Wan-Yee Tang

  • Associate Professor

My current research focuses on deciphering how environmental pollutants/allergen and dietary factors alter the epigenome via DNA de/methylation and induce chromatin remodeling, leading to complex diseases including respiratory disorders, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. My lab primarily focus on the investigation of the epigenetic alterations in the development of allergic asthma utilizing an experimental asthma model and state-of-the-art methylation profiling technologies Our recent work has identified a previously unrecognized role for DNA hydroxymethylation in airway hyperresponsiveness and asthma.

Results from the epigenetic studies in laboratory can be further validated in populations. For example, many epidemiological studies showed the association between environmental exposure and complex diseases like diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, asthma and cancer. With a team of collaborators, I have extended my work to identify the relationship between the inter-individual epigenetic variations and disease risk using human cohorts. My long-term goal is to apply innovative and promising epigenetic approaches to understand the underlying mechanisms by which epigenetic changes may contribute to common diseases. Our findings may lead to the development of improved preventive measures and therapeutic strategies to reduce the burden of chronic diseases. Also, translating our scientific findings into human may provide proper disease management and lifetime recommendations to the public.


2000 The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong BSc (Biochemistry)

2004 The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong PhD (Biochemistry)



Selected Publications
  1. Tang, W.Y.*,Ho, S.*, Belmonte, J. and Prins, G.S. (2006) Developmental exposure to estradiol and bisphenol A increases susceptibility to prostate carcinogenesis and epigenetically regulates phosphodiesterase type 4 variant 4.Cancer Research. 66(11):5624-5632 * co-authorship PMID:16740699.
  2. Tang, W.Y,Newbold, R., Mardilovich, K., Jefferson, W., Cheng, R., Medvedovic, M., and Ho, S. (2008) Persistent hypomethylation in the promoter of nucleosomal binding protein (Nsbp1) correlates withNsbp1 overexpression in mouse uteri neonatally exposed to diethylstilbestrol or genistein.Endocrinology. 149(12):5922–5931. PMID: 18669593. *accompanied by an editorial, Prins GS. Estrogen imprinting: when your epigenetic memories come back to haunt you.Endocrinology. PMID: 19022898.
  3. Tang, W.Y.*, Perera, F.*, Herbstman, J.B., Tang, D.T., Levin, L., Miller, R. and Ho, S. (2009) Relation of DNA methylaton of 5'-CpG island of ACSL3 to transplacental exposure to airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and childhood asthma.PLoS One. 4(2):e4488. * co-authorship. PMID:19221603.
  4. Tang, W.Y., Morey, L., Cheung, Y.Y., Belmonte, J., Prins, G.S., and Ho, S. (2012) Neonatal exposure to 17�-estradiol/bisphenol A alters promoter methylation and expression of Nsbp1 and Hpcal1 genes and transcriptional programs of Dnmt3a/b and Mbd2/4 in the rat prostate gland throughout life.Endocrinology. 153(1):42-55. PMID:22109888.
  5. Tang, W.Y., Levin, L., Talaska, G., Cheung, Y.Y., Herbstman, J.B., Miller, R., Perera, F., and Ho, S. (2012) Maternal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is associated with methylation at a 5’-CpG island of interferon-? in cord white blood cells.Environ Health Perspect. 120(8): 1195–1200. PMC3440069.
  6. Shang, Y., Das, S., Xiao, X., Rabold, R., Mitzner, W. andTang, W.Y.(2013) Investigation of DNA methylation changes in house-dust-mite (HDM) induced asthma.Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 49(2):279-287. PMID:23526225.
  7. Cheng, R.Y.S., Shang, Y. , Limjunyawong, N. , Dao, T., Das, S. , Rabold, R., Sham, J., Mitzner, W. andTang, W.Y.(2014) Alterations of the lung methylome in allergic airway hyper-responsiveness.Environ Mol Mutagen. 55(3):244-255. PMID:24446183.
  8. Tellez-Plaza, M.,Tang, W.Y., Shang, Y. Umans JG., Francesconi, KA., Goessler, W., Pollak, J., Guallar, E., Cole, S., Fallin, D. and Navas-Acien, A. (2014) Global DNA methylation and global DNA hydroxymethylation in a population-based pilot sample from the Strong Heart Study.Environ Health Perspect. 122(9):946-54. PMID 24769358.
  9. Dao, T. , Cheng, R.Y.S., Revelo, P., Mitzner, W., andTang, W.Y. (2014) Hydroxymethylation as a novel environmental biosensor.Curr Environ Health Rep. 1(1):1-10. Review. PMID:24860723.
  10. Martos, S.,Tang, W.Y., Z.B.W (2015) Elusive inheritance: Transgenerational effects and epigenetic inheritance in human environmental disease.Prog Biophys Mol Biol.118(1-2):44-54. Review. PMID:25792089.
  11. Dao, T., Hong, X., Wang, X. andTang, W.Y. (2015) Maternal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers and DNA methylation of cord blood metabolism-related genes.PLoS One.10(9):e0138815. PMID:26406892.
