Welcome to Yuhe
Renee Yang Lab
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented devastation in public health, economy, and social disruption, which remains to be a global challenge. In response to the outbreak, scientists and pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines and therapeutics that saved countless lives and became a miracle in modern medicine. In the YRYang Lab, we are dedicated to combating infectious diseases through investigating the molecular basis of contagious viruses (such as HIV, Influenza, and coronavirus), and elucidating the mechanisms of our immune response against those threatening infections. To achieve this, we use a combination of structural and chemical approaches including cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), DNA origami, and protein-DNA assembly techniques.
Currently, there are two research focuses in the group: 1) Structure-based immune evaluation, modulation, and optimization. We use cryo-EM to determine the high-resolution structures of viral antigens in complex with monoclonal/polyclonal antibodies, with the purpose to reveal the epitope landscape and antigenic determinants, which will aid the design of novel vaccines and shed light on the evaluation of vaccine efficacy towards new variants. During her postdoctoral training in Andrew Ward’s Lab, Dr. Yang has solved the high-resolution cryo-EM structure of the HIV envelope protein in complex with a neutralizing antibody, which delineated the interaction details surrounding the “glycan hole” epitope, and concluded that such an epitope is challenging to be broadened for HIV vaccine design. 2) Evaluate and design novel DNA nano-carrier vaccines. We develop DNA nano scaffolds and assemble them with proteins of interest such as viral antigens. Our lab has developed site-specific and non-site-specific protein-DNA conjugation and assembly methods with controlled position, ratio, and orientation on DNA scaffolds. We have also created artificial enzyme-DNA complexes and networks that addressed important fundamental enzymology issues in multi-enzyme catalysis. This new principle and approach were used for designing self-assembled catalysts, which underline the applications in industry, bioenergy, and biomedical diagnosis.
Dr. Yuhe Renee Yang was awarded the 2021 National Science Fund for Excellent Young Scholars (overseas) and the 2021 Chinese Academy of Sciences Talents Program. She has worked in Structural Biology and DNA Nanotechnology for more than a decade and continues to find the joy and beauty in this interdisciplinary niche.