Heidi H. Kong is a board-certified Dermatologist and currently directs a translational research program studying the human microbiome and inflammatory skin diseases. After training in Dermatology at Duke University, she completed a clinical research fellowship in the Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute and the Duke-NIH Masters Program in Clinical Research. Dr. Kong is an attending physician on the NIH Dermatology Consultation Service and an Adjunct Investigator at the National Cancer Institute. She is a Senior Investigator and Head of the Cutaneous Microbiome and Inflammation Section at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Research Statement

Dr. Heidi Kong has dedicated her research to investigating the skin microbes in patients with inflammatory skin diseases and in healthy individuals. Her translational studies are based on clinical questions related to the skin microbiome in atopic dermatitis and immunodeficiency. Dr. Kong’s work has advanced our understanding of the microbial communities of human skin. She combines translational research expertise with advanced genomic technologies to study skin microbes in order to gain insights into the pathogenesis of skin diseases and to potentially identify therapeutics for patients. Dr. Kong has active clinical studies for healthy volunteers and patients with eczema.

Scientific Publications

Expanded skin virome in DOCK8-deficient patients.

Tirosh O, Conlan S, Deming C, Lee-Lin SQ, Huang X, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program., Su HC, Freeman AF, Segre JA, Kong HH
Nat Med.
2018 Dec;
doi: 10.1038/s41591-018-0211-7
PMID: 30397357

Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis strain diversity underlying pediatric atopic dermatitis.

Byrd AL, Deming C, Cassidy SKB, Harrison OJ, Ng WI, Conlan S, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program., Belkaid Y, Segre JA, Kong HH
Sci Transl Med.
2017 Jul 5;
pii: eaal4651. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aal4651
PMID: 28679656

Temporal Stability of the Human Skin Microbiome.

Oh J, Byrd AL, Park M, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program., Kong HH, Segre JA
2016 May 5;
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.04.008
PMID: 27153496

Diverse Human Skin Fungal Communities in Children Converge in Adulthood.

Jo JH, Deming C, Kennedy EA, Conlan S, Polley EC, Ng WI, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program., Segre JA, Kong HH
J Invest Dermatol.
2016 Dec;
doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2016.05.130
PMID: 27476723

Biogeography and individuality shape function in the human skin metagenome.

Oh J, Byrd AL, Deming C, Conlan S, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program., Kong HH, Segre JA
2014 Oct 2;
doi: 10.1038/nature13786
PMID: 25279917

Topographic diversity of fungal and bacterial communities in human skin.

Findley K, Oh J, Yang J, Conlan S, Deming C, Meyer JA, Schoenfeld D, Nomicos E, Park M, NIH Intramural Sequencing Center Comparative Sequencing Program., Kong HH, Segre JA
2013 Jun 20;
doi: 10.1038/nature12171
PMID: 23698366

The altered landscape of the human skin microbiome in patients with primary immunodeficiencies.

Oh J, Freeman AF, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program., Park M, Sokolic R, Candotti F, Holland SM, Segre JA, Kong HH
Genome Res.
2013 Dec;
doi: 10.1101/gr.159467.113
PMID: 24170601

Temporal shifts in the skin microbiome associated with disease flares and treatment in children with atopic dermatitis.

Kong HH, Oh J, Deming C, Conlan S, Grice EA, Beatson MA, Nomicos E, Polley EC, Komarow HD, NISC Comparative Sequence Program., Murray PR, Turner ML, Segre JA
Genome Res.
2012 May;
doi: 10.1101/gr.131029.111
PMID: 22310478

Shifts in human skin and nares microbiota of healthy children and adults.

Oh J, Conlan S, Polley EC, Segre JA, Kong HH
Genome Med.
doi: 10.1186/gm378
PMID: 23050952

Skin microbiome before development of atopic dermatitis: Early colonization with commensal staphylococci at 2 months is associated with a lower risk of atopic dermatitis at 1 year.

Kennedy EA, Connolly J, Hourihane JO, Fallon PG, McLean WHI, Murray D, Jo JH, Segre JA, Kong HH, Irvine AD
J Allergy Clin Immunol.
2017 Jan;
doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.07.029
PMID: 27609659

Structure, function and diversity of the healthy human microbiome.

Human Microbiome Project Consortium.
2012 Jun 13;
doi: 10.1038/nature11234
PMID: 22699609

A framework for human microbiome research.

Human Microbiome Project Consortium.
2012 Jun 13;
doi: 10.1038/nature11209
PMID: 22699610


Duke University,

Baylor College of Medicine,
M.D. (Honors)

Stanford University,
B.S., Biological Sciences


Assistant Clinical Investigator
Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Clinical Research Fellowship
Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Dermatology Residency, Chief Resident
Duke University Medical Center

Last Updated: August 2021