The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Pediatrics
Research in Dr. Yang’s laboratory focuses on identifications of novel factors, including extracellular hormones, cytokines, intracellular signaling molecules, and nuclear transcription factors, in the control of cell proliferation and differentiation. Making important and critical discoveries in science has always directed and motivated Yang lab scientists. Dr. Yang and her research team has discovered that Hoxc8, as the first identified Smad1-interacting transcription factor, in response to the bone morphogenetic proteins, to promote osteoblast differentiation. More importantly, Dr. Yang is also the leading contributor in the identification of the third osteoblastic-specific transcription factor, ATF4, that acts downstream of RSK2, a protein kinase whose mutation causes a human disease condition called Coffin-Lowry Syndrome. Upon independent, Dr. Yang led a productive research team to continue to identify factors that control the development, growth, and repair of cartilage and bone. By creating and analyzing various animal models, we have identified several key intrinsic factors and signaling pathways, namely ATF4-Ihh in chondrocytes, TGFβ-Vimentin-ATF4 in mesenchymal stem cells, as well as ATF4-Osteocalcin and ATF4-Rankl signaling in osteoblasts, that regulate the cartilage and bone formation. Dr. Yang’s laboratory has been supported by the NIH and various private research foundations, such as the March of Dimes, Arthritis, and Osteoporosis Foundations. Current research projects involving further characterize how ATF4 in chondrocytes, the chATF4, controls bone formation, thereby informing bone regeneration. Techniques routinely performed in the Yang lab include but not limited to DNA, RNA, and Protein isolation and analysis by Southern blot, Northern blog, and Western blot; PCR and qRT-PCR to analyze gene expression, mammalian and bacterial cell cultures and DNA transfection to analyze gene function; histology, tissue processing, sectioning, staining, and in situ hybridization to examine the physiology of the skeleton and their interacting tissues.
Education & Training
PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2000