Charles Hong is the Codirector of the Center for Inherited Heart Disease at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn, USA. He has received both of the M.D. degree and the Ph.D. degree. The Center for Inherited Heart Disease collects clinical and genetic information that may help identify factors that influence cardiovascular disease progression and clinical outcomes in affected families. Through genetic research and clinical studies, his long-term goal is to help develop optimal personalized medicines to prevent adverse outcomes in relatives found to carry the disease-associated mutations. The major theme of his laboratory-based research is the chemical genetics of vertebrate development. In a manner analogous to the classic forward mutagenesis screens, they conduct high-throughput chemical screens in zebrafish for small molecules that perturb embryonic pattern formation, specifically, the dorsoventral axis. Since some of these compounds will function by promoting the development of specific cell and tissue types, an important goal of their research is to develop chemical tools for stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Moreover, since aberrant activities of many of these developmental pathways are thought to play a major role in pathogenesis of a variety of postnatal diseases, such as cancer, compounds that modulate them show promise as lead compounds for treatment of human diseases. Using this interdisciplinary approach, they has thus far identified potent and exquisitely selective chemical modifiers of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), Wnt/ β-catenin, and hedgehog pathways. The first BMP inhibitor, named dorsomorphin, has been successfully used to induce cardiomyogenesis and neurogenesis in pluripotent stem cells and to evaluate the potential of inhibiting BMP signaling to treat anemia of chronic disease, atherosclerosis, and heterotopic ossification syndromes.
Biography Updated on 20 January 2013