Directory Profile

Dr. Da Yang is a pharmacological and bioinformatic researcher with extensive experience in multiple areas of computational biology and pharmacology. Dr. Yang’s group are capable of using bioinformatics and experimental tools study the drug resistance 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 immunotherapy and chemotherapy response; (3) integrative identification of novel biomarkers for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, chemotherapy response.

Dr. Yang’s publications have been cited 18429 times (google.scholar) since 2017. His group are publishing on top-ranked journals, such as Cancer Cell, Science Advances, Nature Communications, Theranostics and Briefs in Bioinformatics. 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 two five-year NIH R01 grant, one four-year American Cancer Society Research Scholar grant, and one foundation grant (the Shear Family Foundation). Dr. Yang has completed multiple merit-based University of Pittsburgh internal grants and one foundation grant (Elsa U. Pardee Foundation).

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 Research Scholar Award (2018) by the American Cancer Society and Team Science Award (2020) by American Association of Cancer Research.

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

Zhao Y, Wang Y, Yang D, Suh K, Zhang M. A Computational Framework to Characterize the Cancer Drug Induced Effect on Aging Using Transcriptomic Data. Front Pharmacol. 2022;13:906429. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2022.906429. eCollection 2022. PubMed PMID: 35847024; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC9277350
Xie Y, Sun R, Gao L, Guan J, Wang J, Bell A, Zhu J, Zhang M, Xu M, Lu P, Cai X, Ren S, Xu P, Monga SP, Ma X, Yang D, Liu Y, Lu B, Xie W. Chronic Activation of LXRα Sensitizes Mice to Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Hepatol Commun. 2022 May;6(5):1123-1139. doi: 10.1002/hep4.1880. Epub 2022 Jan 3. PubMed PMID: 34981658; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC9035576.
Wan Z, Sun R, Liu YW, Li S, Sun J, Li J, Zhu J, Moharil P, Zhang B, Ren P, Ren G, Zhang M, Ma X, Dai S, Yang D, Lu B, Li S. Targeting metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 for cancer immunotherapy. Sci Adv. 2021 Dec 10;7(50):eabj4226. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abj4226. Epub 2021 Dec 10. PubMed PMID: 34890233; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8664261.
Xi Y, Li Y, Xu P, Li S, Liu Z, Tung HC, Cai X, Wang J, Huang H, Wang M, Xu M, Ren S, Li S, Zhang M, Lee YJ, Huang L, Yang D, He J, Huang Z, Xie W. The anti-fibrotic drug pirfenidone inhibits liver fibrosis by targeting the small oxidoreductase glutaredoxin-1. Sci Adv. 2021 Sep 3;7(36):eabg9241. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abg9241. Epub 2021 Sep 1. PubMed PMID: 34516906; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8442864.
Xu P, Xi Y, Zhu J, Zhang M, Luka Z, Stolz DB, Cai X, Xie Y, Xu M, Ren S, Huang Z, Yang D, York JD, Ma X, Xie W. Intestinal Sulfation Is Essential to Protect Against Colitis and Colonic Carcinogenesis. Gastroenterology. 2021 Jul;161(1):271-286.e11. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2021.03.048. Epub 2021 Apr 2. PubMed PMID: 33819483; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8238844.
Zhang M, Yang D, Gold B. Origins of nonsense mutations in human tumor suppressor genes. Mutat Res. 2021 Jul-Dec;823:111761. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2021.111761. Epub 2021 Aug 16. PubMed PMID: 34461460.
Wang X, Yang D. The regulation of RNA metabolism in hormone signaling and breast cancer. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2021 Jun 1;529:111221. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2021.111221. Epub 2021 Mar 10. Review. PubMed PMID: 33711334; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8262629.
Liu B, Zhou M, Li X, Zhang X, Wang Q, Liu L, Yang M, Yang D, Guo Y, Zhang Q, Zheng H, Wang Q, Li L, Chu X, Wang W, Li H, Song F, Pan Y, Zhang W, Chen K.Interrogation of gender disparity uncovers androgen receptor as the transcriptional activator for oncogenic miR-125b in gastric cancer. Cell Death Dis. 2021 May 4;12(5):441. doi: 10.1038/s41419-021-03727-3. PubMed PMID: 33947843; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8096848.
Guo W, Wang Y, Yang M, Wang Z, Wang Y, Chaurasia S, Wu Z, Zhang M, Yadav GS, Rathod S, Concha-Benavente F, Fernandez C, Li S, Xie W, Ferris RL, Kammula US, Lu B, Yang D. LincRNA-immunity landscape analysis identifies EPIC1 as a regulator of tumor immune evasion and immunotherapy resistance. Sci Adv. 2021 Feb;7(7). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abb3555. Print 2021 Feb. PubMed PMID: 33568470; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7875530.
Wu Z, Li S, Tang X, Wang Y, Guo W, Cao G, Chen K, Zhang M, Guan M, Yang D. Copy Number Amplification of DNA Damage Repair Pathways Potentiates Therapeutic Resistance in Cancer. Theranostics. 2020;10(9):3939-3951. doi: 10.7150/thno.39341. eCollection 2020. PubMed PMID: 32226530; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7086350.
Deng X, Li S, Kong F, Ruan H, Xu X, Zhang X, Wu Z, Zhang L, Xu Y, Yuan H, Peng H, Yang D, Guan M. Long noncoding RNA PiHL regulates p53 protein stability through GRWD1/RPL11/MDM2 axis in colorectal cancer. Theranostics. 2020;10(1):265-280. doi: 10.7150/thno.36045. eCollection 2020. PubMed PMID: 31903119; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6929633.
Yan J, Tung HC, Li S, Niu Y, Garbacz WG, Lu P, Bi Y, Li Y, He J, Xu M, Ren S, Monga SP, Schwabe RF, Yang D, Xie W. Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Signaling Prevents Activation of Hepatic Stellate Cells and Liver Fibrogenesis in Mice. Gastroenterology. 2019 Sep;157(3):793-806.e14. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.05.066. Epub 2019 Jun 3. PubMed PMID: 31170413; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6707837.
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).
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).
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)
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)
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.
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.
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)
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
2018 Cancer Cell 2018 Best Paper Award
2020 AACR Team Science Award (TCGA program RNA-team leader)
2020 Hillman Fellow for Innovative Developmental Cancer Research

