Dr. Mei Hong

Professor of Chemistry

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
170 Albany Street
Cambridge, MA, 02139

My research focuses on the development and application of multidimensional and multinuclear solid-state NMR spectroscopy to elucidate the structure and dynamics of biological macromolecules. We are interested in membrane proteins and amyloid proteins that are important in human health, and plant cell walls that are important as energy materials. In the area of membrane proteins, we investigate the structures and mechanisms of action of virus ion channels and curvature-inducing membrane proteins such as viral fusion proteins and antimicrobial peptides. In the area of amyloid proteins, we are focusing on the structure and dynamics of the tau protein, which is a principal player in many neurodegenerative diseases such as the Alzheimer’s disease. Applying solid-state NMR spectroscopy, we are also pioneering the studies of the molecular structures and interactions of the polysaccharides that make up plant cell walls.


To understand these biomolecular systems, we develop a wide range of solid-state NMR methods. These include isotopic labeling strategies, multidimensional correlation pulse sequences for resonance assignment, distance-measurement techniques that extend the distance reach of NMR from a few angstroms to ~2 nm, spin polarization transfer techniques to probe the depth of insertion of membrane proteins in phospholipid bilayers and to study protein-water interactions, and 2D and 3D correlation experiments to characterize molecular motions. These solid-state NMR techniques allow us to extract molecular structural and dynamical information that reveals the mechanism of action of these biological macromolecules.


1992 – 1996      Ph.D. Chemistry, University of California Berkeley
1990 – 1992      B. A. Chemistry, summa cum laude, Mount Holyoke College


2014 –               Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2007 – 2010     John D. Corbett Professor, Iowa State University (ISU)
2004 – 2014    Professor of Chemistry, ISU
2002 – 2004    Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, ISU
1999 – 2002    Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, ISU
1997 – 1999     Research Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
1996 – 1997     Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry, MIT


2021   American Chemical Society Nakanishi Prize

2018    Nirit and Michael Shaoul Fellow, Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies, Tel Aviv University
2016    Fellow of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance (ISMAR)
2016    Edmond de Rothschild lecturer, Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Paris
2014    Günther Laukien Prize, Experimental NMR Conference
2013    Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in Research, Iowa State University (ISU)
2012    Protein Society Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award
2010    Founders Medal, International Council on Magnetic Resonance in Biological Systems
2010    Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
2007    The first John D. Corbett Professorship
2007    Mid-Career Research Award, ISU
2006    Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award, Iota Sigma Pi
2004    Mary Lyon Award, Mount Holyoke College
2003    Early Achievement in Research/Artistic Creativity Award, ISU
2003    Pure Chemistry Award, American Chemical Society
2002    Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, Sloan Foundation
2001    CAREER Award, National Science Foundation
2000    Research Innovation Award, Research Corporation
1999     Beckman Young Investigator Award, Beckman Foundation
1998     POWRE Award, National Science Foundation
1997     National Institute of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship
1992     American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award, Mount Holyoke College


By summer 2022, ~225 publications, with a Web of Science cumulative h-index of 61.