Xia Yang, Ph.D.


Dr. Xia Yang received her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics from Georgia State University and had postdoctoral training in Systems Genetics at UCLA. She was Senior Research Scientist at Rosetta Inpharmatics/Merck & Co. and Director of Systems Biology at Sage Bionetworks prior to returning to UCLA as a faculty member.

Research Interests

Our research focuses on developing and applying multitissue multiomics systems biology approaches to dissect the molecular networks underlying diverse complex diseases, ranging from cardiometabolic diseases to neurodegenerative and neurological disorders, and utilize the systems level networks to guide precision medicine. Through integration of genetic, transcriptional, epigenomic, proteomic, gut microbiota, and phenotypic data from human and rodent populations, we investigate how complex interactions between genetic and environmental risk factors perturb tissue- and cell-specific gene networks which in turn induce variations in disease susceptibility. Subsequently, we use the causal molecular networks of diseases as the basis for therapeutic target identification and biomarker discovery.



B.S., Pharmacy, Shandong University 1993
Ph.D., Molecular Genetics/Bioinformatics, Georgia State University 2003


Selected Publications

Yang X. “Multi-tissue Multi-omics Systems Biology to Dissect Complex Diseases”. Trends in Molecular Medicine, 2020.

Liu W, Venugopal S, Majid S, Ahn IS, Diamante G, Hong J, Yang X*, Chandler SH*. “Single-cell RNA-seq Analysis of the Brainstem of Mutant SOD1 mice Reveals Perturbed Cell Types and Pathways of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis”. Neurobiology of Disease, 141: 104877, 2020.

Rajbhandari P+, Arneson D+, Feng AC, Ahn IS, Diamante G, Zaghari N, Thomas BJ, Vergnes L, Lee SD, Reue K, Smale ST, Yang X, Tontonoz P. “Single Cell Analysis Reveals Immune Cell-Adipocyte Crosstalk Regulating the Transcription of Thermogenic Adipocytes”. eLife 8:e49501, 2019.

Zhang G, Byun HR, Ying Z, Blencowe M, Zhao Y, Hong J, Shu L, Gomez-Pinilla F, Yang X. “Differential Metabolic and Multi-tissue Transcriptomic Responses to Fructose Consumption among Genetically Diverse Mice”. BBA – Molecular Basis of Disease. 1866: 165569, 2020.

Shu L, Meng Q, Tsai B, Diamante G, Chen Y, Mikhail A, Luk H, Ritz B, Allard P, Yang X, “Prenatal Bisphenol A Exposure in Mice Induces Multi-tissue Multi-omics Disruptions Linking to Cardiometabolic Disorders”, Endocrinology, 160 : 409-429, 2019.

Arneson D, Zhuang Y, Byun HR, Ahn IS, Ying Z, Zhang G, Gomez-Pinilla F, Yang X, “Single Cell Molecular Alterations Reveal Pathogenesis and Targets of Concussive Brain Injury”, Nature Communications, 9 : 3894, 2018.

Emilsson V, llkov M, Lamb JR, Finkel N, Gudmundsson EF, Pitts R, Hoover H, Jennings LL, Horman SR, Aspelund T, Shu L, Trifonov V, Gudmundsdottir V, Sigurdsson S, Manolescu A, Zhu J, Lesley SA, To J, Zhang J, Harris TB, Launer LJ, Zhang B, Eiriksdottir G, Yang X, Smith AV, Orth AP, Gudnason V, “Coregulatory Networks of Human Serum Proteins Link Genetics to Disease”, Science, 361 : 769-773, 2018.

Kurt Z, Barrere-Cain R, LaGuardia J, Mehrabian JM, Pan C, Hui ST, Norheim F, Zhou Z, Hasin Y, Lusis AJ, Yang X, “Tissue-specific Pathways and Networks Underlying Sexual Dimorphism in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease”, Biology of Sex Differences, 9 : 46- (2018) .

Krishnan KC, Kurt Z, Barrere-Cain R, Sabir S, Das A, Floyd R, Vergnes L, Zhao Y, Che N, Charugundla S, Qi H, Zhou Z, Meng Y, Pan C, Seldin MM, Norheim F, Hui S, Reue K, Lusis, AJ, Yang X., “Integration of Multi-omics Data from Mouse Diversity Panel Highlights Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease”, Cell Systems, 6 : 1-13, 2018.

Shu L, Chen KHK, Zhang G, Huan T, Kurt Z, Zhao Y, Codoni V, Tregouet DA, Yang J, Wilson JG, Luo X, Levy D, Lusis AJ, Liu S, Yang X, “Shared Genetic Regulatory Networks for Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes in Multi-ethnic Populations”, PLOS Genetics, 13 (9): e1007040, 2017.

Stephen Young, M.D.