“MiR-506 is a master regulator of EMT and HR pathways in ovarian cancer” RPCI-UPCI SPORE IAB Meeting, 4/13-4/15/2016, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY,
“Systematic Identification of Non-coding Pharmacogenomic Landscape in Women’s Cancer”, 6/2/2018, ASCO-NCI GYN SPORE Workshop, Chicago
“A Comprehensive Noncoding Landscape Of Cancer Pharmacogenomics”, 4/26/2019, Department of Pathology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
“LncRNAs as master regulator for cancer progression and chemotherapy response”, 5/2/2019, the 5th Great Lakes Breast Cancer Symposium, Columbus, OH
“Integrative Analyses Identify LncRNAs as Master Regulators for Cancer Immune Evasion and Drug Response”, 7/24/2019, The Institute of Immuno-oncology, Columbus, OH
“Unleash the Power of Multi-omics to Characterize the Pharmacogenomic Landscape of Disease”. 8/26/2020, Tulane University. 6823 St. Charles Avenue New Orleans, LA

NIH/NCI/1R01CA255196 Yang (PI) 12/01/20-11/30/25
Title: A novel lncRNA-responsive and xenobiotic receptor-mediated regulation of drug metabolism and disposition
Total Direct Costs: : $ 1,143,750
Goals: To mechanistically investigate lncRNAs that regulate drug metabolism and disposition
Role: PI

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 - 12/31/23
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 -12/31/22
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