Guang Yao

Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Associate Professor, Applied BioSciences - GIDP
Associate Professor, Applied Mathematics - GIDP
Associate Professor, Cancer Biology - GIDP
Associate Professor, Genetics - GIDP

What do we do?

We study gene networks that control life and death decisions of cancer cells, and how they differ from normal cells.

What is the goal of our research?

We aim to better understand control mechanisms underlying various cell-fate decisions, and their connections to cancer development and aging, as well as to potential therapeutic strategies.

What is our approach?

We use an integrated approach of high-resolution single-cell experiments and computer modeling. Single-cell experiments can uncover dynamic and heterogeneous behaviors of cancer cells that often get buried in population-average analysis; modeling can help reveal emergent properties of gene networks that are hard to grasp intuitively. As demonstrated in our previous work, the combinatorial approach holds great promise in dissecting complex biological systems like cancer.



Yao, G., J. Dhawan, and A. R. Barr, "Editorial: Cellular dormancy-State determination and plasticity.", Front Cell Dev Biol, vol. 10, pp. 984347, 2022. PMCID: PMC9387552 PMID: 35990611
Liu, B., X. Wang, L. Jiang, J. Xu, Y. Zohar, and G. Yao, "Extracellular Fluid Flow Induces Shallow Quiescence Through Physical and Biochemical Cues.", Front Cell Dev Biol, vol. 10, pp. 792719, 2022. PMCID: PMC8912726 PMID: 35281101


Snider, J. M., J. Karen You, X. Wang, A. J. Snider, B. Hallmark, M. M. Zec, M. C. Seeds, S. Sergeant, L. Johnstone, Q. Wang, et al., "Group IIA secreted phospholipase A2 is associated with the pathobiology leading to COVID-19 mortality.", J Clin Invest, vol. 131, issue 19, 2021 Oct 01. PMCID: PMC8483752 PMID: 34428181


Liu, B., Y. Shen, H. Huang, K. Della Croce, M. Wu, Y. Fan, Y. Liu, J. Xu, and G. Yao, "Curcumin derivative C212 inhibits Hsp90 and eliminates both growing and quiescent leukemia cells in deep dormancy.", Cell Commun Signal, vol. 18, issue 1, pp. 159, 2020 Sep 29. PMCID: PMC7523331 PMID: 32993709
Fujimaki, K., and G. Yao, "Cell dormancy plasticity: quiescence deepens into senescence through a dimmer switch.", Physiol Genomics, vol. 52, issue 11, pp. 558-562, 2020 11 01. PMID: 32986540
Mathey-Prevot, B., B-T. Parker, C. Im, C. Hong, P. Dong, G. Yao, and L. You, "Quantifying E2F1 protein dynamics in single cells.", Quant Biol, vol. 8, issue 1, pp. 20-30, 2020 Mar. PMCID: PMC7295171 PMID: 32542116


Tian, X., X. Tu, K. Della Croce, G. Yao, H. Cai, N. Brock, S. Pau, and R. Liang, "Multi-wavelength quantitative polarization and phase microscope.", Biomed Opt Express, vol. 10, issue 4, pp. 1638-1648, 2019 Apr 01. PMCID: PMC6484989 PMID: 31061760
Zhang, J., H. Chen, R. Li, D. A. Taft, G. Yao, F. Bai, and J. Xing, "Spatial clustering and common regulatory elements correlate with coordinated gene expression.", PLoS Comput Biol, vol. 15, issue 3, pp. e1006786, 2019 03. PMCID: PMC6415868 PMID: 30822341
Pu, Y., Y. Li, X. Jin, T. Tian, Q. Ma, Z. Zhao, S-Y. Lin, Z. Chen, B. Li, G. Yao, et al., "ATP-Dependent Dynamic Protein Aggregation Regulates Bacterial Dormancy Depth Critical for Antibiotic Tolerance.", Mol Cell, vol. 73, issue 1, pp. 143-156.e4, 2019 01 03. PMID: 30472191
Fujimaki, K., R. Li, H. Chen, K. Della Croce, H. Helen Zhang, J. Xing, F. Bai, and G. Yao, "Graded regulation of cellular quiescence depth between proliferation and senescence by a lysosomal dimmer switch.", Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 116, issue 45, pp. 22624-22634, 2019 11 05. PMCID: PMC6842626 PMID: 31636214


