Yao Yao

Assistant Professor
  • Asst. Research Scientist UGA (2017-2019)
  • Research Assoc. UPenn (2014-2017)
  • Post-doc fellow UPenn (2009-2014)
  • PhD, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2009)
  • BS, Shanghai Jiao Tong University(2004)

In the Lab

Enhancers, one type of non-coding DNA regulatory element facilitating proper spatiotemporal gene expression, are fundamental to our understanding of development and disease. Majority of genetic variants, including single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) and copy number variants (CNVs) associated with disease traits, reside in/cover enhancers. It is imperative to improve our basic understanding of enhancer mediated gene regulatory logic so that we are better equipped to develop efficient gene therapies for genetic diseases.

Yao’s research focuses on enhancer mediated genetic and epigenetic regulation of gene expression in development and diseases for molecular targets that can be harnessed to improve human health and agronomic traits. The long-term goal is to develop CRISPR-mediated cell type specific genome editing to facilitate its application in gene therapy for neuromuscular disorders in human and meat quality improvement in livestock. To achieve these goals, the lab is currently focusing on the following projects: (1) Identify and elucidate the function and behavior of enhancers, especially within the three-dimensional context of the nucleus, during muscle stem cell regeneration. (2) Uncover molecular targets for muscle disorders using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and mouse disease models, currently focusing on neuromuscular dystrophy (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS); (3) Developing cell/tissue type specific genome editing tools through engineering extracellular vesicles as in vivo delivery shuttle for CRISPR system to facilitate efficient gene therapies.Visit the Yao Lab

Research Interest

  • Enhancer-mediated gene regulation
  • Gene therapy
  • Eye-tracking
  • Neurological disorders
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • Genetic engineering via CRISPR-Cas system


  • Publications by Yao Yao may be found at Pub Med.
  • ​For more information visit the Yao Lab.