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Yang Shi

Principal Investigator, Ludwig Cancer Research, Oxford University & K36 Scientific Advisor

Yang Shi received his PhD from New York University where he studied regulation of a multi-gene family in mice. He carried out postdoctoral research in the lab of Dr. Thomas Shenk at Princeton University where he discovered the transcription factor YY1 (Yin Yang 1) named for its ability to both activate and repress transcription. He began his independent research career at Harvard Medical School as a tenure-track assistant professor and received tenure and full professorship in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School in 2004. In 2009 he joined the Newborn Medicine Division of Boston Children’s Hospital and held a Merton Bernfield Professorship. He became the inaugural C. H. Waddington Professor of Pediatrics of Harvard Medical School in 2018. Shi joined the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Oxford University in 2020.


His honors include Ray Wu Prize (2009), election to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011), American Cancer Society Research Professor (2012), election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2016) and the National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award (2017).

Yang is also a scientific co-founder of Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Yang’s most significant and widely known scientific contribution is the discovery of the first histone demethylase LSD1, which overturned the 40-year-old dogma that histone methylation is irreversible. This groundbreaking discovery was published in Cell in 2004, and was selected by Cell as one of the 25 landmark publications over forty-year history of Cell.

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