Wan-Yee Tang

Associate Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health


130 DeSoto Street, 4129, Pittsburgh, PA 15621
R-znvy: jng78@cvgg.rqh
Primary Phone: 967-838-8458
Web site:

Personal Statement

My current research focuses on deciphering how environmental pollutants/allergen and dietary factors alter the epigenome via DNA de/methylation and induce chromatin remodeling, leading to complex diseases inlcuding respiratory disorders, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. My lab primarily focus on the investigation of the epigenetic alterations in the development of allergic asthma utilizing an experimental asthma model and state-of-the-art methylation profiling technologies  Our recent work has identified a previously unrecognized role for DNA hydroxymethylation in airway hyperresponsiveness and asthma. 

Results from the epigenetic studies in laboratory can be further validated in populations. For example, many epidemiological studies showed the association between environmental exposure and complex diseases like diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, asthma and cancer. With a team of collaborators, I have extended my work to identify the relationship between the inter-individual epigenetic variations and disease risk using human cohorts. My long-term goal is to apply innovative and promising epigenetic approaches to understand the underlying mechanisms by which epigenetic changes may contribute to common diseases. Our findings may lead to the development of improved preventive measures and therapeutic strategies to reduce the burden of chronic diseases. Also, translating our scientific findings into human may provide proper disease management and lifetime recommendations to the public.


