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Ho Leung Ng, PhD

Ho Leung Ng, PhD
  • Associate Member
    Cancer Biology Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor
    Department of Chemistry
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Graduate Faculty
    JABSOM Department of Cell and Molecular Biology


  • PhD (Molecular Biology)
    University of California, Los Angeles

Research Focus

1) Structure based drug design for cancer and immunology: Using in silico methods, we have identified inhibitors for the immunomodulator RORy, epigenetic modifier EZH2, JAK2, and K-Ras that have been experimentally validated. We are also crystallizing Stat3 with small molecular inhibitors. We are especially interested in experimental and computational fragment based screening, identification of novel drug binding sites, and application of machine learning/artificial intelligence methods to drug discovery and computational chemistry.

2) Structural characterization of T-cell receptor mimic antibody specificity: TCR mimics are a promising alternative and complement to chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy. We seek to dissect the physical factors for binding specificity with the goal of predicting pharmacogenetic factors in immunotoxicity.

3) Estrogen pathway inhibitors: We have identified a potential allosteric inhibitor binding site in aromatase (estrogen biosynthesis) and have identified new inhibitors by computer aided and fragment based drug design for which we plan to file a patent. We have developed the first in vitro biochemical assays for GPER (G-protein coupled estrogen receptor) ligand binding. We have performed computational molecular dynamics analysis of estrogen receptor to characterize the different dynamic signatures of estrogen receptor agonists and antagonists.

4) Computational methods for crystallography and structure based drug design: We are developing new methods for identifying hydrogen atom positions from X-ray and neutron crystallography data and utilizing this data for computer aided drug discovery.

Selected Publications

  • Vidad AR, Macaspac S, Ng HL. (2016).Identification of the ligand binding sites in the G-protein coupled estrogen receptor.
  • Ng HL. (2016). Antagonist binding increases dynamic fluctuations in estrogen receptor-alpha in molecular dynamics simulations. J Molec Graphics Modeling, 69, 72.
  • Ng HL, Lin, M.Z. (2016). Structural biology of far-red and near infrared emitting fluorescent proteins. Current Opin Struct Biol, 39, 124.
  • Chu J, Sens A, Dana H, Macklin J, Laviv T, Ataie N, Tran Tang C, Hu M, Zhang F, Baird M, Davidson M, Welf ES, Dean KM, Fiolka R, Kay M, Yasuda R, Kim D, Ng HL, Lin MZ. (2016). A bright cyan-excitable orange fluorescent protein enables dual-emission microcopy and highly sensitive bioluminescence imaging in vivo. Nature Biotech, 34, 760.
  • Ataie N, Xiang J, Cheng N, Brea EJ, Lu W, Scheinberg DA, Liu C, Ng HL. (2016). Structure of a TCR-mimic antibody with target predicts pharmacogenetics. J Mol Biol, 428, 194.
  • Kim J, Kagawa A, Kurasaki K, Ataie N, Cho IK, Li QX, Ng HL. (2015). Large-scale identification of membrane proteins with properties favorable for crystallization. Protein Sci, 24, 1756.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • H.L. Ng, PI
    NSF CAREER Award 1350555
    "Seeing the invisible: Locating hydrogen atoms in protein crystal structures"
  • H.L. Ng, PI
    Hawaii Community Foundation
    "Allosteric inhibitors of aromatase for breast cancer"