Hongwu Chen, Ph.D.

Research III Bldg,
Room 1400B
Sacramento Campus
Ph: 916-734-7743
Fax: 916-734-0190
Lab Website

Research Interests

Chromatin, epigenetics and gene regulation in hormone signaling and in cancer.

Research in my lab focuses on identification and functional elucidation of key epigenetic regulators and nuclear hormone receptors in cancer and in hormone signaling, with the following goals:

  1. Identification of new cancer therapeutic targets;
  2. Better understanding of molecular mechanisms and pathways underlying cancer progression such as therapeutics resistance;
  3. Development of new cancer therapeutics or strategies for standalone or combination treatment;
  4. Development of cancer therapeutics-companion/predictive biomarkers.

We employ functional genomics (e.g. ChIP-seq and RNA-seq), metabolomics, bioinformatics, genetics and pharmacological approaches in determining the physiological and pathological functions and action mechanisms of the key regulators, and in elucidating the mechanisms of action (MOA) of the new therapeutics.

Graduate Group Affiliations

Wang J, Zou JX, Xue X, Cai D, Zhang Y, Duan Z, Xiang Q, Yang JC, Louie MC, Borowsky AD, Gao AC, Evans CP, Lam KS, Xu J, Kung HJ, Evans RM, Xu Y, Chen HW. ROR-γ drives androgen receptor expression and represents a therapeutic target in castration-resistant prostate cancer. Nature Medicine. 2016 May;22(5):488-96. PMID: 27019329

Wang J, Wang H, Wang LY, Cai D, Duan Z, Zhang Y, Chen P, Zou JX, Xu J, Chen X, Kung HJ, Chen HW. Silencing the epigenetic silencer KDM4A for TRAIL and DR5 induction and antitumor therapy. Cell Death Differ. 2016 Nov 1;23(11):1886-1896. PMID: 27612013

Wang J, Duan Z, Nugent Z, Zou JX, Borowsky AD, Zhang Y, Tepper CG, Li JJ, Fienh O, Xu J, Kung HJ, Murphy L, Chen HW. Reprogramming metabolism by histone methyltransferase NSD2 drives endocrine resistance via coordinated activation of pentose phosphate pathway enzymes. Cancer Lett. 2016 May 6;378(2):69-79. PMID: 27164560

Yang P, Guo L, Duan ZJ, Tepper CG, Xue L, Chen X, Kung HJ, Gao AC, Zou JX, Chen HW. Histone methyltransferase NSD2/MMSET mediates constitutive NF-κB signaling for cancer cell proliferation, survival, and tumor growth via a feed-forward loop. Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Aug;32(15):3121-31. PMID: 22645312

Kalashnikova EV, Revenko AS, Gemo AT, Andrews NP, Tepper CG, Zou JX, Cardiff RD, Borowsky AD, Chen HW. ANCCA/ATAD2 Overexpression Identifies Breast Cancer Patients with Poor Prognosis, Acting to Drive Proliferation and Survival of Triple-Negative Cells through Control of B-Myb and EZH2. Cancer Res. 2010 Nov 15;70(22):9402-12. PMID: 20864510

Revenko AS, Kalashnikova EV, Gemo AT, Zou JX, Chen HW. Chromatin loading of E2F-MLL complex by cancer-associated coregulator ANCCA via reading a specific histone mark. Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Nov;30(22):5260-72. PMID: 20855524

Zou JX, Guo L, Revenko AS, Tepper CG, Gemo AT, Kung HJ, Chen HW. Androgen-induced coactivator ANCCA mediates specific androgen receptor signaling in prostate cancer. Cancer Res. 2009 April 15:69 (8):3339-46. PMID: 19318566

Zou JX, Revenko AS, Li LB, Gemo AT, Chen HW. ANCCA, an estrogen-regulated AAA+ ATPase coactivator for ER{alpha}, is required for coregulator occupancy and chromatin modification. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Nov 13;104(46):18067-18072 PMID: 17998543

Louie MC, Yang HQ, Ma AH, Xu W, Zou JX, Kung HJ, Chen HW. Androgen-induced recruitment of RNA polymerase II to a nuclear receptor-p160 coactivator complex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Mar 4;100(5):2226-30. PMID: 12589022

Chen H, Lin RJ, Xie W, Wilpitz D, Evans RM. Regulation of hormone-induced histone hyperacetylation and gene activation via acetylation of an acetylase. Cell. 1999 Sep 3;98(5):675-86. PMID: 10490106

Upper Division Courses

  • 199 Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates

Graduate Courses

  • BCM299 Research
  • MCB257 Cell Proliferation and Cancer Genes

Professional Courses for Medical Students

  • BCM410A Medical Biochemistry
  • BCM410B Cell Biology and Metabolism
  • American Cancer Society Fellowship, 1999
  • UC Davis School of Medicine Faculty Research Award, 2010
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Challenge Award, 2016