Yi Tang

Yi Tang


5531 Boelter Hall

Phone: (310) 825-0375

My research lab is interested in natural product biosynthesis and biocatalysis. In the natural product area, we are interested in elucidating biosynthetic pathways of polyketides, nonribosomal peptides and related compounds. Our goal is to understand the biochemical and structural basis of different enzymes encoded in these pathways. In particular, we are studying the biosynthesis of aromatic polyketides from Streptomyces and iteratively biosynthesized compounds from filamentous fungi. By accumulating biosynthetic knowledge and enzymatic tools, we aim towards the engineered biosynthesis of unnatural natural products through combinatorial biosynthesis.In the biocatalysis area, we build upon our knowledge from the fundamental studies and aim to discover and engineer enzymes that can be used in the synthesis and semisynthesis of pharmaceutical compounds. We have demonstrated the potential of this approach in establishing a biocatalytic approach for making the blockbuster drug simvastatin.My lab has also recently become interested in research at the interface of nanotechnology, biomaterials and drug delivery. In particular, we are conducting research towards the efficient delivery of various biological molecules to cells and model animals for applications in cancer therapy, imaging, vaccination and reprogramming. These nascent efforts are performed in collaboration with various labs.
  1. Winter J.M., Tang Y., “Synthetic biological approaches to natural product biosynthesis,” Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2012 Jan 3. (Epub ahead of print)
  2. Zabala A.O., Cacho R.A., Tang Y., “Protein engineering towards natural product synthesis and diversification,” J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Feb;39(2):227-41. Epub 2011 Oct 18.
  3. Qiao K., Chooi Y.H., Tang Y., “Identification and engineering of the cytochalasin gene cluster from Aspergillus clavatus NRRL 1,” Metab Eng. 2011 Nov;13(6):723-32. Epub 2011 Oct 1.
  4. Pickens L.B., Sawaya M.R., Rasool H., Pashkov I., Yeates T.O., Tang Y., “Structural and biochemical characterization of the salicylyl-acyltranferase SsfX3 from a tetracycline biosynthetic pathway,” J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 2;286(48):41539-51. Epub 2011 Sep 29.
  5. Li Y., Chooi Y.H., Sheng Y., Valentine J.S., Tang Y., “Comparative characterization of fungal anthracenone and naphthacenedione biosynthetic pathways reveals an α-hydroxylation-dependent Claisen-like cyclization catalyzed by a dimanganese thioesterase,” J Am Chem Soc. 2011 Oct 5;133(39):15773-85. Epub 2011 Sep 14.
  6. Gu Z., Biswas A., Zhao M., Tang Y., “Tailoring nanocarriers for intracellular protein delivery,” Chem Soc Rev. 2011 Jul;40(7):3638-55. Epub 2011 May 12. Review.
  7. Zhao M., Biswas A., Hu B., Joo K.I., Wang P., Gu Z., Tang Y., “Redox-responsive nanocapsules for intracellular protein delivery,” Biomaterials. 2011 Aug;32(22):5223-30. Epub 2011 Apr 22.
  8. Joo K.I., Fang Y., Liu Y., Xiao L., Gu Z., Tai A., Lee C.L., Tang Y., Wang P., “Enhanced real-time monitoring of adeno-associated virus trafficking by virus-quantum dot conjugates,” ACS Nano. 201 May 24;5(5):3523-35. Epub 2011 Apr 13.
  9. Qiao K., Zhou H., Xu W., Zhang W., Garg N., Tang Y., “A fungal nonribosomal peptide synthetase module that can synthesize thiopyrazines,” Org Lett. 2011 Apr 1;13(7):1758-61. Epub 2011 Mar 8.
  10. Gu Z., Zhao M., Sheng Y., Bentolila L.A., Tang Y., “Detection of mercury ion by infrared fluorescent protein and its hydrogel-based paper assay,” Anal Chem. 2011 Mar 15;83(6):2324-9. Epub 2011 Feb 16.
  • BSc, Pennsylvania State University, 1997
  • PhD, California Institute of Technology, 2002
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, 2002-2004
  • American Chemical Society (ACS) Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, 2012
  • The Saville Lecturer at Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University, 2011
  • American Chemical Society Division of Biochemical Technology (BIOT) Young Investigator Award, 2011
  • National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Frontiers in Engineering Invitee, 2010
  • Society for Industrial Microbiology (SIM) Young Investigator Award, 2010
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AlChE) Allan P. Colburn Award, 2009
  • Sloan research Fellowship, 2009
  • Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) Concept Award, 2008
  • The Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award, 2008
  • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship, 2007
  • UCLA Faculty Career Development Award, 2007
  • Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), 2006
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2006
  • UCLA AlChE Student Chapter Professor of the Year Award, 2005, 2006
  • American Heart Association National Scientist Development Grant Award, 2005-2009
  • National Research Award, National Institute of Health, 2002-2004
  • Whitaker Graduate Research Fellowship in Biomedical Eningeering, 1997-2002
  • Caltech 10K Business Plan Competition Winner, 2000
  • Constantin Economou Award for Excellency in Graduate Research, 1999
  • Elizabeth and Holmes Memorial Scholarship, 1993-1997
  • Dow Chemical Co. Outstanding Student in Material Science and Engineering, 1995
  • The 1934 Penn State Alumni Scholarship Award, 1995

UCLA Engineering