Photo of Hon Wai Koon, PhD
Hon Wai Koon, PhD

Phone: (310) 825-9742

Dr. Koon’s research is focused on the roles of antimicrobial peptide Cathelicidin in inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal infection and colon cancer. Cathelicidin is a natural endogenous anti-microbial peptide that is protective to host as a part of innate immune system. Dr. Koon’s laboratory was the first to show the anti-inflammatory effects of cathelicidin in C. difficile infection in mice and C. difficile toxin A and B in monocytes and macrophages. Cathelicidin mediates various anti-inflammatory signaling pathways that promote healing of intestinal mucosa. Such anti-inflammatory effects of cathelicidin may be protective to other acute and chronic intestinal inflammation. This involves the coordination of epithelial, endothelial and immune systems in intestine and establishes a new direction of research in digestive diseases across various functional systems in body.

Dr. Koon is also interested in the correlation of gene expression of cathelicidin and other antimicrobial compounds with the development of inflammatory bowel disease and other intestinal diseases.

Dr. Koon received Master and PhD degrees at the University of Hong Kong. He then completed his postdoctoral training in basic gastroenterology research at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Harvard Medical School in Boston. He is Assistant Professor of UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases as well as a member of UCLA IBD Center and American Gastroenterological Association. Dr. Koon has a team of 3 undergraduate research project students, 1 postdoctoral fellow and 1 medical resident researcher. Dr. Koon’s projects are currently funded by NIH and CCFA grants.

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