Guo Huang, PhD

Associate Prof in Residence
Cardiovascular Research Institute
Department of Physiology
+1 415 502-2873
Research Overview: 

Background: The regenerative potential in the animal kingdom displays striking divergence across ontogeny and phylogeny. For example, heart regeneration is remarkably robust in adult zebrafish and newborn mice while very limited in adult mammals. This presents a particular problem for patients with a heart attack who suffer from loss of millions of heart muscle cells and life-threatening functional deterioration of the heart.

Summary: Our current research focuses on cardiac regeneration and repair in adult zebrafish, neonatal and adult mice, with an emphasis on the pathways that regulate resident stem cell activation and cardiac muscle cell proliferation, and with innovative and integrated approaches in engineering, single cell analysis, advanced imaging microscopy and genome manipulation technology. 

Major goals: (i) decipher natural regeneration processes (ii) stimulate de novo regenerative responses.

On-going Research includes

  1. Developing novel intravital imaging and tissue clearing techniques to visualize cellular dynamics during heart development, regeneration and injury repair.
  2. Performing unprecedented functional screens to induce adult mouse cardiomyocyte regeneration using both candidate gene and directed evolution approaches integrated with CRISPR/Cas9 genome manipulation technology.
  3. Conducting single cell analyses and lineage tracing studies of resident progenitor cells and differentiated cells in the heart during development, regeneration and diseases.
  4. Taking pharmacological and genetic approaches to uncover the unifying principle underlying the decline of regenerative potentials in adult mammalian organs and appendages including the heart, digit/limb, skin, brain, and spinal cord.
  5. Leveraging the power of phylogenetic screen to identify novel higher vertebrate animal models with extraordinary tissue regenerative capacity.
  6. Investigating human genetic mutations and underlying molecular mechanisms in rare heart diseases that may result in preservation of cardiac regenerative potential.
  7. Exploring the molecular basis of extreme biology in invertebrate and vertebrate species including water bears, naked mole-rats and ground squirrels.
  8. Understanding the cardiovascular pathogenesis of COVID-19 in human patients.

Our recent findings of organ regeneration in development and evolution yield unprecedented insights into the link of regeneration to cancer, metabolism, and aging, and suggest the existence of non-model organisms and rare human individuals with extreme physiology and capability that await exciting biology discovery.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Vascular & Cardiac Biology
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
Research Summary: 
Comparative study of organ development and regeneration


Featured Publications: 

Adrenergic-Thyroid Hormone Interactions Drive Postnatal Thermogenesis and Loss of Mammalian Heart Regenerative Capacity.


Payumo AY, Chen X, Hirose K, Chen X, Hoang A, Khyeam S, Yu H, Wang J, Chen Q, Powers N, Chen L, Bigley RB, Lovas J, Hu G, Huang GN

Lamin B2, Guardian of Cardiomyocyte Nuclear Division.

Developmental cell

Payumo AY, Huang GN

Evidence for hormonal control of heart regenerative capacity during endothermy acquisition.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Hirose K, Payumo AY, Cutie S, Hoang A, Zhang H, Guyot R, Lunn D, Bigley RB, Yu H, Wang J, Smith M, Gillett E, Muroy SE, Schmid T, Wilson E, Field KA, Reeder DM, Maden M, Yartsev MM, Wolfgang MJ, Grützner F, Scanlan TS, Szweda LI, Buffenstein R, Hu G, Flamant F, Olgin JE, Huang GN

C/EBP transcription factors mediate epicardial activation during heart development and injury.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Huang GN, Thatcher JE, McAnally J, Kong Y, Qi X, Tan W, DiMaio JM, Amatruda JF, Gerard RD, Hill JA, Bassel-Duby R, Olson EN

NFAT binding and regulation of T cell activation by the cytoplasmic scaffolding Homer proteins.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Huang GN, Huso DL, Bouyain S, Tu J, McCorkell KA, May MJ, Zhu Y, Lutz M, Collins S, Dehoff M, Kang S, Whartenby K, Powell J, Leahy D, Worley PF

STIM1 carboxyl-terminus activates native SOC, I(crac) and TRPC1 channels.

Nature cell biology

Huang GN, Zeng W, Kim JY, Yuan JP, Han L, Muallem S, Worley PF