JULY 7, 2022, NEW YORK – Ludwig Cancer Research congratulates Yang Shi, a Member of the Oxford Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, on his election to the membership of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). Shi is one of 58 new members elected to the organization this year, along with nine associate members working in seven countries outside Europe.
Shi is recognized by EMBO for his significant contributions to epigenetic research, which explores how chemical modifications made to chromatin influence the organization and expression of the human genome. Errors in those processes can drive cancer and many other diseases and disorders. In 2004, Shi and his colleagues identified and characterized an enzyme, LSD1, that erases methyl marks from histones. Their discovery upended a 40-year-old dogma that considered such modifications irreversible, altering longstanding models of genomic regulation.
Shi’s lab went on to identify numerous other histone demethylases and described their roles in an array of biological processes. More recently, his group has discovered that LSD-1 inhibition can spark anti-tumor immune responses even against immunologically “cold” tumors. His group also identified several enzymes that methylate RNA, which represent new opportunities to investigate RNA modifications in gene expression regulation and cancer.
Shi joined the Oxford Branch in 2020 from Harvard University. In addition to his Ludwig post, he is a Professor in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford. Shi has received many honors for his contributions to epigenetics and is a fellow of the Academy of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an American Cancer Society Research Professor.