Wei Yang, PhD
Professor, US National Institutes of Health
Member of US National Academy of Sciences
Dr. Wei Yang is a Distinguished Investigator at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, where she has been employed since 1995. She was born in Shanghai, China and is a naturalized US citizen. She began her undergraduate studies of biochemistry at Fudan University in Shanghai in 1980 and transferred to SUNY at Stony Brook to complete her B.A. degree. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Columbia University and held postdoctoral fellowships both at Columbia and Yale University. She uses a combination of structural and biochemical methods to elucidate molecular mechanisms underpinning DNA replication, repair and recombination, particularly in ATP mediated and Mg2+ dependent molecular recognition and signaling. In recent years, her research team has discovered that DNA synthesis and RNA degradation reactions are propelled by cation trafficking and require transiently bound Mg2+ and K+ ions that are absent in static structures of enzyme-substrate and enzyme-product complexes. She received the 2011 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award from the Protein Society and 2017 Mildred Cohn Award in Biological Chemistry from ASBMB. Dr. Yang has been an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) since 2013 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) since 2015.