Directory Profile

Dr. Da Yang is a pharmacological and bioinformatic researcher with extensive experience in multiple areas of computation biology and pharmacology. Dr. Yang’s group are capable of using bioinformatics and experimental tools to identify novel disease-driving genes, modeling down-stream regulatory network, and mechanistically validate novel gene’s function in chemotherapy response and drug metabolism and disposition. Dr. Yang’s research interests are driven by his desire to understand how genomic and epigenetic alterations of the tumor will lead to different chemotherapy response and drug metabolism and disposition. Instances of his success include: (1) developed algorithms to precisely infer the gene regulatory network in disease; (2) designed and implemented a novel strategy to identify driving genes in cancer progression and chemotherapy response; (3) integrative identification of novel biomarkers for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, chemotherapy response.
Dr. Yang’s publications have been cited 12714 times (google.scholar) since 2015. His group are publishing on top-ranked journals, such as Cancer Cell (Impact factor [IF] = 22.84), Nature Communications (IF = 12.35), Theranostics (IF = 8.72) and Briefs in Bioinformatics (IF = 6.30). Notably, one of paper is awarded as one of the best 10 papers published by Cancer Cell in 2018. In research funding, Dr. Yang is the Principal Investigator of one five-year NIH R01 grant, one four-year American Cancer Society Research Scholar grant, and one foundation grant (the Shear Family Foundation). Dr. Yang is also a Co-Investigator of one NIH R21 grant. Dr. Yang has completed multiple merit-based University of Pittsburgh internal grants and one foundation grant (Elsa U. Pardee Foundation). The total amount of extramural grants directed to Dr. Yang’s lab has exceeded $2,804,070 since 2014 when Dr. Yang first joined the Department. In addition, Dr. Yang has established important connections and engaged in collaborative work with numerous scientists and other individuals both inside and outside the University. Because of his achievement in research, Dr. Yang has received the Career Development Award (2015) by NIH Ovarian Cancer SPORE and Research Scholar Award (2018) by the American Cancer Society. In 2015, Dr. Yang has delivered one of the twelve talks for Senior Vice Chancellor Lecture Series, University of Pittsburgh.

Drug the undruggable: mechanistic studies of resistance to cancer chemotherapy using integrated genomics.
Reveal the dark matter in cancer: identification of genetic and epigenetic defects in ncRNAs and the subsequent disruption of their downstream effects

1. Wang Y, Wang Z, Xu J, Li J, Li S, Zhang M, Yang D#. Systematic Identification of Non-coding Pharmacogenomic Landscape in Cancer, Nat Commun, 2018 (#: corresponding author).
2. Wang Z, Yang B, Zhang M, Guo W, Wu Z, Jia L, Wang Y, Li S, Xie W, Yang D#. LncRNA epigenetic landscape analysis identifies EPIC1 as an oncogenic lncRNA that interacts with MYC and promotes cell cycle progression in cancer, Cancer Cell. 2018 Apr 9;33(4):706-720.e9. PMID: 29622465 (#: corresponding author).
3. Gu Y, Wang R, Han Y, Zhou W, Zhao Z, Chen T, Zhang Y, Peng F, Liang H, Qi L, Zhao W, Yang D#, Guo Z#, A landscape of synthetic viable interactions in cancer, Brief Bioinform. 2017 Jan 17. pii: bbw142. doi: 10.1093/bib/bbw142. PMID: 28096076 (#: corresponding author)
4. Zhang M, Liu G, Xue F, Edwards R, Sood A, Zhang, W, Yang D#, Copy number deletion of RAD50 as a predictive marker of BRCAness and PARP inhibitor response in BRCA wild-type ovarian cancer, Gynecol Oncol.2016 Apr;141(1):57-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2016.01.004. (#: corresponding author)
5. Yang D, Khan S, Sun Y, Hess K, Shmulevich I, Sood AK, Zhang W. Association of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations with survival, chemotherapy sensitivity, and gene mutator phenotype in patients with ovarian cancer. JAMA. 2011 Oct 12;306(14):1557-65. PubMed PMID: 21990299; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4159096.
6. Yang D, Sun Y, Hu L, Zheng H, Ji P, Pecot CV, Zhao Y, Reynolds S, Cheng H, Rupaimoole R, Cogdell D, Nykter M, Broaddus R, Rodriguez-Aguayo C, Lopez-Berestein G, Liu J, Shmulevich I, Sood AK, Chen K, Zhang W. Integrated analyses identify a master microRNA regulatory network for the mesenchymal subtype in serous ovarian cancer. Cancer Cell. 2013 Feb 11;23(2):186-99. PubMed PMID: 23410973; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3603369.
7. Song F*, Yang D*, Liu B*, Guo Y, Zheng H, Li L, Wang T, Yu J, Zhao Y, Niu R, Liang H, Winkler H, Zhang W, Hao X, Chen K. Integrated microRNA network analyses identify a poor-prognosis subtype of gastric cancer characterized by the miR-200 family. Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Feb 15;20(4):878-89. PubMed PMID: 24352645. (*: equal contributions)
8. Chen K*, Yang D*, Li X*, Sun B, Song F, Cao W, Brat DJ, Gao Z, Li H, Liang H, Zhao Y, Zheng H, Li M, Buckner J, Patterson SD, Ye X, Reinhard C, Bhathena A, Joshi D, Mischel PS, Croce CM, Wang YM, Raghavakaimal S, Li H, Lu X, Pan Y, Chang H, Ba S, Luo L, Cavenee WK, Zhang W, Hao X. Mutational landscape of gastric adenocarcinoma in Chinese: implications for prognosis and therapy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jan 27;112(4):1107-12. PubMed PMID: 25583476; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4313862. (*: equal contributions)

