Centre for Heart Lung Innovation
Room 166 - 1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1Y6
Dr. Yang received his Ph.D. and postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, he is Professor at UBC's Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, a Member of the Center for Microbial Diseases and Host Defense Research, and a Principal Investigator at the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation.
Education and Training
- B.Sc. Microbiology, Nankai University, 1978
- M.S. Plant Pathology, University of Illinois, 1982
- Ph.D. Molecular Microbiology, University of Illinois, 1986
- Postdoctoral Fellowship, Molecular Microbiology, University of Illinois, 1989
Area of Interest
Dr Yang's research interests focus on two major areas.
- Understanding the molecular biology and pathogenesis of coxsackievirus, a positive single-stranded RNA virus. Dr. Yang’s laboratory is working on the mapping of the viral gene structures responsible for viral translation initiation and cardiovirulence. Dr. Yang is also interested in identifying host proteins interacting with viral RNA and/or viral proteins using proteomic technology and other techniques. Dr. Yang and his team are developing nucleic acid-based antiviral drugs including antisense oligonucleotide, ribozyme, siRNA, and artificial microRNA targeting these key genes for the treatment of coxsackievirus-induced myocarditis. To enhance drug effectiveness, Dr. Yang is investigating nanobiomedical approaches to deliver these gene drugs to target specific cell populations. These drugs are being evaluated in in vitro and in vivo models.
- Studying host gene responses to viral infection. The focus of this study is the transcriptional analysis and functional characterization of mouse genes encoding determinants of cardiac susceptibility to coxsackievirus infection. Differential mRNA display and microarray analyses have identified known and unknown genes as well as microRNAs involved in myocarditis induction. Tet-on/off inducible cell lines and genetically modified models are employed in Dr. Yang's laboratory to study the roles of selected genes and microRNAs in signal transduction pathways leading to myocyte apoptosis or cardiac hypertrophy. These studies have great potential to discover new targets for gene therapy and molecular markers for diagnosis of viral myocarditis and other related infectious diseases.