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Jing Yang, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmacology and Pediatrics

Research Interests

Tumor metastasis is a complex, multi-step process by which cancer cells spread from a primary site to distant organs and establish secondary tumors. Our long-term research goal is to elucidate the molecular basis of tumor metastasis and to identify new targets for anti-metastasis therapy. Dr. Yang's laboratory is using functional genomics, cellular and molecular biology approaches in cell culture, and mouse tumor models to uncover the genes and the signaling pathways responsible for tumor metastasis. Our ongoing research demonstrates a critical role of the Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) program in tumor metastasis.

Our current research focuses on the following directions.

  1. Dissect the mechanotransduction pathway that links tissue rigidity to breast cancer invasion and metastasis.
  2. Regulation of breast cancer metastasis dormancy by immune cells and stroma factors.
  3. The Role of invadopodia in promoting matrix degradation and tumor metastasis.
  4. Regulation of EMT and tumor metastasis by epithelial polarity.


Selected Publications

Eckert MA, Lwin TM, Chang AT, Kim J, Danis E, Ohno-Machado L, and Yang J. (2011) Twist1-inudced invadopodia formation promotes tumor metastasis. Cancer Cell. 19(3): 372-86.

Tsai JH, Donaher JL, Murphy D, Chau, and Yang J. (2012) Spatiotemporal regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition is essential for squamous cell carcinoma metastasis. Cancer Cell. 22(6): 725-36.

Wei SC, Fattet L, Tsai JH, Guo Y, Pai VH, Majecki HE, Chen AC, Sah RL, Taylor SS, Engler AJ, Yang J. (2015) Matrix stiffness drives Epithelial- Mesenchymal Transition and tumor metastasis via a Twist1-G3BP2 mechanotransduction pathway. Nature Cell Biology. 17(5): 678-688.

Jung HY, Fattet L, Tsai JH, Kajimoto T, Chang Q, Newton AC, and Yang J. (2019) Apical-basal polarity inhibits Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and tumour metastasis by PAR complex-mediated SNAI1 degradation. Nature Cell Biology. 21 (3): 359–371.

Fattet L, Jung HY, Matsumoto MW, Aubol BE, Kumar A, Adams JA, Chen A, Sah R, Engler AJ, Pasquale E, and Yang J. (2020) Matrix rigidity controls epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity and tumor metastasis via a mechanoresponsive EPHA2/LYN complex. Developmental Cell. 54 (3): 302-316.

Yang J. et al. (2020) Guidelines and definitions for research on epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 21, 341-352.



Cancer Biology
Immunology, Inflammation, & Infectious Diseases


Signaling & Molecular Pharmacology
Integrative Multi-omics Program


(858) 534-1994


UCSD Profile
Yang Lab