2011 Odyssey Fellowship, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
2012 Best Publication Award, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
2012 The Diane Denson Tobola Fellowship in Ovarian Cancer Research, Houston, TX
2012 The Harold C. and Mary L. Daily Endowment Fund Fellowship, Houston, TX
2013 The Diane Denson Tobola Fellowship in Ovarian Cancer Research, Houston, TX
2013 Bristol-Myers Squibb Award in Clinical/Translational Research, Houston, TX
2014 Outstanding Research Publication Award, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
2015 New Investigator Award, RPCI-UPCI Ovarian Cancer SPORE, Pittsburgh, PA
2018 Research Scholar Award, the American Cancer Society

1. “Integrated Analysis of Ovarian Cancer”, Advances in Oncology Institutional Grand Rounds, 9/28/12, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
2. “Integrated analyses identify a master microRNA regulatory network for the mesenchymal subtype in serous ovarian cancer”, 2013 Trainee Research Day, 6/12/2013, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
3. “A master microRNA regulatory network for serous ovarian cancer EMT”, Annual Postdoctoral Science Symposium, 8/1/2013, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
4. “MIRACLE analysis in melanoma”, TCGA melanoma workshop, 9/10/2013, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
5. “Integrated genomic analyses of ovarian cancer: moving from TCGA genomics data to translational research”, 12/20/2013, Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, OK
6. “Integrated analyses identify a master microRNA regulatory network for the mesenchymal subtype in serous ovarian cancer”, 2013 Outstanding Publication Award, 1/14/2014, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
7. “From multi-dimension genomics data to personalized medicine: a case study of translational pharmacogenomics in ovarian cancer”, 2/19/2014, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
8. “Integrated Pharmacogenomics: a New Era of Personalized Medicine in Cancer”, 6/13/2014, School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
9. “Exome and whole-genome sequencing of gastric adenocarcinoma identifies poor prognostic HiC subtype and clinical actionable pathways”, 6/18/2014, Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute & Hospital ,Tianjin, China
10. “From -omics to personalized medicine in ovarian cancer”, 6/21/2014, International Workshop on Cancer Systems Biology, Changchun, China
11. “Integrated Pharmacogenomics in ovarian cancer: moving from TCGA genomics data to translational medicine”, 6/26/2014, State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics, Sino-French Research Center for Life Sciences and Genomics, Ruijin Hospital affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (SJTU-SM), Shanghai, China
12. “Systematic identification of therapeutic vulnerabilities in cancer from genomic profiles”, 7/25/2014, The Gulf Coast Consortia, BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC), 6500 Main at University Blvd, Houston, TX


NIH/NCI/1R01CA222274-01 Yang (PI) 08/01/18-07/30/23
Title: The oncogenic role of EPIC1-MYC axis in breast cancer
Goals: To mechanistically investigate the role of EPIC1-MYC axis in breast cancer tumorigenesis
Role: PI

American Cancer Society/RSG-18-179-01 Yang (PI) 01/01/19 - 12/31/22
Title: The regulation of cell cycle by long non-coding RNA in breast cancer
Goals: To test the hypothesis that we recently identified epigenetically activated lncRNAs (EA lncRNAs) can specifically recruit transcriptional/epigenetic regulators to target genes and therefore regulates cell cycle progression in breast cancer. To test this hypothesis, we will use the State-of-the-Art epigenome editing and mass spectrum technologies to comprehensively characterize the roles and mechanisms of these EA lncRNAs in cell cycle regulation and breast cancer tumorigenesis.
Role: PI

Shear Family Foundation Yang (PI) 07/01/17 -6/30/19
Title: Tailor the treatment for each breast cancer patient based on genomic profile
Goals: To develop breast cancer pharmacogenomics database and learn precision medicine algorithm that can predict the treatment response for each breast cancer patient based on genomic profile.
Role: PI

NIH/1R21HD095049-01A1 Yang, Lei (PI) 02/01/19-1/31/21
Title: Identification of Novel Human LncRNAs Controlling Human Cardiogenesis
Goals: To identified species-specific lncRNAs, which could regulate human-specific cardiogenesis. Specific Aim 1 will identify novel human lncRNAs regulating cardiovascular progenitor cell differentiation from human iPSCs. Specific Aim 2 will identify novel human lncRNAs regulating lineage commitment of cardiovascular progenitor cells. Outcome of this proposal will identify a list of novel human lncRNAs, which play essential roles at early stages of human cardiovascular development. Discovery of such novel human lncRNAs will uncover a new layer of regulatory mechanism underlying human-specific heart development.
Role: co-I

NIH/NCI/P50CA159981 (CDP) Yang (PI) 07/01/15-06/30/17
Title: Novel strategy for simultaneously targeting EMT and HR pathways in ovarian cancer
Total Direct Costs: $100,000
Goals: To identify the novel miRNA network and master miRNA regulators that simultaneously target EMT and HR pathways in ovarian cancer.
Role: PI

Elsa U. Pardee Foundation/0046154 Yang (PI) 01/01/15-12/31/15
Title: miR-506 as a novel therapy of OvCa targeting metastasis and drug resistance
Total direct cost: $118,000
Goals: To determine miR-506’s regulatory roles ovarian cancer metastasis and drug resistance
Role: PI

MDACC/Odyssey Fellowship Yang(PI) 09/01/11-08/31/14
Total Direct Costs: $150,000 (100% salary effort + $5,000 supply)
Title: Defects in microRNA biogenesis: a new hallmark of colorectal cancer
Role: PI