Xian-Jie Yang

Xianjie Yang

Professor-in-Residence, Ophthalmology, University of California Los Angeles


Los Angeles, CA 90095

Los Angeles, CA 90095

Dr. Xian-Jie Yang is a molecular biologist whose research interests are the development and repair of the neural retina. The Yang laboratory uses broad research approaches including genetically engineered mice and viral vector-mediated gene delivery to study regulatory mechanisms involved in retinal progenitor proliferation and differentiation. In NIH funded research, the Yang laboratory has investigated cellular mechanism and signaling pathways impact retinal neuron survival using genetic models in conjunction with molecular and biochemical analyses. A primary focus is on retinal metabolism during development, degeneration, and regeneration. In recent years, the Yang laboratory has also successfully derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), established 3D retinal organoid cultures from human pluripotent stem cells, and developed methods to enhance retinal ganglion cell production. Current research funded by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) aims at developing a gene therapy for dominant optic atrophy using stem cell-based disease models. Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1l91za8ByohMK4/bibliography/public/


Xian-Jie Yang is a developmental biologist, who has served on the UCLA School of Medicine faculty since she joined the Department of Ophthalmology in 1996. She is a member of the Molecular Biology Institute, Brain Research Institute, and has become an associate professor in 2003. Dr, Yang obtained her B.S in biology from Beijing Normal University and her Ph.D. from Cornell University in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology after studying transcription regulation. She pursued her postdoctoral training at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School working on vertebrate neural development. Her research centers on development and diseases of the vertebrate retina, in particular growth factor signaling mechanisms during normal neural differentiation and neuronal survival in retinal degeneration. Her laboratory is also developing cellular and molecular therapies for inherited retinal diseases.

Awards and Honors

  • Career Development Award, Foundation Fighting Blindness, 1996-2000.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, NIH, 1992-1994.
  • Dolly Green Special Scholar Award, Foundation Fighting Blindness, 2002-2003.
  • Basil O'Connor Starter Award, March of Dimes Foundation, 1998-2000.
  • Undergraduate Mentor Award, University of California Los Angeles, 2022.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, 1988-1991.
  • Research Awards, Karl Kirchgessner Foundation, 1999-2002.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Medical Foundation/King Turst, 1991-1992.
  • Ernest G. Herman Chair in Ophthalmology, University of California Los Angeles, 2012.