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Yiling Hong, PhD

Yiling Hong, PhD

Professor, Stem Cell Biology

College of Veterinary Medicine

Phone: 8685 | Fax: 5635

Join year: 2012

  • Education

    University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA

    Ph. D.


  • Research Interest


    One of the greatest discoveries in medicine is the potential use of stem cells to help the reducing suffering of numerous diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative disease. My main research interests are using of stem cell technology for neurodegenerativedisease modeling and to identify the potential targets for disease therapy to improve the quality of human life. Currently, there are several research projects going on in my laboratory.

    Project 1: Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Neuronal Differentiation

    We have defined culture conditions for generating sub-type or region-specific neurons from human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells without genetic manipulation.Furthermore,we have established a stem cell neuronal differentiation protocol to derive cerebral organoids that contain neurons, astrocytes, and microglia. So far there are few reports using the cerebral organoids containing microglia. Using this cellular model to study the role of microglia in neurodegenerative diseases and identify potential cellular targets for Alzheimer’s disease and stroke therapy.

    Project 2: The Role of Microglia in Neurodegenerative Diseases

    Microglia are resident immune cells of the central nervous system. Microglia have diverse functions, ranging from controlling neurogenesis, pruning synapses, secreting trophic factors for remodeling extracellular matrix, and clearing aggregated proteins. Our studies show that chronic inflammation, induced by an unhealthy diet or neurotoxin can induce a neurotoxic phenotype M1 microglia activation. Neurotoxic microglia involve in several CNS neurodegenerative pathologies including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. An alternative M2 state of microglia is primarily associated with promoting neurogenesis and extracellular composition reconstruction. The goal of my research is to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern the diverse phenotypes of microglia both in healthy and pathophysiological conditionsand target microglial phenotype switching for neurodegenerative disease treatment.

    Project 3: Stem Cell Neuronal DifferentiationCellular Model for Nanoparticles, Bisphenol A, and E-cigarettes Neurotoxicity Testing

    Nanotechnology (i.e., nanoparticles) has the potential to top the industrial revolution, but its impact on human mental health is poorly understood. Stem cell neuronal differentiation is an excellent platform for evaluating the neurotoxicity of nanoparticles. We are currently using this cellular model to evaluate the effects of nanoparticle as well as other environmental toxins such as Bisphenol A and nicotine on neuron-astrocyte-microglia networks and mental health.

  • Research Grant

    Principal Investigator: Grant title “Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of manufactured nanoparticles on stem cells” National Institutes of Health. 2011-2014.

  • Awards

    2012-2013: Merial Veterinary Scholars Award.

    2007-2009: Merck-AAAS Undergraduate Research Award.

    2007- 2008: Learn, Lead, and Serve Award, University of Dayton.

    2003-2004: The National Institute Environmental Health Sciences Travel Award.

    1999-2001: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, NIH.

    2002 : American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate/Postdoctoral TravelAward.

    1997-1999: Postdoctoral Fellowship of University of Kentucky Women in Underrepresented Areas.

  • Organizations

    Society for Neuroscience 2013-present

    International Stem Cell Society 2005-present

    The Ohio Academy of Science 2005-2012

    Sigma Xi 2007-2012

  • Committees

    Student Affair Committee 2012-2015

    Research Advising Committee 2015-present

  • Publications

    Recent Publication:

    1. Wang, H., Chang, L., J. S. Dong, S, and Hong, Y.(2019) Bisphenol-A-induced neurotoxicity in glutamatergic neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells. Environment International.127:324-332.
    2. Repar, N., Hao Li, H., Aguilar, J. S. Li, Q. Q, Damjana, D., and Hong, Y.(2018) Silver nanoparticles induce neurotoxicity in a human embryonic stem cell-derived neuron and astrocyte network. Nanotoxicology, 12:104-116.
    3. Begum, A., Aguilar, J. S., and Hong, Y.(2017) Aqueous cigarette tar extracts disrupt corticogenesis from human embryonic stem cells in vitro. Environmental Research, 158:194-202.
    4. Begum, A., Aguilar, J. S., Elias, L. and Hong, Y.(2016) Silver nanoparticles exhibit coating and dose-dependent neurotoxicity in glutamatergic neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells. Neurotoxicology, 57:45-53.


