Ludwig Oxford’s Yang Shi was elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). Yang was recognized by EMBO for his significant contributions to epigenetic research, which explores how chemical modifications made to chromatin influence the expression of the human genome. In 2004, Yang 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 long standing models of genomic regulation. His 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, as well as sustain T cell reinvogoration and promote durable tumor response to checkpoint blockade. Yang and his colleagues have also recently identified several new enzymes that methylate RNA, creating new opportunities to investigate RNA modifications in gene expression regulation and cancer.
This article appeared in the September 2022 issue of Ludwig Link. Click here to download a PDF (1 MB).