• Her research focuses on studying cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying cardiac differentiation and direct reprogramming. The cardiac reprogramming offers a promising strategy to generate functional heart muscle cells for heart repair. The long-term goal of Zhou’s research is to comprehensively understand the genetic and epigenetic regulation for cell fate conversion, which will ultimately aid in the achievement of regenerative therapy and personalized medicine in the future.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2021 Changes in cardiomyocyte cell cycle and hypertrophic growth during fetal to adult in mammals 2021
    2020 Functional interrogation of HOXA9 regulome in MLLr leukemia via reporter-based CRISPR/Cas9 screeneLife.  9:1-30. 2020
    2020 Apical resection prolongs the cell cycle activity and promotes myocardial regeneration after left ventricular injury in neonatal pigCirculation.  913-916. 2020
    2019 Single-cell transcriptomic analyses of cell fate transitions during human cardiac reprogrammingCell Stem Cell.  25:149-164. e9. 2019
    2017 Comparative gene expression analyses reveal distinct molecular signatures between differentially reprogrammed cardiomyocytesCell Reports.  20:3014-3024. 2017
    2016 Epigenetic Perturbations by Arg882-Mutated DNMT3A Potentiate Aberrant Stem Cell Gene-Expression Program and Acute Leukemia DevelopmentCancer Cell.  30:92-107. 2016
    2016 Bmi1 Is a Key Epigenetic Barrier to Direct Cardiac ReprogrammingCell Stem Cell.  18:382-395. 2016
    2016 Advanced Technologies Lead iNto New Reprogramming RoutesCell Stem Cell.  19:286-288. 2016
    2016 Enhanced Reprogramming of Human Fibroblasts into Cardiomyocytes Using Minimal Transcription FactorsCirculation Research.  119:A35-A35. 2016
    2016 Generation of an inducible fibroblast cell line for studying direct cardiac reprogramming 2016
    2016 The hominoid-specific gene TBC1D3 promotes generation of basal neural progenitors and induces cortical folding in miceeLife.  5:e18197-e18197. 2016
    2015 Improved generation of induced cardiomyocytes using a polycistronic construct expressing optimal ratio of Gata4, Mef2c and Tbx5Journal of Visualized Experiments.  e53426-e53426. 2015
    2013 MicroRNA-195 targets ADP-ribosylation factor-like protein 2 to induce apoptosis in human embryonic stem cell-derived neural progenitor cellsCell Death and Disease.  4:e695-e695. 2013


    Year Title Altmetric
    2019 Epigenomic Reprogramming in Cardiovascular Disease.  149-163. 2019
    2012 Differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into neural lineage cells.  229-239. 2012

    Research Overview

  • Direct cardiac reprogramming is a new technology which converts a somatic non-myocyte directly into an induced cardiomyocyte (iCM). This technology not only provides a promising platform for the study of cellular plasticity, disease modeling and drug screening, but also is considered a therapeutic approach capable of restoring the function of an injured heart. However, it still faces challenges in efficiently generating mature iCMs. Dr. Yang Zhou’s current research interests are to understand the molecular basis of direct cardiac reprogramming, with which to improve the clinical applicability and efficiency of this novel approach.

    The cell fate of various cell types within an individual is determined and maintained mostly by distinct patterns of epigenetic modifications, which can help to determine whether genes are turned on or off. Cell reprogramming is inherently an epigenetic remodeling process. Zhou has identified a key epigenetic barrier to iCM reprogramming, as well as other epigenetic modifiers and splicing factors regulating reprogramming. Removal of these barriers largely enhance iCM reprogramming. Zhou has also determined the distinct molecular features between iCM and induced pluripotent stem cell-derived CMs (iPSC-CMs) through comparative transcriptomics and functional validations, providing guidance for future applications of each reprogramming approach. Her ongoing projects include development of efficient and reliable human iCM reprogramming platform, gene regulatory and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the direct cell fate conversion into human iCMs, and in situ heart regeneration via direct reprogramming.
  • Education And Training

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Biology and Embryology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College 2014
  • Bachelor of Science or Mathematics in Biology, Fudan University 2007
  • Full Name

  • Yang Zhou