Yingzi Yang, PhD
Yingzi Yang received her B.S. degree from the Fudan University in China in 1988. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York in 1996. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Andrew McMahon at Harvard University, she joined the Genetic Disease Research Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) as a tenure–track investigator in 2000 and received tenure at NHGRI in 2006. She was recruited by HSDM as Professor of Developmental Biology in 2015.
My lab uses molecular, cellular, genetic and genomic approaches to investigate critical roles of cell signaling in embryonic morphogenesis and adult physiology. We mainly focus on the mammalian limb, skeleton and liver, and we are exploiting these systems to explore human biology and address the underlying pathological mechanisms of diseases.
Cell-cell signaling plays essential and pivotal roles in both development and physiology. We are particularly interested in the Wnt, Hedgehog, Hippo and GPCR signaling pathways that are evolutionarily conserved and regulate a diverse array of biological processes. Mutations in components of these signaling pathways cause devastating birth defects, degenerative disorders and cancer.
Our previous work has provided insights into several fundamental aspects of tissue and organ morphogenesis in the limb and skeleton and tumor formation in the liver. We are continuing our efforts of bridging discoveries of fundamental mechanisms with characterization and treatment of human diseases. Our current efforts are divided into three major directions:
1. understand the role of signaling pathways in cell fate determination. We are investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern fate choices of differentiating mesenchymal progenitor/stem cells under both physiological and pathological conditions.
2. understand the function of directional information in development and disease. We are investigating the regulatory mechanisms whereby Wnt signaling controls planar cell polarity (PCP) in various aspects of embryonic morphogenesis and adult physiology.
3. understand the molecular and cellular mechanism underlying mechanotransduction in the skeletal system. The musculoskeletal system generates and is also highly regulated by mechanic forces. We are investigating the roles of the Wnt and Hippo signaling pathways in mediating the effects of mechanotransduction in mesenchymal stem cells.
Harvard School of Dental Medicine
188 Longwood Avenue, REB 513
Boston, MA 02115