  12. Lin, H.Y., Shang, Y., Mitzner, W., Sham, J.S.K., andTang, W.Y. (2016) Aberrant DNA Methylation of Phosphodiestarase 4D Alters Airway Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotypes Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol.54(2):241-249. PMID:26181301.
  13. An, S.S., Mitzner, W.,Tang, W.Y., Ahn, K., Yoon, A.R., Huang, J., Kilic, O., Yong, H.M., Fahey, J.W., Kumar, S., Biswal, S., Holgate, S.T., Panettieri, R.A., Solway, J. and Liggett, S.B. (2016) An inflammation-independent contraction mechanophenotype of airway smooth muscle in asthma.Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology. 138(1):294-297.e4. PMID: 26936804
  14. Wang, T., Pehrsson, E.C., Purushotham, D., Li, D., Zhuo, X., Zhang, B., Lawson, H.A., Province, M.A., Krapp, C., Lan, Y., Coarfa, C., Katz, T.A.,Tang, W.Y., Wang, Z., Biswal, S., Rajagopalan, S., Colacino, J.A., Tsai, Z.T., Sartor, M.A., Neier, K., Dolinoy, D.C., Pinto, J., Hamanaka, R.B., Mutlu, G.M., Patisaul, H.B., Aylor, D.L., Crawford, G.E., Wiltshire,T., Chadwick, L.H., Duncan, C.G., Garton, A.E., McAllister, K.A. Bartolomei, M.S., Walke,r C.L., Tyson, F.L. (2018) The NIEHS TaRGET II Consortium and environmental epigenomics.Nat Biotechnol. 36:225-227. PubMed PMID: 29509741
  15. Zhang, B., Hong, X. , Ji, H. ,Tang, W.Y., Kimmel, M.,, Ji, Y., Pearson, C., Zuckerman, B., Surkan, P.J. and Wang, X.B. (2018) Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy and Cord Blood DNA Methylation: New Insight on Sex Differences and Effect Modification by Maternal Folate Epigenetics,Epigenetics. 13(5):505-518. PubMed PMID: 29945474
  16. Fink, A.L., Engle, K., Ursin, R.L.,Tang, W.Y. and Klein, S.L. Biological sex affects vaccine efficacy and protection against influenza in mice. (2018)Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 115(49):12477-12482 PubMed PMID: 30455317.
  17. Sahu, A., Mamiya, H., Shinde, S.N., Cheikhi, A., Winter, L.L., Vo, N.V., Stolz, D., Roginskaya, V.,Tang, W.Y, St Croix, C., Sanders, L.H., Franti, M., Van Houten, B., Rando, T.A., Barchowsky, A. and Ambrosio, F. (2018) Age-related declines in a-Klotho drive progenitor cell mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired muscle regeneration.Nat Commun. 9(1):4859. PubMed PMID: 30451844
  18. Cheikhi, A., Wallace, C., Croix, C.S., Cohen, C.,Tang, W.Y., Wipf, P., Benos, P.V., Ambrosio, F. and Barchowsky, A. (2019) Mitochondria are a Substrate of Cellular Memory.Free Radic Biol Med.130:528-541. PubMed PMID: 30472365.
  19. Shin, M.K., Pichard, L.E., Caballero Eraso, C., Gu, C., Yeung, B.H., Mu1, Y.P., Wu, Z., Paudel, O., Liu, X.,Shirahata, M.,Tang, W.Y., Sham, J.S.K., and Polotsky, V.Y. (2019) Leptin induces hypertension acting on transient receptor potential melastatin 7 (Trpm7) channel in the carotid body,Circ Res.125(11):989-1002. PMID: 31545149
  20. Crocker, K. C., Domingo-Relloso, A., Haack, K., Fretts, A. M.,Tang, W.Y., Herreros, M., Tellez-Plaza, M., Daniele Fallin, M., Cole, S. A., & Navas-Acien, A. (2020). DNA methylation and adiposity phenotypes: an epigenome-wide association study among adults in the Strong Heart Study.International journal of obesity. 44(11):2313-2322. PMID: 32728124
  21. Wu, Q., Odwin-Dacosta, S., Cao, S., Yager, J.D. andTang, W. Y. (2019) Estrogen down regulates COMT transcription via promoter DNA methylation in human breast cancer cells,Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.15;367:12-22. PMID: 30684530
  22. Yeung, B.H, Huang, J., An, S.S., Solway, J., Mitzner, W.,Tang, W.Y.. (2020) Role of Isocitrate Dehydrogenase 2 on DNA Hydroxymethylation in Human Airway Smooth Muscle Cells.Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 63(1):36-45. PMID: 32150688. **accompanied by an editorial, Huang S. A Fresh Take on the "TCA" Cycle: TETs, Citrate, and Asthma.Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. PMID: 32223718
  23. Navas-Acien A, Domingo-Relloso A, Subedi P, Riffo-Campos AL, Xia R, Gomez L, Haack K, Goldsmith J, Howard BV, Best LG, Devereux R, Tauqeer A, Zhang Y, Fretts AM, Pichler G, Levy D, Vasan RS, Baccarelli AA, Herreros-Martinez M,Tang W.Y, Bressler J, Fornage M, Umans JG, Tellez-Plaza M, Fallin MD, Zhao J, Cole SA. Blood DNA Methylation and Incident Coronary Heart Disease: Evidence From the Strong Heart Study.JAMA Cardiol. 2021 Aug 4. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34347013.
  24. Yeung, B.H., Griffiths, K., Berger, L., Paudel, O., Shin, M.K., Rui, L., Sham, J.S.K., Polotsky, V.Y.,Tang, W.Y. (2021) Leptin Induces Epigenetic Regulation of Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin 7 in PC12 Cells.Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 65(2):214-221. PMID:33891828.** accompanied by an editorial, Lingappan K. Does the Epigenome Hold Clues to Leptin-associated Hypertension in Obesity? Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. PMID: 34029509
  25. Pulczinski, J., Shang, Y., Dao, T., Limjunyawong, N., Sun, Y., Mitzner, W., Cheng, R.Y.S., andTang, W.Y. (2021) Multigenerational Epigenetic Regulation of Allergic Diseases: Utilizing an Experimental Dust Mite-Induced Asthma Model.Frontiers in Genetics. 2:624561, PMID: 33868365