Fujimaki, K., and G. Yao, "Crack the state of silence: Tune the depth of cellular quiescence for cancer therapy.", Mol Cell Oncol, vol. 5, issue 1, pp. e1403531, 2018. PMCID: PMC5791855 PMID: 29404395
Kwon, J. Sarah, X. Wang, and G. Yao, "Study Quiescence Heterogeneity by Coupling Single-Cell Measurements and Computer Modeling.", Methods Mol Biol, vol. 1686, pp. 287-299, 2018. PMID: 29030828


Wang, X., K. Fujimaki, G. C. Mitchell, J. Sarah Kwon, K. Della Croce, C. Langsdorf, H. Helen Zhang, and G. Yao, "Exit from quiescence displays a memory of cell growth and division.", Nat Commun, vol. 8, issue 1, pp. 321, 2017 08 22. PMCID: PMC5567331 PMID: 28831039
Shats, I., M. Deng, A. Davidovich, C. Zhang, J. S. Kwon, D. Manandhar, R. Gordân, G. Yao, and L. You, "Expression level is a key determinant of E2F1-mediated cell fate.", Cell Death Differ, vol. 24, issue 4, pp. 626-637, 2017 04. PMCID: PMC5384025 PMID: 28211871
Dai, J., M. A. Miller, N. J. Everetts, X. Wang, P. Li, Y. Li, J-H. Xu, and G. Yao, "Elimination of quiescent slow-cycling cells via reducing quiescence depth by natural compounds purified from Ganoderma lucidum.", Oncotarget, vol. 8, issue 8, pp. 13770-13781, 2017 Feb 21. PMCID: PMC5355137 PMID: 28099150
Kwon, J. Sarah, N. J. Everetts, X. Wang, W. Wang, K. Della Croce, J. Xing, and G. Yao, "Controlling Depth of Cellular Quiescence by an Rb-E2F Network Switch.", Cell Rep, vol. 20, issue 13, pp. 3223-3235, 2017 Sep 26. PMCID: PMC6571029 PMID: 28954237


Chen, C., P. Li, Y. Li, G. Yao, and J-H. Xu, "Antitumor effects and mechanisms of extracts and spores oil.", Oncol Lett, vol. 12, issue 5, pp. 3571-3578, 2016 Nov. PMCID: PMC5104053 PMID: 27900038


Zhang, W., L. Wei, L. Li, B. Yang, B. Kong, G. Yao, and W. Zheng, "Ovarian serous carcinogenesis from tubal secretory cells.", Histol Histopathol, vol. 30, issue 11, pp. 1295-302, 2015 Nov. PMID: 26174492


Srimani, J. K., G. Yao, J. Neu, Y. Tanouchi, T. Jun Lee, and L. You, "Linear population allocation by bistable switches in response to transient stimulation.", PLoS One, vol. 9, issue 8, pp. e105408, 2014. PMCID: PMC4139379 PMID: 25141235
Wang, Y., Y. Wang, D. Li, L. Li, W. Zhang, G. Yao, Z. Jiang, and W. Zheng, "IMP3 signatures of fallopian tube: a risk for pelvic serous cancers.", J Hematol Oncol, vol. 7, pp. 49, 2014 Jul 12. PMCID: PMC4230642 PMID: 25014991
Yao, G., "Modelling mammalian cellular quiescence.", Interface Focus, vol. 4, issue 3, pp. 20130074, 2014 Jun 06. PMCID: PMC3996586 PMID: 24904737
Mondal, D., E. Dougherty, A. Mukhopadhyay, A. Carbo, G. Yao, and J. Xing, "Systematic reverse engineering of network topologies: a case study of resettable bistable cellular responses.", PLoS One, vol. 9, issue 8, pp. e105833, 2014. PMCID: PMC4149494 PMID: 25170839


Chen, C., J. Li, G. Yao, S. K. Chambers, and W. Zheng, "Tubal origin of ovarian low-grade serous carcinoma.", Am J Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol, vol. 1, issue 1, pp. 13-36, 2013 Dec 15. PMCID: PMC4205570 PMID: 25346935


Yao, G., C. Tan, M. West, J. R. Nevins, and L. You, "Origin of bistability underlying mammalian cell cycle entry.", Mol Syst Biol, vol. 7, pp. 485, 2011 Apr 26. PMCID: PMC3101952 PMID: 21525871
Wong, J. V., G. Yao, J. R. Nevins, and L. You, "Viral-mediated noisy gene expression reveals biphasic E2f1 response to MYC.", Mol Cell, vol. 41, issue 3, pp. 275-85, 2011 Feb 04. PMCID: PMC3044932 PMID: 21292160