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Lab Homepage: http://www.imm.pku.edu.cn/wzsy/kytd/22743.htm


Research Area:

Professor Zhao received his B.S. degree in School of Lifesciences from Peking University in 2003, and obtained his Ph.D. degree on cell biology in 2009 in School of Lifesciences, Peking University. After that, he was working on chemically-induced somatic reprogramming, as a Post Doc. in School of Lifesciences of Peking University from 2010 to 2013, and as an assistant investigator in Peking University Health Science Center, from 2013 to 2016, respectively. From Mar. 2016, he became a principle investigator (Tenure-track assistant professor) at Institute of Molecular Medicine, Peking University, working on cell fate reprogramming and regenerative medicine.

Yang Zhao dedicated in developing new techniques in iPS cell induction and cell fate reprogramming. He and his colleagues developed high-efficient systems in generating human induced pluripotent stem cells (Cell Stem Cell, 2008) and established chemically-induced pluripotent stem cells (CiPSCs) from mouse fibroblasts with pure chemicals without any transgene (Science, 2013). To solve the problems of reprograming efficiency and kinetics, he uncovered a unique intermediate state during chemical reprogramming, and thereafter improved the efficiency of CiPSC induction by 1,000-fold (Cell, 2015). Furthermore, he and his colleagues generated functional neurons (CiNs) directly from mouse fibroblasts with 4 small molecules (Cell Stem Cell, 2015). These findings proved the possibility of pure chemical reprogramming, providing new hope in regenerative medicine to cure severe diseases.

His future research direction is to study the molecular mechanism of cell fate reprogramming based on the recently established chemical reprogramming systems. Meanwhile, he will develop new chemical reprogramming systems with clinical application potential. His major goal is to achieve in vivo regeneration of functional cell types of cardiovascular system and metabolic system, such as cardiomyocytes and hepatocytes, providing “regenerative medicine” solutions to cure cardiovascular diseases and metabolic diseases.


Selected Publications:

1.     Bai Y#, Yang Z , Xu X , Ding W , Qi J , Liu F , Wang X , Zhou B , Zhang W , Zhuang X,  Li G , Zhao Y*  Direct chemical induction of hepatocyte-like cells with capacity for liver repopulation. Hepatology. 2022 Jul 26. doi: 10.1002/hep.32686. Online ahead of print.

2.     Yang Z#, Xu X#, Gu C, Nielsen AV, Chen G, Guo F*, Tang C*, Zhao Y*.  Chemical Pretreatment Activated a Plastic State Amenable to Direct Lineage Reprogramming. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 Mar 25;10:865038. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2022.865038. 

3.     Zhao H#, Zhang Y, Xu X, Sun Q, Yang C, Wang H, Yang J, Yang Y, Yang X, Liu Y*, Zhao Y*.  Sall4 and Myocd Empower Direct Cardiac Reprogramming From Adult Cardiac Fibroblasts After Injury. Front Cell Dev Biol .2021 Feb 26;9:608367. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.608367.

4.     Yang Z#, Xu X#, Gu C#, Li J, Wu Q, Ye C, Nielsen AV, Mao L, Ye J, Bai K, Guo F*, Tang C*, Zhao Y*. Chemicals orchestrate reprogramming with hierarchical activation of mastertranscription factors primed by endogenous Sox17 activation. Commun Biol.  2020 Oct 30;3(1):629. doi: 10.1038/s42003-020-01346-w.

5.  Ye J#, Ge J#, Zhang X, Cheng L, Zhang Z, He S, Wang Y, Lin H, Yang W, Liu J, Zhao Y*, Deng H*. Pluripotent stem cells induced from mouse neural stem cells and small intestinal epithelial cells by small molecule compounds. Cell Res.2016 Jan;26(1):34-45. doi: 10.1038/cr.2015.142.

6.  Zhao Y*#, Zhao T#, Guan J#, Zhang X#, Fu Y#, Ye J#, Zhu J, Meng G, Ge J, Yang S, Cheng L, Du Y, Zhao C, Wang T, Su L, Yang W, Deng H*. A XEN-like State Bridges Somatic Cells to Pluripotency during Chemical Reprogramming. Cell. 2015 Dec 17;163(7):1678-91. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.017. 

7.     Li X#, Zuo X#, Jing J#, Ma Y, Wang J, Liu D, Zhu J, Du X, Xiong L, Du Y, Xu J, Xiao X, Wang J, Chai Z*, Zhao Y*, Deng H*. Small-Molecule-Driven Direct Reprogramming of Mouse Fibroblasts into Functional Neurons. Cell Stem Cell. 2015 Aug 6;17(2):195-203. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2015.06.003.

8.     Hou P#, Li Y#, Zhang X#, Liu C#, Guan J#, Li H#, Zhao T, Ye J, Yang W, Liu K, Ge J, Xu J, Zhang Q, Zhao Y*, Deng H*. Pluripotent stem cells induced from mouse somatic cells by small-molecule compounds. Science. 2013 Aug 9;341(6146):651-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1239278.

9.     Shu J#, Wu C#, Wu Y#, Li Z#, Shao S, Zhao W, Tang X, Yang H, Shen L, Zuo X, Yang W, Shi Y, Chi X, Zhang H, Gao G, Shu Y, Yuan K, He W, Tang C*, Zhao Y, Deng H*. Induction of pluripotency in mouse somatic cells with lineage specifiers. Cell. 2013 May 23;153(5):963-75. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.001. 

10.   Zhao Y#, Yin X#, Qin H#, Zhu F, Liu H, Yang W, Zhang Q, Xiang C, Hou P, Song Z, Liu Y, Yong J, Zhang P, Cai J, Liu M, Li H, Li Y, Qu X, Cui K, Zhang W, Xiang T, Wu Y, Zhao Y, Liu C, Yu C, Yuan K, Lou J, Ding M, Deng H*. Two supporting factors greatly improve the efficiency of human iPSC generation. Cell Stem Cell. 2008 Nov 6;3(5):475-9. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2008.10.002. 

11.   Cai J#, Zhao Y#, Liu Y#, Ye F, Song Z, Qin H, Meng S, Chen Y, Zhou R, Song X, Guo Y, Ding M, Deng H*. Directed differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into functional hepatic cells. Hepatology. 2007 May;45(5):1229-39. doi: 10.1002/hep.21582.


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