OCTOBER 17, 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 U.S. National Academy of Medicine (NAM), among the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the NAM addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine, and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors.
Shi is recognized for his numerous contributions to epigenetic research, most notably his discovery in 2004 of an enzyme, LSD1, that erases methyl marks from histones, the proteins that help package DNA in the nucleus of the cell. Epigenetic modifications help regulate gene expression and are broadly disordered in cancer. Shi’s discovery upended a 40-year-old dogma that considered histone methylation irreversible, upending longstanding models of genomic regulation. His lab went on to identify numerous other histone demethylases and described their roles in an array of biological processes. The NAM notes that “his elegant mechanistic discoveries revolutionized the epigenetics field and have had far-reaching impact on basic and translational research.”
Shi’s group has since also identified several enzymes that methylate RNA, which represent new opportunities to investigate RNA modifications in the regulation of gene expression and cancer.
In addition to his Ludwig post, Yang Shi is a Professor in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford.