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Conrad Hong

Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Pharmaceutical Sciences - COPHS
Conrad Hong




B.S. in Biochemistry - Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Ph.D. in Neuroscience - George Washington University, Washington DC

Postdoctoral training - University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA


Intro to Principles of Drug Action (RX318)

Principles of Drug Action 1 (RX411)

Principles of Drug Action 2 (RX412)

Biopharmaceutical analysis (RX785)

Molecular Pharmacology (RX788)

Recent Advances in Neuropharmacology (RX610-12)

Research Interest

My research experience is centered on molecular and cellular regulation of neuronal membrane transporters,specifically on the dopamine transporter, a primary target of abused psychostimulants (cocaine and amphetamine) and ADHD medications (Ritalin and Adderall). My research incorporates multidisciplinary experimental approaches. Using biochemical methods to probe conformational changes of the dopamine transporter, and pharmacological techniques to study its binding with cocaine, I found that membrane cholesterol modulates conformation of the transporter and cocaine binding. I also studied membrane trafficking of the dopamine transporter using quantitative confocal imaging methods. More recently, I have collaborated with behavioral neuroscientists and medicinal chemists to further explore molecular mechanisms that underlie cocaine addiction in rodent models.

For students who are interested in getting hands-on biomedical research experience in these topics, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Recent publications

Hong WC (2020) Distinct regulation of sigma-1 receptor multimerization by its agonists and antagonists in transfected cells and rat liver membranes. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. February 14, 2020, jpet.119.262790; DOI: 

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Hong WC*, Wasko MJ*, Wilkinson DS*, Hiranita T*, Li L, Hayashi S, Snell DB, Madura JD, Surratt CK, Katz JL (2018) Dopamine Transporter Dynamics of N-Substituted Benztropine Analogs with Atypical Behavioral Effects. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. doi: 10.1124/jpet.118.250498. *Equal contribution. 

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Yano H, Bonifazi A, Xu M, Guthrie DA, Schneck SN*, Abramyan AM, Fant AD, Hong WC, Newman AH, Shi L (2018) Pharmacological profiling of sigma 1 receptor ligands by novel receptor homomer assays. Neuropharmacology May;133:264-275. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.01.042.   * Butler Pharm D, and MS Pharmaceutical Sciences candidate.

Hong WC#, Yano H, Hiranita T, Chin FT, McCurdy CR, Su TP, Amara SG, Katz JL (2017) The sigma-1 receptor modulates dopamine transporter conformation and cocaine binding and may thereby potentiate cocaine self-administration in rats. J. Biol.Chem. 292(27):11250-11261. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M116.774075. #Corresponding author.

Hiranita T, Hong WC, Kopajtic T, Katz JL. σ Receptor Effects of N-Substituted Benztropine Analogs: Implications for Antagonism of Cocaine Self-Administration. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 2017Jul;362(1):2-13. doi: 10.1124/jpet.117.241109.

Hong WC, Kopajtic TA, Xu L, Lomenzo SL, Jean B, Madura JD, Surratt CK, Trudell ML and Katz JL. 2-Substituted 3ß-Aryltropane Cocaine Analogs Produce Atypical DAT Inhibitor Effects Without Inducing Inward-Facing DAT Conformations. (2016) J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 356:624-34.

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Hiranita T, Wilkinson DS, Hong WC, Zou MF, Kopajtic TA, Soto PL, Lupica CR, Newman AH, Katz JL. 2-isoxazol-3-phenyltropane derivatives of cocaine: molecular and atypical system effects at the dopamine transporter. (2014) J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 349(2):297-309. doi: 10.1124/jpet.113.212738.

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Hong WC and Amara SG (2013) Distinct post-endocytic fates of the dopamine transporter after internalization by amphetamine or PKC activation. FASEB J. 27(8) 2995-3007

Hong WC and Amara SG (2010) Membrane cholesterol modulates the outward facing conformation of the dopamine transporter andalters cocaine binding. J. Biol. Chem. 285(42): 32616-26  

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