Academic Rank:
Professor, UBC
Affiliation(s):
St. Paul’s Hospital, HLI, PHCRI
Short Bio:

Dr. Decheng is a microbiologist/virologist. He received his B.Sc. degree in microbiology at Nankai University, PRC. He conducted his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received his Ph.D. in molecular microbiology. He also received his postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois. He joined the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine as an Assistant Professor in 1995. Currently, he is a Professor at the Department, and a Principal Investigator at the Center for Heart and Lung Innovation, St. Paul’s Hospital. Dr. Yang is also a Member of the UBC Center for Microbial Diseases and Host Defense Research. His research on enteroviral pathogenesis of heart diseases is continuously supported by Canada Institute of Health Research, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. He has published over 100 basic research papers, a virology book (RNA Viruses: Host Gene Responses to Infections) and 17 book chapters in viral pathogenesis.

Academic background

  • University of Illinois Postdoctoral training in Molecular Microbiology
  • University of Illinois Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology
  • University of Illinois M.Sc. in Plant Pathology
  • Nankai University B.Sc. in Microbiology

Research Interest

Dr. Decheng Yang’s research programs focus on molecular pathogenesis of coxsackievirus-induced myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy. The ongoing research projects include: 1) molecular mechanism of coxsackievirus replication, specifically focusing on the identification of cellular 5’TOP (Terminal oligopyrimidine tract) mRNAs in the regulation of viral transcription and translation. 2) Epigenetic analysis of N6-methyladenosine (m6A) methylation of viral and cellular mRNAs. This project aims to determine the effect of RNA m6A methylation on viral propagation and pathogenesis, and 3) Host gene response to viral infection: by using an inducible heart-specific NFAT5 (nuclear factor of activated T cells 5) knockout mice as a model system, Dr. Yang’s group focuses on study of host-viral interaction, particularly on the roles of NFAT5 and viral proteases in the pathogenesis of virus-induced heart diseases. These studies aim to identify key genes involved in host immune response signaling pathways leading to cardiomyocyte injury and heart dysfunction. The identified novel genes may serve as potential targets to design nucleic acid-based therapeutics (siRNA, antisense oligo and artificial microRNA) for the treatment of the disease.

Teaching Interest

· Med 570: Viral myocarditis and treatments

· Path 521: Small RNAs in regulation of gene expression and diseases

· Path 438: Directed studies