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

Huang, X, and Yang, Y. "Targeting co-stimulatory pathways in gene therapy. (Published online)" Front Microbiol 2 (2011): 202-.

PMID
22046171
Full Text

Zhu, J, Huang, X, and Yang, Y. "NKG2D is required for NK cell activation and function in response to E1-deleted adenovirus." J Immunol 185, no. 12 (December 15, 2010): 7480-7486.

PMID
21076062
Full Text

Huang, X, and Yang, Y. "Targeting the TLR9-MyD88 pathway in the regulation of adaptive immune responses." Expert Opin Ther Targets 14, no. 8 (August 2010): 787-796. (Review)

PMID
20560798
Full Text

Rizzieri, DA, Storms, R, Chen, D-F, Long, G, Yang, Y, Nikcevich, DA, Gasparetto, C, Horwitz, M, Chute, J, Sullivan, K, Hennig, T, Misra, D, Apple, C, Baker, M, Morris, A, Green, PG, Hasselblad, V, and Chao, NJ. "Natural killer cell-enriched donor lymphocyte infusions from A 3-6/6 HLA matched family member following nonmyeloablative allogeneic stem cell transplantation." Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 16, no. 8 (August 2010): 1107-1114.

PMID
20188202
Full Text

Martinez, J, Huang, X, and Yang, Y. "Toll-like receptor 8-mediated activation of murine plasmacytoid dendritic cells by vaccinia viral DNA." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107, no. 14 (April 6, 2010): 6442-6447.

PMID
20308556
Full Text

Novy, P, and Yang, Y. "Intrinsic IL-21 signaling is critical for CD8 T cell memory formation in response to Vaccinia viral infection." JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY 184 (April 1, 2010).

Scholars@Duke

Martinez, J, Huang, X, and Yang, Y. "Direct TLR2 signaling is critical for NK cell activation and function in response to vaccinia viral infection. (Published online)" PLoS Pathog 6, no. 3 (March 12, 2010): e1000811-.

PMID
20300608
Full Text

Martinez, J, and Yang, Y. "Reply to Bauer et al.: Murine pDC recognition of vaccinia viral DNA is mediated by TLR8." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107, no. 36 (2010): E140-.

Full Text

Zhu, J, Huang, X, and Yang, Y. "The TLR9-MyD88 pathway is critical for adaptive immune responses to adeno-associated virus gene therapy vectors in mice." J Clin Invest 119, no. 8 (August 2009): 2388-2398.

PMID
19587448
Full Text

Horkheimer, I, Quigley, M, Zhu, J, Huang, X, Chao, NJ, and Yang, Y. "Induction of type I IFN is required for overcoming tumor-specific T-cell tolerance after stem cell transplantation." Blood 113, no. 21 (May 21, 2009): 5330-5339.

PMID
19279333
Full Text

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