Xiangdong William Yang, MD, PhD
Photo: X. William Yang



Elected 2017

Dr. Yang is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and a member of the Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics at the Semel Institute of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Yang completed his undergraduate education at Yale University, obtaining combined BS/MS degrees from the Department of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry (MB&B). He then completed MD/PhD training at Rockefeller University (PhD) and Weill Medical College of Cornell University (MD). He co-invented (with Nathaniel Heintz) a powerful mouse genetic technology to engineer Bacterial Artificial Chromosomes (BACs) and to generate BAC transgenic mice. Dr. Yang’s own laboratory, established at UCLA in 2002, has made significant contributions to the development of novel BAC transgenic mouse models for human neurodegenerative disorders including Huntington’s disease (HD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD), and to apply such models to study disease pathogenesis. Recently, his laboratory integrates mouse genetics and large-scale systems biology to unravel novel molecular networks involved in HD pathogenesis and to discover novel disease-modifying molecular targets. The Yang lab has also developed novel mouse genetic tools to study neuronal cell-type-specific gene expression and to enable genetically-directed single-neuron labeling for detailed morphological studies. Finally, the Yang lab studies the role of mammalian basal ganglia circuitry in the generation of normal and pathological behaviors. Dr. Yang is a recipient of a BRAIN Initiative Award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Brain Disorder Award from the McKnight Foundation, and the Leslie Gehry Brenner Prize for Innovation in Science from the Hereditary Disease Foundation.