Yi Zhang, Ph.D.

Yi Zhang, Ph.D.

Boston Children's Hospital
Broad Institute
Harvard Medical School
Yi Zhang, HSCI principal faculty

The Zhang laboratory aims to apply their fundamental discoveries in epigenetics to studies of human diseases.

Research in Yi Zhang's laboratory is focused on epigenetic modifications, particularly DNA methylation and covalent histone modifications, which play an important role in regulating chromatin dynamics, and therefore have a significant impact on gene expression. They have investigated how epigenetic modification-mediated dynamic changes in chromatin structure affect gene expression, cell lineage commitment, stem cell pluripotency, and stem cell self-renewal. In addition, they have studied mis-regulation of epigenetic factors and how that contributes to the development of diabetes, neurological diseases, and cancer.

The Zhang lab also investigates the epigenetic mechanisms in embryonic development, stem cell reprogramming, β-cell regeneration, and drug addiction. Yi Zhang's long-term goal is to apply what his group has learned in basic research to studies of human diseases.


Yi Zhang serves as the Fred S. Rosen endowed Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Zhang received his B.S. from China Agriculture University in 1984, and his Ph.D. from Florida State University in 1995. During his postdoctoral training  at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of UMDNJ, he identified and characterized the Sin3 and the NuRD histone deacetylase complexes. Zhang was an independent investigator at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Howard Hughes Investigator, and the Kenan Distinguished Professor. He joined Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School as the Fred Rosen Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School in 2012. Dr. Zhang has received a number of honors and awards, including the Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award from AACR, the Kimmel Scholar Award from the Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, and the Senior Investigator Award of the Chinese Biological Investigators’ Society.

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