Yiping Yang, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine
Professor of Immunology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Campus mail 2019 Msrb-Ii, 106 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 668-0932
Email address yang0029@mc.duke.edu

The goal of Dr. Yang’s laboratory is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to the generation of potent and long-lasting anti-tumor immunity, and to develop effective gene immunotherapeutic strategies for treating cancer. Furthermore, rational pre-clinical approaches will be tested in clinical trials in patients with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related malignancies. Specifically, we focus on the following areas:

1. Innate Immunity to Viruses. Recombinant vaccinia virus and adenovirus have been developed as potent vaccine vehicles for treating cancer and infectious diseases. Recent studies have shown that the unique potency of these viruses lies in their effective activation of the innate immune system. How these viruses activate the innate immune system remains largely unknown. We have been interested in the role of pattern-recognition receptors including Toll-like receptors (TLRs)in innate immune recognition of these viruses as well as their signaling pathways. In addition, we are investigating the role of innate immune cells such as natural killer (NK) cells in innate and adaptive immune responses to these viruses. A full understanding of these processes will help us design effective vaccine strategies.

2. T Cell Memory. Eliciting long-lived memory T cell response is an ultimate goal of vaccination to provide long-term immunity against cancer. However, it is not clear what controls the formation of long-lived memory T cells. The understanding of mechanisms underlying memory T cell formation will provide important insights into the design of effective vaccines for treating cancer.

3. Regulatory T Cell Biology. Accumulating evidence has shown that the immunosuppressive CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (TReg) play a critical role in the suppression of anti-tumor immunity. However, little is known about how TReg suppress T cell activation in vivo. Delineation of mechanisms underlying TReg-mediated suppression in vivo will help develop strategies to overcome TReg-mediated suppression in favor of boosting anti-tumor immunity.

4. Immunotherapy for EBV-associated Malignancies. Clinically, EBV-associated malignancies such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma offer a unique model to explore antigen-defined immunotherapy approaches because EBV-derived tumor antigens are specific for tumor cells only. Using this clinical model, we will test the utility of rational strategies identified in our preclinical models.

Education and Training

  • Fellowship, Medical Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1999 - 2002
  • Residency, General Internal Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1996 - 1999
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 1993
  • M.D., Zhejiang University (China), 1985

Publications

Brandstadter, JD, Chen, H, Jiang, S, Huang, X, and Yang, Y. "IL-18-dependent NKG2D ligand upregulation on accessory cells is mediated by the PI3K/GSK-3 pathway." Journal of leukocyte biology 101, no. 6 (June 2017): 1317-1323.

PMID
28283665
Full Text

Fortin, C, Yang, Y, and Huang, X. "Monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells regulate T-cell responses against vaccinia virus." European journal of immunology 47, no. 6 (June 2017): 1022-1031.

PMID
28383204
Full Text

Brennan, TV, and Yang, Y. "PD-L1 serves as a double agent in separating GVL from GVHD." The Journal of clinical investigation 127, no. 5 (May 2017): 1627-1630.

PMID
28414300
Full Text

Yuan, Y, Yang, Y, and Huang, X. "IL-21 is required for CD4 memory formation in response to viral infection." JCI insight 2, no. 7 (April 6, 2017): e90652-.

PMID
28405614
Full Text

Petty, AJ, and Yang, Y. "Tumor-associated macrophages: implications in cancer immunotherapy." Immunotherapy 9, no. 3 (March 2017): 289-302. (Review)

PMID
28231720
Full Text

Heyman, B, and Yang, Y. "Mechanisms of heparanase inhibitors in cancer therapy." Experimental hematology 44, no. 11 (November 2016): 1002-1012. (Review)

PMID
27576132
Full Text

Zhu, J, Chen, H, Huang, X, Jiang, S, and Yang, Y. "Ly6C(hi) monocytes regulate T cell responses in viral hepatitis." JCI insight 1, no. 17 (October 20, 2016): e89880-.

PMID
27777980
Full Text

Huang, X, and Yang, Y. "Driving an improved CAR for cancer immunotherapy." The Journal of clinical investigation 126, no. 8 (August 2016): 2795-2798.

PMID
27454296
Full Text

Brennan, TV, Lin, L, Brandstadter, JD, Rendell, VR, Dredge, K, Huang, X, and Yang, Y. "Heparan sulfate mimetic PG545-mediated antilymphoma effects require TLR9-dependent NK cell activation." The Journal of clinical investigation 126, no. 1 (January 2016): 207-219.

PMID
26649979
Full Text

Poe, JC, Jia, W, Li, Z, Hakim, FT, Pavletic, SZ, Rose, JJ, Rizzieri, DA, Yang, Y, Chen, BJ, Green, M, Anand, S, Siebel, CW, Maillard, I, Chao, NJ, and Sarantopoulos, S. "Targeting the Human Notch 2-BCR Axis: A Driver of B-Cell Hyper-Responsiveness in Active Chronic Graft-Versus Host Disease (cGVHD)." December 3, 2015.

Scholars@Duke

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