2000  The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong   BSc (Biochemistry)

2004  The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong   PhD (Biochemistry)



Selected Publications

  1. Tang, W.Y.*, Ho, S.*, Belmonte, J. and Prins, G.S. (2006) Developmental exposure to estradiol and bisphenol A increases susceptibility to prostate carcinogenesis and epigenetically regulates phosphodiesterase type 4 variant 4. Cancer Research. 66(11):5624-5632 * co-authorship PMID:16740699.
  2. Tang, W.Y. and Ho, S. (2007) Epigenetic reprogramming and imprinting in origins of disease. Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorder.  8(2):173-82. Review. PMID:17638084.
  3. Tang, W.Y, Newbold, R., Mardilovich, K., Jefferson, W., Cheng, R., Medvedovic, M., and Ho, S. (2008) Persistent hypomethylation in the promoter of nucleosomal binding protein (Nsbp1) correlates with Nsbp1 overexpression in mouse uteri neonatally exposed to diethylstilbestrol or genistein. Endocrinology. 149(12):5922–5931. PMID: 18669593.
  4. Tang, W.Y.*, Perera, F.*, Herbstman, J.B., Tang, D.T., Levin, L., Miller, R. and Ho, S. (2009) Relation of DNA methylaton of 5'-CpG island of ACSL3 to transplacental exposure to airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and childhood asthma. PLoS One. 4(2):e4488. * co-authorship. PMID:19221603.
  5. Tang, W.Y., Morey, L., Cheung, Y.Y., Belmonte, J.,  Prins, G.S., and Ho, S. (2012) Neonatal exposure to 17β-estradiol/bisphenol A alters promoter methylation and expression of Nsbp1 and Hpcal1 genes and transcriptional programs of Dnmt3a/b and Mbd2/4 in the rat prostate gland throughout life. Endocrinology. 153(1):42-55. PMID:22109888.
  6. Tang, W.Y., Levin, L., Talaska, G., Cheung, Y.Y.,  Herbstman, J.B., Miller, R., Perera, F., and Ho, S. (2012) Maternal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is associated with methylation at a 5’-CpG island of interferon-γ in cord white blood cells. Environ Health Perspect. 120(8): 1195–1200. PMC3440069.
  7. Shang, Y., Das, S., Xiao, X., Rabold, R., Mitzner, W. and Tang, W.Y. (2013) Investigation of DNA methylation changes in house-dust-mite (HDM) induced asthma. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 49(2):279-287. PMID:23526225.
  8. Cheng, R.Y.S., Shang, Y. , Limjunyawong, N. , Dao, T., Das, S. , Rabold, R., Sham, J., Mitzner, W. and Tang, W.Y. (2014) Alterations of the lung methylome in allergic airway hyper-responsiveness. Environ Mol Mutagen. 55(3):244-255. PMID:24446183.
  9. Tellez-Plaza, M., Tang, W.Y., Shang, Y. Umans JG., Francesconi, KA., Goessler, W., Pollak, J., Guallar, E., Cole, S., Fallin, D. and Navas-Acien, A. (2014) Global DNA methylation and global DNA hydroxymethylation in a population-based pilot sample from the Strong Heart Study. Environ Health Perspect. 122(9):946-54. PMID 24769358.
  10. Dao, T. , Cheng, R.Y.S., Revelo, P., Mitzner, W., and Tang, W.Y. (2014) Hydroxymethylation as a novel environmental biosensor. Curr Environ Health Rep. 1(1):1-10. Review. PMID:24860723.
  11. Martos, S., Tang, W.Y., and Wang, Z.B. (2015) Elusive inheritance: Transgenerational effects and epigenetic inheritance in human environmental disease. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 118(1-2):44-54. Review. PMID:25792089.
  12. Dao, T., Hong, X., Wang, X. and Tang, W.Y. (2015) Maternal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers and DNA methylation of cord blood metabolism-related genes. PLoS One. 10(9):e0138815. PMID:26406892.
  13. Lin, H.Y., Shang, Y., Mitzner, W., Sham, J.S.K., and Tang, W.Y. (2016) Aberrant DNA Methylation of Phosphodiestarase 4D Alters Airway Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotypes  Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 54(2):241-249. PMID:26181301.
  14. An, S.S., Mitzner, W., Tang, W.Y., Ahn, K., Yoon, A.R., Huang, J., Kilic, O., Yong, H.M., Fahey, J.W., Kumar, S., Biswal, S., Holgate, S.T., Panettieri, R.A., Solway, J. and Liggett, S.B. (2016) An inflammation-independent contraction mechanophenotype of airway smooth muscle in asthma. Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology. 138(1):294-297.e4. PMID: 26936804
  15. Wang, T., Pehrsson, E.C., Purushotham, D., Li, D., Zhuo, X., Zhang, B., Lawson, H.A., Province, M.A., Krapp, C., Lan, Y., Coarfa, C., Katz, T.A., Tang, W.Y., Wang, Z., Biswal, S., Rajagopalan, S., Colacino, J.A., Tsai, Z.T., Sartor, M.A., Neier, K., Dolinoy, D.C., Pinto, J., Hamanaka, R.B., Mutlu, G.M., Patisaul, H.B., Aylor, D.L., Crawford, G.E., Wiltshire,T., Chadwick, L.H., Duncan, C.G., Garton, A.E., McAllister, K.A. Bartolomei, M.S., Walke,r C.L., Tyson, F.L. (2018) The NIEHS TaRGET II Consortium and environmental epigenomics. Nat Biotechnol. 36:225-227. PubMed PMID: 29509741
  16. Zhang, B., Hong, X. , Ji, H. , Tang, W.Y.,  Kimmel, M.,, Ji, Y., Pearson, C., Zuckerman, B., Surkan, P.J. and Wang, X.B. (2018) Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy and Cord Blood DNA Methylation: New Insight on Sex Differences and Effect Modification by Maternal Folate Epigenetics, Epigenetics. 13(5):505-518. PubMed PMID: 29945474
  17. Fink, A.L., Engle, K., Ursin, R.L., Tang, W.Y. and Klein, S.L. Biological sex affects vaccine efficacy and protection against influenza in mice. (2018) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 115(49):12477-12482  PubMed PMID: 30455317.
  18. Sahu, A., Mamiya, H., Shinde, S.N., Cheikhi, A., Winter, L.L., Vo, N.V., Stolz, D., Roginskaya, V., Tang, W.Y, St Croix,  C., Sanders, L.H., Franti, M., Van Houten, B., Rando, T.A., Barchowsky, A. and Ambrosio, F. (2018) Age-related declines in α-Klotho drive progenitor cell mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired muscle regeneration. Nat Commun. 9(1):4859. PubMed PMID: 30451844
  19. Cheikhi, A., Wallace, C., Croix, C.S., Cohen, C., Tang, W.Y., Wipf, P., Benos, P.V., Ambrosio, F. and Barchowsky, A. (2019) Mitochondria are a Substrate of Cellular Memory. Free Radic Biol Med. 130:528-541. PubMed PMID: 30472365.
  20. Wu, Q., Odwin-Dacosta, S., Cao, S., Yager, J.D. and Tang, W. Y.  (2019) Estrogen down regulates COMT transcription via promoter DNA methylation in human breast cancer cells, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 15;367:12-22. PMID: 30684530
  21. Shin, M.K., Pichard, L.E., Caballero Eraso, C., Gu, C., Yeung, B.H., Mu1, Y.P., Wu, Z., Paudel, O., Liu, X.,Shirahata, M., Tang, W.Y., Sham, J.S.K., and Polotsky, V.Y. (2019) Leptin induces hypertension acting on transient receptor potential melastatin 7 (Trpm7) channel in the carotid body, Circ Res. 125(11):989-1002. PMID: 31545149
  22. Yeung, B.H, Huang, J., An, S.S., Solway, J., Mitzner, W., Tang, W.Y. . (2020) Role of Isocitrate Dehydrogenase 2 on DNA Hydroxymethylation in Human Airway Smooth Muscle Cells. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2020 Mar 9. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 32150688. **accompanied by an editorial, Huang S. A Fresh Take on the "TCA" Cycle: TETs, Citrate, and Asthma. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2020 Mar 30. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 32223718
  23. Pulczinski, J., Shang, Y., Dao, T., Limjunyawong, N., Sun, Y., Mitzner, W., Cheng, R.Y.S., and Tang, W.Y. (2021) Multigenerational Epigenetic Regulation of Allergic Diseases: Utilizing an Experimental Dust Mite-Induced Asthma Model. Frontiers in Genetics, accepted by Jan 2021.


Wan-Yee  Tang