Contact Information

(267) 519-4773
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Hong Wang


Associate Member, Monell Chemical Senses Center


Ph.D., Molecular Biology; Yale University

Research Summary

Chemosensory disorders substantially impact the quality of life. Impairment of taste and smell contributes to malnutrition, cachexia, and depression in a large percentage of cancer and AIDS patients. In spite of the rapid progress in identifying chemosensory receptors and signaling molecules, the mechanisms of chemosensory disorders remain largely unknown and there is a lack of specific and effective treatment for these disorders. Thus, the primary focus of our laboratory is to identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying chemosensory disorders. In addition, we are actively pursuing the bidirectional interactions between chemosensory signaling and immune responses in oral and extra-oral tissues.

Our current research projects include: 1) taste abnormalities in animal models of inflammatory diseases; 2) expression and signaling of inflammatory cytokines and innate immune receptors in the chemosensory systems; 3) regulation of taste bud cell degeneration and regeneration; 4) mechanisms of taste loss during cancer chemotherapy; 5) interactions between immune responses and chemosensory receptor-mediated signaling in various tissues.


Neuroimmunology, inflammation, taste and smell disorders, aging, taste progenitor and stem cells, taste signaling, gene expression

Recent Publications

Feng, P.; Jotaki, M.; Kim, A.; Chai, J.; Simon, N.; Zhou, M.; Bachmanov, A.; Huang, L.; Wang, H. (2015) Regulation of bitter taste responses by tumor necrosis factor. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 49, 32-42.

Feng, P.; Chai, J.; Zhou, M.; Simon, N.; Huang, L.; Wang, H. (2014) Interleukin-10 is produced by a specific subset of taste receptor cells and critical for maintaining structural integrity of mouse taste buds. Journal of Neuroscience, 34, 2689-2701.

Feng, P.; Huang, L.; Wang, H. (2014) Taste bud homeostasis in health, disease, and aging. Chemical Senses, 39, 3-16.

Li, F.; Ponissery-Saidu, S.; Yee, K.K.; Wang, H.; et. al (2013) Heterotrimeric G protein subunit Gγ13 is critical to olfaction. Journal of Neuroscience, 33, 7975-7984.

Feng, P.; Zhao, H.; Chai, J.; Huang, L.; Wang, H. (2012) Expression and secretion of TNF-α in mouse taste buds: a novel function of a specific subset of type II taste cells. PLoS ONE, 7, e43140.

Kim, A.; Feng, P.; Ohkuri, T.; Sauers, D.; Cohn, Z.J.; Chai, J.; Nelson, T.; Bachmanov, A.A.; Huang, L.; Wang, H. (2012) Defects in the peripheral taste structure and function in the MRL/lpr mouse model of autoimmune disease. PLoS ONE, 7, e35588.

Cohn, Z.J.; Kim, A.; Huang, L.; Brand, J.G.; Wang, H. (2010) Lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation attenuates taste progenitor cell proliferation and shortens the life span of taste bud cells. BMC Neuroscience, 11, 72.

Feng, P.; Wang, H.; Feldman, R.S.; Pribitkin, E.A.; Breslin, P.A.S. (2010) The T Cells in peripheral taste tissue of healthy human adults: Predominant memory T cells and Th-1 cells. Chemical Senses, 35, 501-509.

Wang, H.; Iguchi, N.; Rong, Q.; Zhou, M.; Ogukunorode, M.; Inoue, M.; Pribitkin, E.A.; Bachmanov, A.A.; Margolskee, R.F.; Pfeifer, K.; Huang, L. (2009) Expression of the voltage-gated potassium channel KCNQ1 in mammalian taste bud cells and the effect of its null-mutation on taste preferences. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 512, 384-398.

Wang, H.; Zhou, M.; Brand, J.G.; Huang, L. (2009) Inflammation and taste disorders: mechanisms in taste buds. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1170, 596-603.

Maehashi, K.; Matano ,M.; Wang, H.; Vo, L.A.; Yamamato, Y.; Huang, L.; (2008) Bitter peptides activate hTAS2Rs, the human bitter receptors. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 365, 851-855.

Wang, H.; Zhou, M.; Brand, J.G.; Huang, L. (2007) Inflammation activates the interferon signaling pathways in taste bud cells. Journal of Neuroscience, 27, 10703-10713.

Huang, L.; Cao, J.; Wang, H.; Vo, L.A.; Brand, J.G. (2006) Identification and functional characterization of a voltage-gated chloride channel and its novel splice variant in taste bud cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 280, 36150-36157.

Li, X.; Li, W.; Wang, H.; Cao, J.; Maehashi, K.; Huang, L.; Bachmanov, A.A.; Reed, D.R.; Legrand-Defretin, V.; Beauchamp, G.K.; Brand, J.G. (2005) Pseudogenization of a sweet receptor gene accounts for cats’ indifference toward sugar. PLoS GENETICS, 1, 27-35.

Lu, K.; McDaniel, A.H.; Tordoff, M.G.; Li, X.; Beauchamp, G.K.; Bachmanov, A.A.; VanderWeele, D.A.; Chapman, C.D.; Dess, N.K.; Huang, L.; Wang, H.; Reed, D.R. (2005) No relationship between sequence variation in protein coding regions of the Tas1r3 gene and saccharin preference in rats. Chemical Senses, 30, 231-240.

Wang, H.; Liao, H.; Ochani, M.; Justiniani, M.; Lin, X.; Yang, L.; Al-Abed, Y.; Wang, H.; Metz, C.; Miller, E.J.; Tracey, K.J.; Ulloa, L. (2004) Cholinergic agonists inhibit HMGB1 release and improve survival in experimental sepsis. Nature Medicine, 10, 1216-1221.

Wang, H.; Yu, M.; Ochani, M.; Amela, C.; Tanovic, M.; Susarla, S.; Li, J-H.; Wang, H-C.; Yang, H.; Ulloa, L.; Al-Abed, Y.; Czura, C.; Tracey, K.J. (2003) Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 7 subunit is an essential regulator of inflammation. Nature, 421, 384-388.