The Hong lab is interested in the chemical biology of vertebrate development and its implications for regenerative medicine and targeted therapies.
They seek to identify the molecules that selectively modulate cell signaling pathways involved in embryogenesis. Since developmental pathways represent important untapped therapeutic targets, they seek to develop novel small molecules that can serve as lead compounds for future therapies. Lab members have discovered potent and highly selective chemical modifiers of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), Wnt, Hedgehog, and lipid signaling pathways, among others. Several compounds are first-in-class molecules with substantial therapeutic potential in rare and common diseases, including cancers, atherosclerosis, pulmonary hypertension and heart failure.
The Hong lab is currently testing the utility of hiPSC to study human congenital heart diseases and inherited cardiomyopathies. They are also using iPSCs as a renewable source of human cardiomyocytes to study basic fundamental cell biology and physiology of normal and diseased cardiomyocytes. Finally, the lab is developing human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes as a platform for drug testing, including validation of novel cardiac inotropes.