Stephen Young grew up in Kansas and obtained an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton University. Following medical school at Washington University-St. Louis, he did internal medicine training at UCSF and cardiology training at UCSD. He then embarked on a career in basic science. He did postdoctoral research training in lipid metabolism at UCSD with Dr. Joseph Witztum and then worked at a UCSF-affiliated research institute for 17 years. Along the way, he became an expert in using genetically modified mice to investigate the gene function in health and disease. Currently, his laboratory studies an endothelial cell protein required for plasma triglyceride metabolism and diseases of the nuclear envelope. His laboratory has a strong track record in developing the careers of young scientists. Dr. Young has received multiple awards and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hong Yang, M.D., Ph.D.


Hong Yang is a physiologist who has served on the UCLA School of Medicine since she joined the Department of Medicine in 1987. She became a full Researcher in 2002 and is a member of Brain Research Institute, Center for Ulcer Research and Education: Digestive Diseases Research Center and Center for Neurovisceral Sciences & Women’s Health. Dr. Yang earned her M.D and Ph.D. in Physiology at Beijing Medical University in China. She was a postdoctoral fellow, an Assistant Researcher and Associate Researcher at the Department of Medicine, UCLA where she worked on Brain-Gut Interactions. Dr. Yang’s research focuses on the medullary mechanism of autonomic disorders in metabolic diseases. She is the principal investigator of NIH and Department of Veterans Affairs funded grants for investigating the medullary mechanism of hypothyroidism-induced autonomic disorders. She is also a reviewer for multiple scientific journals including Am J Physiol (E,G,R), Metabolism and J Physiol, as well as an ad hoc grant reviewer for American Diabetes Association, the Department of Veterans Affairs and NIH/HIDDK.


A selected list of publications:

