Li  Yang, Ph.D.

Li Yang, Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute


Dr. Yang’s research program focuses on the mechanisms underlying tumor-host interplay in cancer metastatic progression. Dr. Yang has contributed to the identification of the immune and inflammatory mediators in the anti- and pro-tumor functional switch of TGF-β, the epigenetic regulation of TGF-β signaling, mechanisms of myeloid cell recruitment in the tumor microenvironment, as well as myeloid TGF-β signaling in cancer immune surveillance and in inflammatory stroke.

As the head of the Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Section, Dr. Yang is particularly interested in how tumor suppressors modulate the host immune environment, and the epigenetic mechanisms responsible for tumor cell plasticity and metastatic colonization.

Areas of Expertise

Tumor Suppressors, TGF-β, Inflammatory and Immune Response
Myeloid Cells


Selected Key Publications

Apoptosis-induced nuclear expulsion in tumor cells drives S100a4-mediated metastatic outgrowth through the RAGE pathway

Park W-Y, Gray JM, Holewinski RJ, Andresson T, So JY, Carmona-Rivera C, Hollander MC, Yang HH, Lee M, Kaplan MJ, Cappell SD, Yang L.
Nature Cancer. 4(3): 419-435, 2023.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

Induction of DNMT3B by PGE2 and IL6 at Distant Metastatic Sites Promotes Epigenetic Modification and Breast Cancer Colonization

So JY, Skrypek N, Yang HH, Merchant AS, Nelson GW, Chen WD, Ishii H, Chen JM, Hu G, Achyut BR, Yoon EC, Han L, Huang C, Cam MC, Zhao K, Lee MP, Yang L.
Cancer Res. 80(12): 2612-2627, 2020. [ Journal Article ]

miR-130a and miR-145 reprogram Gr-1+CD11b+ myeloid cells and inhibit tumor metastasis through improved host immunity

Ishii H, Vodnala SK, Achyut BR, So JY, Hollander MC, Greten TF, Lal A, Yang L.
Nat Commun. 9(1): 2611, 2018. [ Journal Article ]

TGF-β signaling in myeloid cells is required for tumor metastasis

Pang Y, Gara SK, Achyut BR, Li Z, Yan HH, Day CP, Weiss JM, Trinchieri G, Morris JC, Yang L.
Cancer Discov. 3(8): 936-51, 2013. [ Journal Article ]

Roles of tumor suppressors in regulating tumor-associated inflammation

Yang L, Karin M
Cell Death and Differentiation. 21: 1677-1686, 2014.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

Job Vacancies

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Celine Kieu photo
Postdoctoral Fellow
Celine Kieu, Ph.D.
Henry Yang Gu photo
Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Henry Yang Gu, Ph.D.
Tiffany Andohkow photo
Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Tiffany Andohkow
Rachel Yang photo
Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Rachel Yang
Carter Sellner photo
Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Carter Sellner


Apoptotic cell death promotes metastasis of surviving neighbors

Our publication "Apoptosis-induced nuclear expulsion in tumor cells drives S100a4-mediated metastatic outgrowth through the RAGE pathway" was recently featured on the cover of Nature Cancer.

Justin Gray, a graduate student in the NIH-Johns Hopkins GPP, awarded his Ph.D.

Justin completed his doctoral research in the Yang lab (July 2017 - June 2022) and is now working at BioNTech.

Justin Gray photo