Mark Hoon, PhD

Mark Hoon, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator
Molecular Genetics Unit

NIH NIDCR
Building 35A Room 3F143
35A Convent Drive, MSC 3757
Bethesda, MD 20892-3757
United States

(301) 402-6613
Research Interests

Dr. Hoon studies, at a molecular and cellular level, the basic neuroscience underlying the sense of somatosensation (hot, cold, pain, itch and the sense of touch), particularly  the molecules that contribute to the detection, neural transmission and  neuronal pathways employed by somatosensation. Molecular genetic approaches in combination with anatomical, pharmacological, and behavioral methods are used in mouse models to probe these neuronal components and circuits. These studies provide information about the mechanisms by which somatosensory stimuli are distinguished from each other, and the means by which distinct innate responses are elicited by these stimuli (for example the scratching that accompanies itch).  Ultimately, these studies will reveal biologically relevant molecules and cell-types that are involved in sensing pain and itch, and will help identify potential targets for therapeutic intervention.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Mark Hoon earned his PhD in the lab of John Findlay at the University of Leeds where he studied the molecular components in invertebrate vision. After completing a NATO postdoctoral fellowship in Freiburg, Germany, Dr. Hoon joined Nicholas Ryba's lab at NIDCR to investigate taste. Over a period of 15 years, in collaboration with the Charles Zuker’s laboratory at Columbia University, they discovered the receptors and cells required for sweet, bitter, and sour taste. At the end of 2006, Dr. Hoon started his own lab working on deciphering signaling pathways involved in mammalian somatosensation. The lab has been dissecting the cellular basis for thermosensation and pain signaling. Recently uncovered the neural pathway for itch by studying neuropeptides. Dr. Hoon's group is continuing to study peripheral mechanisms of somatosensation using molecular genetic techniques.

Selected Publications
Last Reviewed on
February 2018