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B.S. Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Ph.D. Chinese Academy of Sciences
Post-doc Fellow University of Pennsylvania
Description of Research Interests
Skeletal muscle is not only essential for motion and support, but also serves as the major component of meat from food animals. The composition and regeneration of skeletal muscle profoundly affect meat quality and the treatment of muscular disorders in livestock and human. We are interested in the molecular mechanism of skeleton muscle development under normal and pathological conditions, focusing on the differentiation of Fibro/adipogenic progenitors (FAPs) in intramuscular adipocyte development and in response to different muscle damages. The goal is to uncover genetic/molecular targets to shape efficient interventions for meat quality improvement (increase marbling) and muscle disorders treatment (mitigate the fibrosis and fatty degeneration caused by FAPs differentiation). To achieve these goals, we are focusing on the following three projects. (1) Optimize CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas (CRISPR-associated protein) based genome editing platform to achieve tissue/cell type specific genome editing in vivo. (2) Applying high throughput genomic approaches combing with genome engineering to investigate the gene regulatory network governing FAP mediated intramuscular adipocyte development in cellular and animal models. (3) Understand the role of FAPs at molecular level in response to different muscle damages (woody breast syndrome, acute injury, muscle dystrophies (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS) and others) to uncover the pathogenic mechanism and therapeutic targets. Meanwhile, develop CRISPR mediated gene therapies for neuromuscular dystrophies using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and animal disease models. Our research integrates methodologies from molecular biotechnology, Genetic, Epigenetics together with improved genome editing toolkit for strategies to advance meat science and treat muscular disorders.
Selected Recent Publications
Muthu V, Rohacek AM, Yao Y, Rakowiecki S.M., Brown A.S., Zhao Y-T, Meyers J, Won K-J, Ramdas S, Brown C.D., Peterson K.A., and Epstein D.J. Genomic architecture of Shh dependent cochlear morphogenesis. Development. 2019 (In Revision)
Yao Y, Minor P, Zhao YT, Jeong Y, Pani AM, King AN, Symmons O, Gan L, Cardoso WV, Spitz F, Lowe CJ and Epstein D.J. Cis-regulatory architecture of a brain-signaling center predates the origin of chordates. Nature Genetics 2016 48: 575-580
Yao Y*, Ling Q*, Wang H, Huang H. Ribosomal proteins promote leaf adaxial identity.
Development 2008 135: 1325-1334.
Ling Q*, Yao Y*, Huang H. (2008) A model for the 26S proteasome and ribosome actions in leaf polarity formation. Plant Signaling & Behavior 2008 3:10 804-805.