Moonwalk Team

Yi Zhang, PhD

Professor, Harvard Medical School

Yi Zhang is a Fred Rosen Chair Professor of the Department of Genetics and Department of Pediatrics of the Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. He is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His major interest has been the epigenetic basis of gene expression in early development, stem cell reprogramming and aging, as well as reward-related learning and memory. He is also interested in how dysregulation of epigenetic enzymes contributes to various human diseases including cancer and drug addiction.

Dr. Zhang is a highly accomplished protein biochemist and enzymologist known for his work in identifying and characterizing several classes of epigenetic enzymes that include the nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex, histone methyltransferases (e.g. Ezh2/PRC2, Dot1L), the JmjC-containing histone demethylases, histone H2A ubiquitin E3 ligase PRC1, and the TET family of 5-methylcytosine dioxygenases. In addition to identifying these critical epigenetic enzymes, he contributed to the elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the three classic epigenetic phenomena, Polycomb silencing, genomic imprinting, and X-chromosome inactivation. Importantly, he greatly improved the animal cloning technology by identifying and overcoming two of the most important epigenetic barriers of cloning, as well as helped in developing PRC2/EZH2 inhibitor tazemetostat, an FDA approved cancer drug.

Dr. Zhang is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and was named a Top 10 author of high impact papers in Genetics and Molecular Biology (2002-2006), and one of the most influential scientists in the world by ScienceWatch. He has published over 190 high impact papers with more than 85,000 citations and an H-index of 119.