Investigator Award.

Hub Site: 
11-Antonis Hatzopoulos

The goal of the Hong lab, a part of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, is to discover and characterize small molecules that promote cardiac differentiation in pluripotent stem cells and heart repair in vivo. We also have an active medicinal chemistry program to develop optimized small molecules ultimately for future regenerative therapies.

research focus: 

Dr. Hong’s research centers around chemical biology of vertebrate development. His lab uses small molecules discovered in high-throughput screens (HTS) as chemical tools to dissect fundamental events in early embryogenesis such as body axis formation. Another important goal of his research is to develop small molecule reagents to harness the discovery and therapeutic potentials of stem cells. Dr. Hong discovered dorsomorphin, the first small molecule BMP (bone morphogenetic protein) signal inhibitor, which has been successfully used to promote both neural and cardiac differentiation in various stem cell models. In addition, his lab has discovered subtype-selective BMP inhibitors, and exquisitely selective modulators of Wnt, Notch and Hedgehog pathways.  Since aberrant activities of developmental pathways play major roles in pathogenesis of many adult diseases, we are exploring therapeutic potential of our novel small molecules for a number of diseases.  For example, the Hong lab has made key contributions to the elucidation of BMP signaling as a promising therapeutic target for anemia of chronic disease, heterotopic ossification syndromes, inflammatory bowel disease, and atherosclerosis.

Recent publications: 
Hao J, Ao A, Zhou L, Murphy CK, Frist AY, Keel JJ, Thorne CA, Kim K, Lee E, Hong CC. Selective Small Molecule Targeting ß-Catenin Function Discovered by In Vivo Chemical Genetic Screen. Cell Reports 2013; 4:898-904. Roden DM, Hong CC. Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes as a Tool for Studying Proarrhythmia: A Better Canary in the Coal Mine? Circulation 2013; 127:1641-3. Wells QS, Becker JR, Su YR, Mosley JD, Weeke P, D’Aoust L, Ausborn NL, Ramirez AH, Pfotenhauer JP, Naftilan A, Markham L, Exil V, Roden DM, Hong CC. Whole exome sequencing identifies a causal RBM20 mutation in a large pedigree with familial dilated cardiomyopathy. Circulation Cardiovascular Genetics 2013; 6:317-326. Ao A, Hao J, Hopkins CR, Hong CC. DMH1, a novel BMP small molecule inhibitor, increases cardiomyocyte progenitors and promotes cardiac differentiation in mouse embryonic stem cells PLoS ONE 2012; 7:e41627. Saeed O, Otsuka F, Polavarapu R, Karmali V, Weiss D, Davis T, Rostad B, Pachura K, Adams L, Elliott J, Taylor R, Narula J, Kolodgie F, Virmani R, Hong CC**, Finn AV**. Pharmacologic suppression of hepcidin increases macrophage cholesterol efflux and reduces foam cell formation and atherosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 2012; 32:299-307. **co-corresponding authors. Wiley DM, Kim J-D, Hao J, Hong CC, Bautch VL, Jin S-W. Distinct signaling pathways regulate sprouting angiogenesis form the dorsal aorta and axial vein. Nature Cell Biology 2011; 13:687-693. Ao A, Hao J, Hong CC. Regenerative chemical biology: current challenges and future potential. Chemistry & Biology 2011; 18:413-424. Wang H, Hao J, Hong CC. Cardiac induction of embryonic stem cells by a small molecule inhibitor of Wnt/-catenin signaling. ACS Chemical Biology 2011; 6:192-197. Hao J, Ho, JN, Lewis JA, Karim KA, Daniels, RN, Gentry PR, Hopkins CR, Lindsley C, Hong CC. In vivo structural activity relationship study of dorsomorphin analogs identifies selective VEGF and BMP inhibitors. ACS Chemical Biology 2010; 5:245-253. Wang J, Harrington L, Trebicka E, Shi HN, Kagan JC, Hong CC, Lin HY, Babitt JL, Cherayil BJ. Selective modulation of TLR4-activated inflammatory responses by altered iron homeostasis. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2009; 119:3322-3328. Yu PB, Deng DY, Lai CS, Hong CC, Cuny GD, Bouxsein ML, Peterson RT, Katagiri T, Fukada T, Mishina Y, Bloch KD. BMP type 1 receptor inhibition reduces heterotopic ossification. Nature Medicine 2008; 14:1363-1369. Hao JJ, Daleo MA, Yu PM, Murphy CK, Ho JN, Hu J, Peterson RT, Hatzopoulos AK, Hong CC. Dorsomorphin, a selective small molecule inhibitor of the BMP signaling, promotes cardiomyogenesis in embryonic stem cells. PLoS ONE, 2008; 3:e2904. Yu PM*, Hong CC*, Sachidanandan C*, Babitt JL, Deng DY, Hoyng SA, Lin HY, Bloch KD, Peterson RT. Dorsomorphin inhibits BMP signals required for embryogenesis and iron metabolism. Nature Chemical Biology 2008; 4:33-61. *equal contribution. Hong CC, Peterson QP, Hong J-Y, Peterson RT. Artery/vein specification is governed by opposing phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase and MAP kinase/ERK signaling. Current Biology 2006; 16: 1366-1372.
2220 Pierce Ave., 383 PRB, Nashville, TN 37232
Profile Page Photo: 
Charles C. Hong, MD, PhD

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