    1. Begum, A., Cho, J., Hao, J., Lutfy, K. and Hong, Y. (2015) Rapid generation of sub-type specific neurons and neural networks from human pluripotent stem cell-derived neurospheres. Stem Cell Res. 15: 731-741.NIHMS ID 733265.
    2. Aguilar, J. S.,Begum, A. M.,Alvarez J.,Zhang,, X. B., Hong, Y. . and Hao, J., (2015) Directed cardiomyogenesis of human pluripotent stem cells by modulating Wnt/ -catenin and BMP signalling with small molecules. Biochemical Journal 469(2):235-41
    3. Rajanahalli, P. Stuck C and Hong, Y. The effects of silver nanoparticles on cell cycle progression and cell viability in mouse embryonic stem cells. Toxi Rep 2: 758-765
    4. Sweigert, P., Xu, Z., Hong, Y.and Swavey, S. (2012) Nickel, copper, and zinc centered ruthenium-substituted porphyrins: effect of transition metals on photoinduced DNA cleavage and photoinduced melanoma cell toxicity. Dalton Transactions, 41: 5021-5208.
    5. Rajanahalli, P., Meyer, M., Zhu, L., Wagner, B. D., Robinson, M. L., King, D. A. and Hong, Y. (2011) Conversion of mouse fibroblasts to sphere cells induced by AlbuMAXI-containing medium. Frontiers in Bioscience 4: 1813-1822.
    6. Meyer, K. Rajanahalli, P., Ahamed, M., Rowe, J. and Hong, Y. (2011) ZnO nanoparticles induce apoptosis in human dermal fibroblast cells via P53 and p38 pathway. Toxicology in Vitro 25: 1721-1726.
    7. Xing, H. Y. Hong, Y. and Sarge, K. D. (2010) PEST sequences mediate heat shock factor 2 turnover by interacting with the Cul3 subunit of the Cul3-RING ubiquitin ligase, Cell Stress Chaperones 15:301-308.
    8. Ahamed, M., Karns, M., Goodson, M., Rowe, J., Hussain, S., Schlager, J.,and Hong, Y. (2008) DNA damage responses to different surface chemistry of silver nanoparticles in mammalian cells. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 233:404-410.
    9. Davia,K., King, D. Hong, Y. and Swavey, S.(2008) A porphyrin-ruthenium photosensitizer as a potential photodynamic therapy agent. Inorganic Chemistry Communications 11: 584-586.
    10. Rani-Beeram, S., Meyer, K., McCrate A.Hong, Y.Nielsen, M and Swavey, S.(2008) A Fluorinated ruthenium porphyrin as a potential photodynamic therapy agent: synthesis, characterization DNA binding, and Melanoma cell studies. Inorganic Chemistry 47: 11278-11283.
    11. Murphy L. A, Wilkerson D. C, Hong, Y. and Sarge K. D. (2008) PRC1 associates with the hsp70i promoter and interacts with HSF2 during mitosis. Experimental Cell Research, 314 (11-12):2224-2230.
    12. Zhang J, Goodson M. L., Hong, Y. and Sarge K. D. (2008) MEL-18 interacts with HSF2 and the SUMO E2 UBC9 to inhibit HSF2 sumoylation. J Biological Chemistry 283(12):7464-9.
    13. Zhu, L., Wook C., Dai, L. and Hong, Y. (2007) DNA damage induced by multiwalled carbon nanotubes in mouse embryonic stem cells. Nano Letters, 7(12): 3592-3579 (SCI Journal Impact Factor 12.5).
    14. Hong Y,Cervantes R. B., Tichy E., Tischfield J. A., Stambrook P. J.(2007) Protecting genomic integrity in somatic cells and embryonic stem cells. Mutation Research 614:48-55.
    15. Skaggs, H. S., Xing, H. Y., Wilkerson, D. C., Murphy L. A., Hong, Y., Mayhew, C. N. and Sarge, K. D. (2007). HSF1-TPR interaction facilitates export of stress-induced HSP 70 mRNA. J. Biological Chemistry 282:33902-33907.
