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Nelson Chong

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr Chong is a Senior Lecturer in Physiology and Pharmacology in the Department of Biosciences.

Career overview

After graduating from the University of Westminster with a BSc (Hon) Bioscience degree, Dr Chong studied for a MSc in Pharmacology at Kings College London. His project was the first to identify the novel nitric oxide synthase inhibitor L-NOARG and this work was subsequently published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. He then took up a PhD studentship at Kings College London (Physiology) working on the characterisation of the receptors for the pineal hormone melatonin. His postdoctoral post at the Institute of Psychiatry (London) identified initial candidates for circadian clock genes in the brain. Dr Chong then took up a Fogarty Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (USA) and investigated on the first molecular characterisation of the limiting enzyme in melatonin synthesis. He continued to examine the pineal clock system as a Vice Chancellor Fellow at the University of Surrey (1998) before taking up the Coulson Fellowship (2002) and Lecturer at the University of Leicester, where he focused on the molecular basis of heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. He was appointed Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology at the University of Westminster London (2013) and subsequently appointed Assistant Head of School (2019).

Dr Chong also has interests in pedagogic support for student learning and teaching. He was awarded outstanding contribution and staff appreciation annual awards for his excellent support and experience for students (2014-2018). He was subsequently awarded the prestigious individual University Learning and Teaching award in 2019. Dr Chong took up the current position of Senior Lecturer in Physiology and Pharmacology at Nottingham Trent University in April 2021.

Research areas

Using a systems approach (molecular, cell, organ and animal models), Dr Chong’s focus is to identify and delineate novel gene regulatory networks in cardiac function and define molecular mechanisms that control the expression of these genes critical to health i.e. how does the circadian clock work? how it impinges diverse biological processes in the heart?

Current research areas:

  • The role and mechanism of the circadian timing system (clock genes, pineal hormone melatonin) on cardiac function and disease.
  • Mechanisms of regulation and action of the muscle-enriched gene, Actin-binding Rho-activating protein (Abra), in muscle biology and disease.
  • Identification of novel nutriceuticals and its role in the attenuation of insulin resistance and hyperglycaemia.

If you have an interest in completing a PhD in any of the above research areas (or related areas), please do contact me ( for further information.

External activity

Dr Chong is a Review Editor for Frontiers in Pharmacology. He has peer-reviewed manuscripts for international scientific journals such as Cardiovascular Research, Biochemical Pharmacology, Chronobiology International, Journal of Pineal Research, and Frontiers in Pharmacology. He has also written articles on cardiac pathophysiology in The Conversation.

Dr Chong designed and wrote a Labster virtual learning laboratory simulation entitled "Viral Gene Therapy: Use DNA to prevent heart failure".

Dr Chong is an Ambassador for the Royal Society of Biology (RSB) and serves on the Membership and Professional Affairs Committee of the RSB. He is also a member and a Fellow of the RSB (FRSB) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).


Joseph D, Chong NW Shanks ME, Rosato E, Taub NA, Petersen SA, Symonds ME, Whitehouse WP, Wailoo M. (2015) Getting rhythms: how do babies do it? Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 100, F50-54.

Ounzain S, Kobayashi S, Peterson R, He Aibin, Samani NJ, Menick DR, Pu WT, Liang Q, Chong, N.W. (2012) Cardiac expression of STARS, a novel gene involved in cardiac development and disease, is regulated by GATA4. Mol Cell Biol. 32, 1830-1843.

Chong, N.W. Kokemoer, AL., Samani, N.J., Shin JT., Shaw, S. (2012) STARS (Striated muscle Activator of Rho Signalling) is essential to maintain cardiac development and function in vivo via a SRF pathway. PLoS One 7, e40966.

Haque, R., Chong, N.W., Ali F, Chaurasia SS, Sengupta T, Chun E, Howell JC, Klein DC, Iuvone PM. (2011) cAMP-dependent transcriptional regulation of the chicken arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase gene by novel regulatory elements of the proximal promoter. J Neurochem 119, 6-17.

Koekemoer, AL, Chong, N.W.,Goodall AH, Samani NJ. (2009) Myocyte stress 1 plays an important role in cellular hypertrophy and protection against apoptosis. FEBS Lett. 583, 2964-2967.

Ounzain, S., Dacwag, C.S., Samani, N.J., Imbalzano, A.N. and Chong, N.W. (2008) Comparative in silico analysis identifies bona fide MyoD binding sites within the Myocyte Stress 1 gene promoter. BMC Molecular Biology 9:50.

Singletary, J.H., Chan, D., Samani, N.J., and Chong, N.W.  (2008) The canonical E-box motif: a target for glucocorticoid action that drives rhythmic mouse Pai-1 transcription in vitro. Gene 420, 42-47.

Chong, N.W., Codd, V., Chan, D. and Samani, N.J. (2006) Circadian clock genes cause activation of the human PAI-1 gene promoter with 4G/5G allelic preference. FEBS Lett. 580, 4469-4472.

Hartman, S., Touchton, G., Wynn, J., Geng, T., Chong, N.W., and Smith, E. (2005) Characterization of expressed sequence tags from Gallus gallus pineal gland cDNA library. Comp Funct Genomics., 6, 301-306.

Chong, N.W., Chaurasia, S.C., Haque, R., Klein, D.C. and Iuvone, P.M. (2003) Temporal-spatial Characterization of Chicken Clock Genes: Circadian Expression in Retina, Pineal Gland and Peripheral Tissues. J. Neurochem 85, 851-860.

Mahadeva, H., Brooks, G., Lodwick, D., Chong, N.W. and Samani, N.J. (2002) ms1, a novel stress[1]responsive, muscle-specific gene that is up-regulated in early stages of pressure overload-induced left ventricular hypertrophy. FEBS Lett 521, 100-104.

Bailey, M.J., *Chong, N.W., Xiong, J. and Cassone, V.M. (2002) Chickens' Cry2: molecular analysis of an avian cryptochrome in retinal and pineal photoreceptors. FEBS Letts 513, 169-174. *Contributed equally.

Chong, N.W.S., Bernard, M. and Klein, D.C. (2000) Characterization of the chicken serotonin N[1]acetyltransferase gene: activation via clock gene heterodimer: E-box interaction. J. Biol. Chem. 275, 32991- 32998.

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Press expertise

  • Pineal hormone melatonin
  • Circadian biology
  • Clock genes
  • Cardiac biology, including heart failure