Van Andel Institute welcomes structural biologist and neuroscientist Dr. Yang Yang

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 11, 2024) — Van Andel Institute is expanding its research into the roots of neurodegenerative disease with the recruitment of structural biologist Yang Yang, Ph.D.

As an assistant professor in VAI’s Department of Structural Biology, Yang will leverage the Institute’s state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy and tomography (cryo-EM/ET) suite to illuminate new insights into the factors that give rise to disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

“I am excited to harness the power of advanced cryo-EM/ET to unravel the complex mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” Yang said. “Together, we will push the boundaries of scientific discovery, seeking new insights that will pave the way for innovative new treatments.”

Related: Learn more about Dr. Yang’s research ➔

Yang joins VAI from the prestigious MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, United Kingdom, where she has conducted research as a postdoctoral fellow since 2020. While there, she led several projects to visualize protein filaments associated with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and multiple system atrophy. Her findings revealed key differences between filament types, which inform disease presentation and may be targets for treatment.  

She earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Her doctoral research focused on drug resistance in the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.