Circadian rhythms are physiological events that recur at about every 24 hours. Molecular machinery of circadian rhythms provides temporal information to other cellular processes. Recent findings indicate that the heterodimeric Neurospora circadian transcription factor, White Collar Complex (WCC), influence cellulase regulation. Moreover, WCC influences the expression of a cell cycle kinase, stk-29, suggesting functional roles of circadian rhythms in cell division cycles. We explore molecular wirings of circadian rhythms, cell cycle, and cellulase regulation in Neurospora crassa with mathematical modeling and experimental validations.
Since April 2010, Christian Hong has been Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He received his bachelor’s, masters and PhD at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and did postdoctoral research at the Dartmouth Medical School.
His graduate studies were conducted under the guidance of Dr. John Tyson in mathematical modeling of circadian rhythms. As a postdoctoral fellow, he used mathematical models to guide experiments. He learned how to apply genetic and molecular biological approaches to problems of cellular regulation, using Neurospora crassa, a tractable experimental system for circadian biology.
In the past four years, he was a co-author on nine publications, including both experimental and computational modeling papers as well as two reviews. As a young investigator who has crossed disciplines from mathematical biology to genetics and molecular biology, he believes that such interdisciplinary approaches will lead to the innovative therapies of the future. He successfully utilized both disciplines to elucidate molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms in Neurospora crassa.
In 2008, Dr. Hong won the Kronauer Award in Excellence in Biomathematical Modeling.
The goals of his current project is to investigate molecular dynamics that arise from the interconnected network that consists of circadian rhythms, cell cycle, DNA damage response, and metabolism. Mathematical modules are built for each one of the above cellular processes and model predictions are validated using a model filamentous fungus, Neurospora crassa.