About Sickkids
About SickKids

Hoon-Ki Sung, MD, PhD

Research Institute
Physiology & Experimental Medicine

University of Toronto
Assistant Professor
Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology

Phone: (416) 813-7654 ext.309430
Fax: (416) 813-8724
e-mail: hoon-ki.sung@sickkids.ca

Brief Biography

Dr. Sung received his M.D. from South Korea. He obtained his Ph.D. in the Department of Clinical Oriented Anatomy and Functional Histology, University of Yeungnam. Following his Ph.D., he did his postdoctoral research at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in the laboratory of Dr. Gou Young Koh. In 2006, he moved to Toronto and joined the laboratory of Dr. Andras Nagy in the Tanenbaum-Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital. In 2014, he established his research laboratory in the Physiology and Experimental Medicine Program at the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute. His main research interest includes adipose biology and metabolism, angiogenesis and stem cell.

Research Interests

• Obesity & Adipose biology
• Metabolism & Nutrition physiology
• Vascular biology & Angiogenesis
• Stem cell biology

Research Activities

Obesity is defined as an excess of whole body fat mass (adipose tissue). Adipose tissue is characterized by its ability for lifelong growth and almost unlimited expansion. As in other tissues, fat tissue expansion also requires concomitant new vessel formation (angiogenesis) to meet its increased demand for oxygen and nutrients. Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF) is an endothelial specific potent angiogenic factor and is highly expressed in growing tissues including adipose tissue. We previously demonstrated that adipose-VEGF exerts metabolic improvement by reducing adipose tissue hypoxia and inflammation through enhanced angiogenesis. In addition, adipose-VEGF induces ‘brown-like’ adipocyte formation (browning) in white adipose tissue, which provides additional metabolic benefits. However, underlying mechanism for VEGF induced browning and their cellular origin is still unclear. Therefore, in the future study, we will investigate the molecular mechanism of VEGF-mediated beige cells formation and identify the cellular origin of VEGF-induced beige adipocyte. Recently, we find adipose-VEGF may have a potential to regulate trans-endothelial nutrient transportation in white adipose tissue, which might be one of key processes for whole body lipid partitioning and metabolic homeostasis. These data suggest that adipose-VEGF may contribute to whole body metabolism through its angiogenic as well as non-angiogenic (lipid transportation) function. Our study will point to the therapeutic potential of adipose-VEGF for the treatment and prevention of obesity and metabolic disease.