Hongwu Chen

Hongwu Chen

Position Title

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine

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

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.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Comparative Pathology
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology

Specialties / Focus

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


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


  • 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

Honors and Awards

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

    Professional Societies

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


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


    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