Scripps Research Logo



Howard Hang, PhD

Department of Immunology and Microbiology
California Campus
Laboratory Website
(858) 784-2450

Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Department of Chemistry
Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

My laboratory is broadly interested in the molecular mechanisms by which chemical signals modulate host microbe interactions in infection and immunity. These chemical signals (metabolites) may be derived from host metabolism (endogenous metabolites) or the environment (diet, microbiota, therapeutics) and have been challenging to mechanistically elucidate. To dissect the mechanisms that govern host-microbe interactions, my laboratory has 1) developed chemical methods to characterize metabolite-protein interactions and 2) employed key animal models to discover new protective factors from specific microbiota species and elucidated their mechanisms of action. These studies have revealed unpredicted metabolite-protein functions in host immunity and microbial pathogenesis as well as novel microbiota protective factors, which have afforded new therapeutic leads and biomarkers for infection, inflammation and immunotherapy.


B.S., Chemistry, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1998
Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 2003

Professional Experience

Postdoctoral fellow in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis with Prof. Hidde Ploegh, Harvard Medical School and Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research, 2004 - 2006.

Ph.D. in Chemistry with Prof. Carolyn Bertozzi, Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1998 - 2003.

B.S. in Chemistry with Prof. Joseph Konopelski, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, 1994 - 1998.

Awards & Professional Activities

Kenneth Rainin Foundation Synergy Award, 2019.
Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 2017.
Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging, 2008.
Irma T. Hirschl/Monique Weill-Caulier Career Scientist Award, 2007.
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2004.
American Chemical Society, Organic Division Graduate Fellowship, 2002.

Selected References

Enterococcus peptidoglycan remodeling promotes checkpoint inhibitor cancer immunotherapy. Griffin ME, Espinosa J, Becker JL, Luo JD, Carroll TS, Jha JK, Fanger GR, Hang HC. Science. 2021 Aug 27;373(6558):1040-1046. doi: 10.1126/science.abc9113.PMID: 34446607

RecT Recombinase Expression Enables Efficient Gene Editing in Enterococcus. Chen V, Griffin ME, Maguin P, Varble A, Hang HC. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2021 Aug 26;87(18):e0084421. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00844-21. Epub 2021 Aug 26.PMID: 34232061

Site-specific acylation of a bacterial virulence regulator attenuates infection. Zhang ZJ, Pedicord VA, Peng T, Hang HC. Nat Chem Biol. 2020 Jan;16(1):95-103. doi: 10.1038/s41589-019-0392-5. Epub 2019 Nov 18.PMID: 31740807

Enterococcus faecium secreted antigen A generates muropeptides to enhance host immunity and limit bacterial pathogenesis. Kim B, Wang YC, Hespen CW, Espinosa J, Salje J, Rangan KJ, Oren DA, Kang JY, Pedicord VA, Hang HC. Elife. 2019 Apr 10;8:e45343. doi: 10.7554/eLife.45343.PMID: 30969170

Peptidoglycan Metabolite Photoaffinity Reporters Reveal Direct Binding to Intracellular Pattern Recognition Receptors and Arf GTPases. Wang YC, Westcott NP, Griffin ME, Hang HC. ACS Chem Biol. 2019 Mar 15;14(3):405-414. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.8b01038. Epub 2019 Feb 20.PMID: 30735346

IFITM3 directly engages and shuttles incoming virus particles to lysosomes. Spence JS, He R, Hoffmann HH, Das T, Thinon E, Rice CM, Peng T, Chandran K, Hang HC. Nat Chem Biol. 2019 Mar;15(3):259-268. doi: 10.1038/s41589-018-0213-2. Epub 2019 Jan 14.PMID: 30643282

Exploiting a host-commensal interaction to promote intestinal barrier function and enteric pathogen tolerance. Pedicord VA, Lockhart AAK, Rangan KJ, Craig JW, Loschko J, Rogoz A, Hang HC, Mucida D. Sci Immunol. 2016 Sep;1(3):eaai7732. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aai7732. Epub 2016 Sep 22.PMID: 28580440

A secreted bacterial peptidoglycan hydrolase enhances tolerance to enteric pathogens. Rangan KJ, Pedicord VA, Wang YC, Kim B, Lu Y, Shaham S, Mucida D, Hang HC. Science. 2016 Sep 23;353(6306):1434-1437. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf3552. Epub 2016 Sep 22.PMID: 27708039