Tache Y and Yang H   Central actions of peptides in the vagally mediated regulation of gastric function, In: Encyclopedia of Hormones and Related Cell Regulators. , 2003; in press.
Yuan, PQ Yang, H   Neuronal activation of brain vagal-regulatory pathways and upper gut enteric plexuses by insulin hypoglycemia American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism. , 2002; 283(3): E436-48.
Yang H, Tache Y, Ohning G and Go VLW   Activation of raphe pallidus neurons increases insulin through medullary TRH-vagal pathways, Pancreas, 2002; 25: 301-307.
Yang H   Hypothyroidism and autonomic changes: role of medullary TRH, In Brain-Gut Peptides in the New Millenium: A Tribute to John Walsh by His Collaborators. Tache Y ed, 2002; 243-253.
Yuan P Q, Tache Y, Miampamba M and Yang H   Acute cold exposure induces vagal mediated Fos expression in gastric myenteric cells in conscious rats, Am J Physiol, 2001; 281: G560-G568.
Yang H, Yuan PQ, Wang L and Tache Y   Activation of the parapyramidal region in the ventral medulla stimulates gastric acid secretion through vagal pathways in rats, Neuroscience , 2000; 95: 773-779.
Yuan P Q and Yang H   Location of thyroid hormone receptor b2 in medullary TRH synthesizing neurons, Brain Res, 2000; 868: 22-30.
Yang H, Kawakubo K, Wong H, Ohning G and Tache Y   Peripheral PYY inhibits intracisternal TRH-induced gastric acid secretion by acting in the brain, Am J Physiol, 2000; 279: G575-G581.
Yuan, PQ Yang, H   Hypothyroidism induces Fos-like immunoreactivity in ventral medullary neurons that synthesize TRH The American journal of physiology. , 1999; 277(5 Pt 1): E927-36.
Yang H, Yuan PQ, Wu V and Tache Y   Feedback regulation of thyrotropin-releasing hormone gene expression by thyroid hormone in the caudal raphe nuclei in rats, Endocrinology, 1999; 140: 43-49.
Yang H, Kawakubo K and Tache Y   Intracisternal PYY increases gastric mucosal resistance : role of cholinergic CGRP and NO pathways, Am J Physiol, 1999; 277: G555-G562.
Yang H, Kawakubo K and Tache Y   Kainic acid into the parapyramidal region protects gastric injury by ethanol, Eur J Pharmacol, 1999; 372: R1-R3.
Yang H, Li WP, Reeve J R. Jr. and Tache Y   PYY preferring receptor in the dorsal vagal complex mediates PYY stimulation of gastric acid secretion in rats, Br J Pharmacol, 1998; 123: 1549-1554.
Yang H and Tache Y   Inhibitory effect of substance P in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus on TRH-induced gastric acid secretion, Am J Physiol, 1997; 272: G987-G993.
Yang H and Tache Y   Caudal medullary raphe nuclei and vagal regulation of gastric function, In: Gastrointestinal Tract and Endocrine System , Singer MV, Ziegler R and Rohr G ed, 1995; 39-49.
21. Yang H, Zhang XJ, Tache Y, Yoneda M and Wang CC   Central serotonin influences the devolopment of cold-restraint stress-induced gastric ulceration: role of autonomic and endocrine mechanisms, In: Gastrointestinal Tract and Endocrine System, Singer MV, Ziegler R and Rohr G ed, 1995; 77-82.
Yang H and Tache Y   Peptide YY in brainstem nuclei stimulates gastric acid secretion through vagal pathways in rats, Am J Physiol, 1995; 268: G943-G948.
Tache Y, Yang H, Yoneda M and Bonaz B   Role of medullary TRH in vagally mediated formation of gastric lesions. In: Neuroendocrinology of Gastrointestinal Ulceration:, Hans Selye Symposia on Neuroendocrinology and Stress. Szabo S, Tache Y and Glavin G ed, 1995; 161-173.
Yang H and Tache Y   Prepro-TRH-(160-169) potentiates gastric acid secretion stimulated by TRH microinjected into the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, Neurosci Lett. , 1994; 79: 43-46.
Tache Y and Yang H   Role of medullary TRH in the vagal regulation of gastric function, In: Innervation of the Gut: pathophysiological Implications. Tache Y, Wingate DL and Burks TF. ed, 1994; 67-80.
Yang H, Ohning G and Tache Y   TRH in the dorsal vagal complex mediates the acid response to excitation of raphe pallidus neurons in rats, Am J Physiol, 1993; 265: G880-G886.
Yang H, Stephens R and Tache Y   TRH analog microinjected into specific medullary nuclei stimulates gastric serotonin secretion in rats, Am J Physiology, 1992; 262: G216-G222.
Tache Y and Yang H   Brain regulation of gastric acid secretion by peptides: sites and mechanisms of action. In: Neurobiology of Stress Ulcers, Ann.N.Y.Acad.Sci, 1990; 597: 88-145.
Yang H, Ishikawa T and Tache Y   Microinjection of TRH analogs into the raphe pallidus stimulates gastric acid secretion in the rat, Brain Res., , 1990; 531: 280-285.
Yang H, Wong H, Wu V, Walsh JH, Tache Y   Somatostatin monoclonal antibody immunoneutralization increases gastrin and gastric acid secretion in urethane-anesthetized rats, Gastroenterology, 1990; 99: 659-665.
Yang H, Walsh JH, Tache Y   Effect of gastrin monoclonal antibody 28.2 on acid response to chemical vagal stimulation in rats, Life Sci, 1989; 45: 2413-2418.
Yang H, Cuttitta F, Raybould H, Tache Y   Intrathecal injection of bombesin inhibits gastric acid secretion in the rat, Gastroenterology , 1989; 96: 1403-1409.
Yang H, Zhang XJ and Wang CC   Effect of central 5-HT on the changes of lysosome and barrier mucus of gastric mucosa during stress in rats. (in Chinese), Chinese J. Appl. Physiol, 1988; 4(1): 1-5.
Yang H, Zhang XJ   Effect of intracerebroventricular injection of 5-HT on the activity of ATPase and the contents of ATP, ADP in the gastric mucosa after stress, Acta Physiologica Sinica, 1988; 40(1): 84-90.
An SZ, Yang H   Central 5-HT participates in the enhancement of plasma corticosterone level induced by 2-deoxy-glucose, J.Beijing Medical University , 1987; 19: 326.
Yang H, Sun J and Zhang XJ   Effects of cortisol and thyroxine on the enhancement of central 5-HT on stress-induced gastric ulceration, Chinese J. Physiol. Sci, 1987; 3(3): 290-296.
Yang H, Zhang XJ   Effects of intracerebroventricular injection of neuropeptide Y, bombesin and TRH on the metabolic rate of rat brain 5-hydroxytryptamine during stress-induced gastric ulceration, J. Beijing Medical University, 1987; 19: 87-89.
Yang H, Qiu C-F, Zhang S-X, An S-Z and Zhang XJ   Role of central 5-HT in the activation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axes during stress ulceration, Chinese J. Physiol. Sci, 1987; 3(3): 280-289.
Yang H, Zhang XJ   The role of central 5-hydroxytryptamine in 2-deoxyglucose-induced hyperglycemia, J. Beijing Medical University, 1986; 18: 1-5.
Yang, H Zhang, XJ   [The role of brain 5-hydroxytryptamine in the genesis of stress-induced gastric ulcer in rats] Sheng li xue bao [Acta physiologica Sinica]. , 1985; 37(5): 416-24.
Yang H, Zhang XJ, Wang CC   The enhancing effect of intracerebroventricular injection of bovine pancreatic polypeptide and neuropeptide Y on stress-induced gastric ulceration in rats, Chinese J. Physiological Sciences, 1985; 1: 96-101.
Yang H, Wu XR, Zhang XJ   Effect of intracerebroventricular injection of 5-hydroxytryptamine on plasma glucose concentration in rabbits, J. Beijing Medical College, 1984; 16: 187-189.
Yang H, Zhang XJ   The hyperglycemic effect of morphine after brain injection in rabbits, J. Beijing Medical College, 1984; 16: 11-15.
Yang H, Zhang XJ   The role of brain endogenous opioids in stress-induced hyperglycemia, Acta Physiologica Sinica, 1984; 36: 117-121.
Yang H   Effect of morphine and endophins on feeding behavior, Progress in Physiological Science, 1983; 14: 370-371.