Dr. Kong is a board-certified Dermatologist and currently directs a research program that includes clinical and translational investigations on 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 became an Assistant Clinical Investigator in 2007 and an Investigator in the Dermatology Branch in 2011. Dr. Kong is an attending physician on the NIH Dermatology Consultation Service. She is also an Adjunct Investigator at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Research Statement

Dr. Kong studies the human microbiome and its roles in health and disease, particularly in inflammatory skin diseases.  Dr. Kong has advanced the understanding of the complexity of microbial communities of human skin in healthy individuals and patients with atopic dermatitis and several primary immunodeficiency syndromes with associated eczematous skin. Dr. Kong combines clinical/translational research expertise with advanced genomic technologies to study skin microbes to gain insights into the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis and to identify potential therapeutics for patients with this disease. She has active clinical studies for health volunteers and patients with atopic dermatitis.

Scientific Publications

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
Science translational medicine.
2017 Jul 5;
pii: eaal4651. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aal4651
PMID: 28679656

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
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology.
2017 Jan;
doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.07.029
PMID: 27609659

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
The Journal of investigative dermatology.
2016 Dec;
doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2016.05.130
PMID: 27476723

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

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

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 research.
2013 Dec;
doi: 10.1101/gr.159467.113
PMID: 24170601

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

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

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

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

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 research.
2012 May;
doi: 10.1101/gr.131029.111
PMID: 22310478


Stanford University, B.S., Biological Sciences

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

Duke University, M.H.Sc.


Investigator & Head, Cutaneous Microbiome & Inflammation Section, Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, NCI (2011-2017 upon move of Dermatology Branch to NIAMS)

Assistant Clinical Investigator, Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, NCI (2007-2011)

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD (2007 – present)

Clinical Research Fellowship, Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute (2005-2007)

Dermatology Residency, Chief Resident, Duke University Medical Center (2002-2005)

Last Updated: June 2020