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Mark Hoon, Ph.D.

Mark Hoon, Ph.D.Tenure-Track Investigator
Chief, Molecular Genetics Unit

35A Convent Drive, MSC 3757
BETHESDA MD 20892-3757

Phone: (301) 402-6613
Fax: (301) 480-3590

Biographical Sketch

Mark Hoon received a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Birmingham, UK in 1986. He performed his graduate studies in the lab of Dr. John Findlay at the University of Leeds, studying the mechanisms of light activation of visual pigments in the invertebrate eye. In Leeds he developed an interest in using molecular biology to study complex problems in sensory biology. After a two year postdoc at the University of Freiburg in Germany, he joined the group of Nick Ryba at NIH. During his time in Dr. Ryba’s group he worked on the molecular basis of taste. Over a period of about 10 years in collaboration with the group of Charles Zuker they identified and characterized the receptors for four main taste modalities. They went on to establish the cellular logic that encodes taste discrimination. In 2006 he started his own lab in NIDCR studying nociception (pain) and touch. His work focuses on identifying and dissecting molecules and cells involved in these senses. The Hoon lab continues to use molecular genetic approaches; combining molecular biological methods and generating transgenic mice models that can be interrogated using a variety of techniques including, behavioral and electrophysiological testing, cell-culture and biochemical assays.

Research Interests

The Molecular Genetics Unit investigates the biology of somatosensation (e.g. thermal and nociceptive stimulation and the sense of touch) at a molecular and cellular level. We are particularly interested in molecules that have roles in signaling cascades within the primary sensory neurons that transform stimulation into membrane depolarization. These studies will provide information about the mechanisms by which somatosensory receptor cells transduce signals. Identification of these genes will also provide important tools to develop genetically engineered mice for physiological and behavioral studies to help define the function of cell types in vivo. For instance, recently we generated transgenic mice that allowed us to identify the cellular basis of acute temperature sensation and the neurons that control core body temperature. These and related studies continue to determine other modality specific populations of neurons involved in somatosensation. Ultimately, we would like to establish how different types of stimuli are distinguished by determining the neural circuitry of functionally defined receptor cells and through these experiments determine the biologically relevant molecules and cell-types that are involved in sensing pain and touch.

Selected Publications

  1. Yarmolinsky DA, Peng Y, Pogorzala LA, Rutlin M, Hoon MA, Zuker CS (2016) Coding and Plasticity in the Mammalian Thermosensory System. Neuron.  92:1079-1092.
  2. Ran C, Hoon MA, Chen X  (2016) The coding of cutaneous temperature in the spinal cord. Nat Neurosci. 19: 1201-1209.
  3. Hoon MA (2015) Molecular dissection of itch. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 34:61-66.
  4. Goswami SC, Mishra SK, Maric D, Kaszas K, Gonnella GL, Clokie SJ, Kominsky HD, Gross JR, Keller JM, Mannes AJ, Hoon MA, Iadarola MJ. (2014) Molecular signatures of mouse TRPV1-lineage neurons revealed by RNA-Seq transcriptome analysis. J Pain ;15:1338-59.
  5. Goswami SC, Thierry-Mieg D, Thierry-Mieg J, Mishra S, Hoon MA, Mannes AJ, Iadarola MJ. (2014) Itch-associated peptides: RNA-Seq and bioinformatic analysis of natriuretic precursor peptide B and gastrin releasing peptide in dorsal root and trigeminal ganglia, and the spinal cord. Mol Pain ;10:44.
  6. Tränkner D, Hahne N, Sugino K, Hoon MA, Zuker C. (2014) Population of sensory neurons essential for asthmatic hyperreactivity of inflamed airways. PNAS 11:111515-20.
  7. Mishra SK and Hoon, MA (2013) The cells and circuitry for itch responses in mice. Science 340:968-71
  8. Pogorzalla L, Mishra SK and Hoon MA (2013) The cellular code for mammalian thermosensation. Journal of Neuroscience. 33:5533-41.
  9.  Mishra SK, Holzman S and Hoon MA (2012) A nociceptive signaling role for neuromedin B. Journal of Neuroscience. Jun 20;32(25):8686-95.
  10. Mishra SK, Tisel S, Orestes P, Bhangoo S, Hoon M (2011) TrpV1-lineage neurons are required for thermal sensation. The EMBO Journal. 30:582-93.
  11. Mishra SK & Hoon MA (2010) Ablation of TrpV1 neurons reveal their selective role in thermal pain sensation. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. 43:167-172.


  • T2r taste receptor family; Patent: WO 0118050-A 165 15-MAR-2001. The reagents of the University of California (US); The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (US)
  • Mammalian sweet taste receptors T1R3 Patent 7,507,793 March 24 2009. The reagents of the University of California (US); The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (US)

Complete CV and Publications (PDF File, 29KB)​​​

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This page last updated: January 20, 2017