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Profile Detail

Wilson Chung

Assistant Professor

  • 1996: M.S. Medical Biology. Department of Biology, Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

  • 2003: Ph.D. Neurobiology. Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Department of Medicine, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

In my laboratory, we study how fibroblast growth factors FGF) regulate fetal brain morphogenesis, which ultimately impacts brain function. In our studies, we showed that a downregulation of FGF8 expression causes cortical hypotrophy, agenesis of the corpus callosum, reduced proliferation, and the elimination of entire neuronal populations that are critical for normal body function. For example, we found that the knockdown of FGF8 expression in transgenic mice eliminates gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons, which are required for the regulation of fertility. These experimentally-derived data enabled us to postulate how FGF8 mutations found in human Kallmann syndrome patients may cause the associated hypogonadotropic/hypogonadism and infertility.

By studying how FGFs regulate embryonic brain development, we are able to ask very specific questions using molecular and cellular research techniques to study and discover how the brain is organized during fetal development. These studies how also made it possible to investigate how these developmental mechanisms affect perinatal and adult brain function. Examples of these questions are:1) How is embryonic FGF expression turned on and off, 2) How do FGF's regulate axonal guidance and targeting of neocortical neurons, and 3) How do external environmental factors (i.e., stress or alcoholism) affect the (epigenetic) regulation of FGF expression in the fetal brain.

The large scope of these studies requires my laboratory to be multi-disciplinary, and therefore, we do not only use molecular and cellular research techniques to study FGF signaling at the genetic and protein level, but also apply behavioral analyses to answer questions about brain function as a whole.

Graduate Students

PhD students can enter the lab through either the Department of Biological Sciences or the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Undergraduate Students

Kent State undergraduates who are interested in Developmental Neuroscience or Neuroendocrine research, and want to learn specific research techniques, such as cell culture, embryonic brain tissue explants, DNA/RNA isolation, quantitative PCR, protein analysis and immunocytochemistry should send an e-mail to Dr. Chung to setup an appointment. Please include in the email a short description of your interests, and possible career goals.

Selected Publications

  • Stevenson EL, Corella KM, Chung WCJ (2013) Ontogenesis of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons: a model for hypothalamic neuroendocrine cell development. Front Endocrinol. 4: 89.

  • Miraoui H, Dwyer AA, Sykiotis GP, Plummer L, Chung WCJ, et al (2013) Genetic screening of the FGF8 synexpression group identifies rare sequence variants in FGF17, IL17RD, DUSP6, SPRY4 and FLRT3 in patients with Congenital Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism. American Journal of Human Genetics. 92: 725.

  • Rao YS, Mott NM, Wang Y, Chung WCJ, Pak TR (2013) A subset of miRNAs are differentially regulated by estrogen in the aging brain. Endocrinology. 154: 2795.  

  • Chung WCJ, Auger AP (2013). Gender differences neurodevelopment and epigenetics. Pflugers Archiv. 465: 573.

  • Tsai TS, Brooks LR, Rochester JR, Kavanaugh SI, Chung WCJ (2011) Fibroblast growth factor signaling in the developing neuroendocrine hypothalamus. Frontiers of Neuroendocrinology.32: 95.

  • Chung WCJ, Matthews TA, Tata BK, Tsai PS (2010) Compound deficiencies in multiple FGF signaling components differentially impact the murine GnRH system. J Neuroendocrinology. 22: 944.

  • Chung WCJ, Moyle SS, Tsai PS (2008) Fibroblast growth factor 8 signaling through FGF receptor 1 is required for gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal development in mice. Endocrinology. 149: 4997.

  • Falardeau J, Chung WCJ, Beekeen A, Plummer L, Sidis Y, Raivio T, Dwyer A, Na S, Hall J, Huot C, Alois N, Quinton R, Cole LW, Hughes V, Mohammadi M, Tsai PS, Pitteloud N (2008). Decreased FGF8 signaling causes GnRH deficiency in human and mice. J Clin Invest. 118: 2822.

  • Chung WCJ, Pak TR, Suzuki S, Pouliot WA, Andersen ME, Handa RJ (2007). Detection and localization of an estrogen receptor beta splice variant protein (ERbeta2) in the adult female rat forebrain and midbrain regions. J Comp Neurol. 20: 249.

  • Pak TR, Chung WCJ, Hinds LR, Handa RJ (2007) Estrogen receptor-beta mediates DHT-induced stimulation of the arginine vasopressin promoter in neuronal cells. Endocrinology. 148:3371.

  • Pak TR, Chung WCJ, Roberts JL, Handa RJ (2006) Ligand-independent effects of estrogen receptor beta on mouse gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) promoter activity. Endocrinology 147: 1924.

  • Chung WCJ, De Vries GJ, Swaab DF (2002) Sexual differentiation in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis of the human extends into adulthood. J Neurosci 22: 1027.

  • Chung WCJ, Swaab DF, De Vries GJ (2000) Apoptosis during postnatal sexual differentiation of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in the rat brain. J Neurobiology 43: 234.

Research Areas
  • Development neuroendocrinology
  • Brain sexual differentiation
  • Brain Morphogenesis, proliferation and cell survival

The Society for Neuroscience (

The Endocrine Society (

Wilson Chung
Department of Biological Sciences
Room 53
By appointment.
Phone: 330-672-3641
Fax: 330-672-3713
Spring 2014
  • BSCI 40195 - 017 St : Advanced Human Psysiology
  • BSCI 50195 - 018 St : Advanced Human Physiology
  • BSCI 50196 - 003 Individual Investigation
  • BMS 60199 - 005 Thesis I
  • BSCI 70195 - 018 St : Advanced Human Physiology
Summer 2014
  • BMS 60299 - 004 Thesis Ii
Fall 2014
  • BSCI 40195 - 012 St : Developmental Neurobiology
  • BSCI 40600 - 016 Writing In Biological Sciences
  • BSCI 50195 - 012 St : Developmental Neurobiology
  • BSCI 70195 - 012 St : Developmental Neurobiology