Innate immunity is essential for host defense against invading pathogens to prevent infectious diseases. Epigenetic modification is extensively involved in modulating biological processes, yet still leaves many gaps in the regulation of infection and innate immunity. It is urgent to find new epigenetic factors and the mechanisms in determining the outcome of host-pathogen interactions so as to develop new target-based immunotherapy for infectious diseases and even cancer.
Dr. Yang Liu has been focusing on RNA modifications in the epigenetic regulation of infection and immunity since her doctoral study, and the findings have been published in peer-reviewed journals including Science. She has identified previously unknown roles of several RNA modifiers and factors in regulating host defense against viral or bacterial infections and also revealed the effect of m6A RNA modification-mediated cellular metabolism rewiring in virus-host interaction for the first time. Her discoveries provide new mechanistic insights into immune regulation at the level of RNA modification, deepening our understanding of innate immune defense and its regulatory patterns. In the field of tumor immunology, she proposed a new concept of the six characteristics of the pre-metastatic niche. In addition, Dr. Liu has been invited to attend the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Physiology or Medicine.
Dr. Liu’s scientific findings shed light on identifying critical molecules in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases, thus providing a theoretical basis as well as potential targets for designing new therapeutic and preventive approaches to control diseases, which have important scientific significance and application value. As the first inventor, she has obtained three patents on the control of viral infections. Dr. Liu is currently screening a small compound library targeting epigenetic regulators to look for potential candidates for developing anti-infectious drugs.