The goal of Dr. Hwang's translational work is to provide insights into developing novel strategies for preventing cancer and improving cardiovascular health.
Cardiovascular and Cancer Genetics
TP53, encoding tumor protein p53, is the one of the most commonly mutated tumor suppressor genes in cancer and a key transcriptional regulator of multiple programs that control cell growth. Earlier work in Dr. Hwang’s lab revealed that p53 also regulates mitochondrial respiration by controlling the assembly of the enzyme complex that consumes molecular oxygen to produce cellular energy. Their subsequent findings suggested that p53 regulates mitochondrial metabolism through multiple pathways as part of its adaptive activities against oxidative and other cellular stresses. The research group is continuing to focus on this link between cancer and mitochondrial metabolism, which also impacts the cardiovascular system, by using mouse models as well as by performing translational studies in patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS), a cancer predisposition disorder caused by diverse germline mutations in TP53. Ongoing work shows that modulating mitochondrial metabolism can affect tumorigenesis in a mouse model of LFS and that p53 plays a protective role against chemotherapy-induced heart failure, both of which may have important clinical implications. The goal of their study on mitochondrial metabolism in model systems is to determine their relevance to human diseases through translational studies and to develop new strategies for cancer prevention and cardiovascular health.
Dr. Paul Hwang earned BA degrees in biochemistry and chemistry from the University of Kansas in 1985, after which he spent a year at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and University of Zurich as a Fulbright Scholar. He graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with an MD and PhD in 1993. He did his internship and residency in internal medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco, followed by a clinical fellowship in cardiology and postdoctoral research in molecular oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Upon completion of his training in 2001, Dr. Hwang joined the NHLBI as a tenure-track investigator and became a senior investigator in the Cardiovascular Branch in 2011. He was elected as member of American Society for Clinical Investigation and fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He has served on the editorial boards of Drug Discovery Today, Frontiers in Mitochondrial Physiology, and Mitochondrion, and has authored numerous research articles and reviews in major journals. He has been recognized for his contributions to the NHLBI intramural research by receiving the NHLBI Orloff Science Award and the NHLBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Translational Science.