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Tian Hong

Contact Info

Tian Hong

Assistant Professor

Office: WLS, F221 (865-974-3089)

Lab: WLS, E208 (865-974-5480)

Email –


Ph.D. Genetics Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Dynamic and plastic cellular behaviors are the key features of many complex biological processes such as development and disease progression. Rigorous description and theoretical analysis of the cellular dynamics are critical to elucidate these processes. We use systems approach to understand cellular plasticity arising from intrinsic dynamics of gene regulatory networks and intercellular communications. We are interested in a wide spectrum of biological problems including T cell differentiation, epithelial plasticity during development and cancer progression, and specialization of motor neurons in early embryos. We build general theoretical frameworks and specific models to evaluate conflicting hypotheses in silico, to make predictions at gene and cellular levels, and to improve the intuitive understanding of complex biological systems.


Hong T, Watanabe K, Ta CH, Villarreal-Ponce A, Nie Q, Dai X. An Ovol2-Zeb1 Mutual Inhibitory Circuit Governs Bidirectional and Multi-step Transition between Epithelial and Mesenchymal States. PLoS Comput Biol 2015, 11(11): e1004569

Hong T, Fung ES, Zhang L, Huynh G, Monuki ES, Nie Q. Semi-adaptive response and noise attenuation in BMP signaling. J R Soc Interface 2015, 12 (107): 20150258

Hong T, Oguz C, Tyson JJ. A mathematical framework for understanding four-dimensional heterogeneous differentiation of CD4+ T cells. Bull Math Biol 2015, 77 (6): 1046-1064

Jensen RV, DePasquale, SM, Harbolick EA, Hong T, Kernell AL, Kruchko DH, Modise T, Smith CE, McCarter LL, Stevens AM. Complete Genome Sequence of Pre-pandemicVibrio parahaemolyticus BB22OP. Genome Announcements 2013, 1

Hong T, Xing J, Li L, Tyson JJ. A simple theoretical framework for understanding heterogeneous differentiation of CD4+ T cells. BMC Syst Biol 2012, 6: 66

Hong T, Xing J, Li L, Tyson JJ. A mathematical model for the reciprocal differentiation of T helper 17 cells and induced regulatory T cells. PLoS Comput Biol 2011, 7(7):e1002122

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