Liuqing Yang, PhD

  • Recruited to: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Recruited from: The University of California at San Diego
  • Award: First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Member

Dr. Liuqing Yang received his B.S. degree in Biology from Xinjiang University, followed by a Ph.D. degree in 2006 from Georgia State University. From 2006 to 2013, Dr. Yang performed postdoctoral research at University of California San Diego, exploring the molecular strategies responsible for integrating the genome-wide transcriptional programs critical for homeostasis and tumorigenesis. In March 2013, Dr. Yang joined the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as a tenure-track Assistant Professor.

Dr. Yang’s doctoral research was in the field of molecular cancer biology and made inroads into fighting colon cancer by uncovering new mechanisms of cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, and has identified potential biomarkers for advanced colon cancer. These research endeavors were published in such highly regarded journals such as Cell, Oncogene, and Molecular & Cellular Biology, and have been widely cited for both publications and patents. At University of California San Diego, Dr. Yang pursued his postdoctoral training with Prof. Michael G. Rosenfeld, one of the most cited scientists in hormone-regulated gene transcription and cancer field. Dr. Yang focused on the molecular strategies that link epigenetics, non-coding RNAs and regulated dynamic alterations in nuclear architecture to diverse signaling systems critical for physiological and pathologic regulation of gene transcription. Because of his striking talent to study the most cogent and revealing research directions, Dr. Yang was recognized as one of the top young scientists nationwide and awarded an “Era of Hope Postdoctoral Award” as early as his second year of postdoctoral training.

As PI on a NIH/NCI Pathway to Independence Award, Dr. Yang joined MD Anderson Cancer Center and is currently focusing on defining exactly how long non-coding RNAs are so critically involved in gene transcription process in breast cancer cells-knowledge that may help us better understand how long non-coding RNAs are exploited in triple-negative breast cancer. Dr. Yang and his team will use a series of new methodology in conjunction with a variety of biochemical, molecular, and cell-based assays to investigate the importance of the vital role played by long non-coding RNAs in breast cancer-associated pathways, aiming to eventually prevent breast cancer from growth and spreading, and develop “antisense DNA cocktails”, which will only stick to and destroy those “toxic long non-coding RNAs” that make breast cell cancerous.

Dr. Yang’s future research will address a fundamental question of what promotes the growth of triple-negative breast cancer from a long non-coding RNA point-of-view by developing and utilizing new technologies to perform a comprehensive characterization of the under-studied long non-coding RNA class of molecules in triple-negative breast cancer, which has great potential to change the way we think about, diagnose, and treat breast cancers.