Dr. J Austin Yang is a Program Director in Neurobiology of Aging and Neurodegeneration Branch in the Division of Neuroscience. Dr. Yang received his B.A. from National Taiwan University and earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of California, Irvine, where he also completed his postdoctoral training. He was a tenured faculty member at the University of Southern California and the University of Maryland between 2001 and 2015. His primary research and teaching interests were in using mass spectrometry, bioinformatic and proteomic approaches to address many issues in the areas of protein misfolding diseases and cancer biology. Dr. Yang joined the NIA in 2015 and his primary responsibility is managing and developing research programs on the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Mechanisms underlying the uptake and propagation of pathological protein assemblies, including modulatory factors and receptors, in AD/ADRD.
- Molecular machines, molecules and chemical modifications required for the differential accumulation of various amyloid strains, and functional annotation of cellular and biochemical pathways specifically associated with the self-assembly, propagation and clearance of strains.
- Characterization of amyloid and tau variants by high resolution X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM, solid-phase NMR, and native protein mass spectrometry to identify structural basis underlying toxicity and spreading of misfolded protein aggregates; and novel molecular dynamics or structure-based design approaches to inhibit amyloid or tau specific strain aggregation.
- Understand amyloid and tau strain heterogeneity and patient-to-patient disease variations using strain-specific imaging compounds and antibodies.
- Molecular mechanisms underlying exosome-mediated AD pathogenesis and exosomes as potential multicellular phenotyping tool for AD biomarker discovery.
- Mass spectrometry and computational approaches to study brain single-cell spatial and regional connectivity in human aging and AD.