Hongwu Chen

image of Hongwu Chen

Professor of Med:Biochemisrty & Mol Med


Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Offices and Labs

UCD Med Center, Res III bldg, Rm 1400B, Sacramento


1999 The Salk Institute for Biological Studies/HHMI, San Diego, CA. Ronald M. Evans' Laboratory post-doctoral fellow
1994 Ph.D. - University of California, Davis

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.


American Cancer Society Fellowship, 1997
Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Challenge Award, 2016
UC Davis School of Medicine Faculty Research Award, 2010

Department and Center Affiliations

UCD Cancer Center
Department of Med Biochemsitry & Molecular Medicine


American Association for Cancer Research
The Endocrine Society
Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR)

CBS Grad Group Affiliations

Integrated Genetics and Genomics
Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Specialties / Focus

Integrated Genetics and Genomics
  • Chromosome Biology
  • Integrated Genetics and Genomics
  • Epigenomics
Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cancer Biology
  • Gene Regulation
  • Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Chromosome Dynamics and Nuclear Function

Graduate Groups not Housed in CBS

Pharmacology & Toxicology
Comparative Pathology


Research III Bldg., Room 1204, UC Davis Medical Center
  • Jack(Junjian) Wang, project scientist; Demin Cai, Yuqian Jiang, postdocs; Yongqiang Wang, Zenghong Huang, Graduate students
  • Joanna Wong, undergraduate assistant

Teaching Interests

Regulation of gene expression; Molecular and cellular biology of endocrine-related cancer


MIC 175 Cancer Biology (Spring)
PMI 290 Seminar-thesis proposal & QE preparation (Fall)
BMB 221C Molecular Genetics
GGG 201C Miolecular Genetics
MCB 200B Molecular Biology Techniques
BCM 410A Molecular & Cellular Biology


1/17/2017 11:46:22 AM
  • 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. 2016May 6;378(2):69-79. PMID: 27164560

  • Zou JX, Duan Z, Wang J, Sokolov A, Xu J, Chen CZ, Li JJ, Chen HW. Kinesin family deregulation coordinated by bromodomain protein ANCCA and histone methyltransferase MLL for breast cancer cell growth, survival, and tamoxifen resistance. Mol Cancer Res. 2014 Apr;12(4):539-49. PMID:24391143

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hsia EY, Kalashnikova EV, Revenko AS, Zou JX, Borowsky AD, Chen HW. Deregulated E2F and the AAA+ coregulator ANCCA drive proto-oncogene ACTR/AIB1 overexpression in breast cancer. Mol Cancer Res. 2010 Feb;8(2):183-93.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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