    16. Xing, H. Y.,Hong, Y. and Sarge, K. D. (2007) Identification of the PP2A-interacting region of heat shock transcript factor 2. Cell Stress Chaperones 12:192-197.
    17. Xing, H. Y., Wilkerson, D. C., Mayhew, C. N., Lubert E. J., Skaggs H. S., Goodson M. L., Hong, Y. Park-Sarge O. K. and Sarge, K. D. (2005) Mechanisms of hsp70i gene bookmarking. Science307: 421-423.
    18. Hong, Y.and Stambrook, P.J. (2004) Restoration of an absent G1 arrest and protection from apoptosis in embryonic stem cells after ionizing radiation. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., USA. 101 (40): 14443-8. PMID: 15452351.
    19. Higarth, R. S.Hong, Y., Park-Sarge, O. K. and Sarge, K. D. (2003). Insights into the regulation of heat shock transcription factors 1 sumo-modification. Biochemical Biophysical Research Communications 303:196-200.
    20. Hong, Y., Rogers, R., Matunis, M. J., Mayhew C.N., Goodson, M. L., Park-Sarge, O. K. and Sarge, K. D. (2001). Regulation of HSF1 by stress-induced SUMO-1 modification. J. Biological Chemistry 276:40263-40267.
    21. Lubert, E. J.,Hong, Y. and Sarge, K. D. (2001) Interaction between protein phosphatase 5 and the subunit of protein phosphatase 2A: evidence for a heterotrimeric form of protein phosphatase 5. J. Biological Chemistry 276: 38582-38587.
    22. Hong, Y.,Lubert, E. J., Rodgers, D.W., and Sarge, K. D. (2000) Molecular basis of competition between HSF2 and catalytic subunit for binding to the PR65/A subunit of PP2A. Biochemical Biophysical Research Communications 272: 84-89.
    23. Hong, Y. and Sarge, K. D. (1999) Regulation of protein phosphatase 2A activity by heat shock transcription factors 2. J. Biological Chemistry 274: 12967-12970.
    24. Maiti, I. B., Von Lanken, C., Hong, Y. and Hunt, A. G. (1999) Introduction of multiple virus-derived resistance determinants into transgenic plants does not result in additive resistance properties. J. Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology 8, 67-73.
    25. Fellers, J., Wang, J. R., Hong, Y.,Shaw, J. and Hunt, A. G. (1998) In vitro interactions between a potyvirus-encoded, genome-linked protein and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. J. General Virology 79: 2043-2049.
    26. Hong, Y.and Hunt, A. G. (1996) RNA polymerase activity catalyzed by a potyvirus-encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Virology 225:146-151.
    27. Hong, Y.,Levay, K., Murphy, J. F., Klein, P. G., Shaw, J. G. and Hunt, A. G. (1995) A potyvirus polymerase interacts with the viral coat protein and Vpg in yeast cells. Virology 214: 159-166.

    Book Chapters:

    1. Schrand, A. M., Johnson, J., Dai, L., Hussain S. M., Schlager, J. J., Zhu L. Hong, Y. and Osawa, E. (2008) Cytotoxicity and genetoxicity of carbon nanomaterials. Chapter 8, Springer Science+ Business Media, LLC.
    2. Hong, Y.,Cervantes, R. B. and Stambrook, P. J. (2005) DNA damage response and mutagenesis in mouse embryonic stem cells. In: Embryonic Stem Cells-II: Methods and Protocols. P. 313-326. Humana Press Inc.


    1. Hong, Y. (2010)“Enhanced methods for producing stem-like cells from somatic cells” US Patent Application #12/703,205.
    2. Hong, Y.(2008)“Methods of producing pluripotent stem cells”. US Patent Application #12/228,205.
    3. Hong, Y.and Chow, M. (2015)Medium for culturing circulating tumor cells (US 62/194,191).