Yanan Yang, Ph.D., is interested in understanding the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of lung carcinogenesis, with a focus on elucidating the roles of therapeutic targets within specific genetic context, with a long-term goal of developing personalized therapy for each individual lung cancer patient. Dr. Yang is also interested in developing and creating disease models for preclinical research by utilizing human cells and primary tissues.
- Early detection of lung cancer. Dr. Yang conducts research to elucidate the role of noncoding RNA and associated pathways in early-stage lung tumorigenesis and to identify biomarkers with diagnostic value.
- Lung cancer metastasis. Dr. Yang seeks to utilize lung cancer metastasis models as a platform on which to identify novel therapeutic targets.
Significance to patient care
Successful early detection of lung cancer is difficult as evidenced by the fact that at the time of diagnosis many lung cancer patients have already developed advanced lung cancer that has begun to metastasize. Dr. Yang's objective of discovering novel and sensitive biomarkers for screening and diagnosis will tremendously improve the medical community's capability to address this problem.
Metastasis is the leading cause of lung cancer-related deaths. Given the emerging role of microRNAs as regulators of carcinogenesis, understanding the significance of microRNAs and associated pathways in lung cancer metastasis will facilitate the identification of therapeutic targets and the development of preventive strategies.