Research  >  About SRI  >  Scientist Profiles

Scientist profiles S-Z

SRI Profiles

Burton Yang, M.Sc., PhD

Senior scientist

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Ave., Room S1 10
Toronto, ON
M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-6100, ext. 7609

Administrative Assistant: Melanie Suttar (S111A)
416-480-6100, ext. 3536


  • B.Sc., 1982, plant pathology, South China Agricultural University, China
  • M.Sc., 1985, biochemistry of plant virology, South China Agricultural University, China
  • PhD, 1991, microbiology, University of Manitoba, Canada

Appointments and Affiliations:

Research Focus:

  • The role of circular RNAs in tissue remodeling

Research Summary:

Tissue homeostasis refers to the structural and functional maintenance of cell, tissue and organ systems. Perturbations in these systems occur during developmental or pathological processes, coordinating multiple signalling pathways and biological responses. Dr. Yang’s group is studying the roles of circular RNAs, a subclass of non-coding RNAs, in mediating cell activities associated with tissue remodeling and repair. The group has developed unique tools to study circular RNA functions and mechanisms. With these approaches, Dr. Yang’s group has found that tissues from hearts of aged mice expressed increased levels of circ-Foxo3 relative to cardiac tissue from young mice. Their studies show that ectopic expression of circ-Foxo3 inhibited cell cycle progression by binding to p21 and CDK2. They also found that ectopic expression of circ-Foxo3 induced cardiac fibroblast senescence. The group is also studying the roles of circular RNAs in tumorigenesis and angiogenesis.

Selected Publications:

See current publications list at PubMed.

  1. Yang W, Du WW, Li X, Yee AJ, Yang BB. Foxo3 activity promoted by non-coding effects of circular RNA and Foxo3 pseudogene in the inhibition of tumor growth and angiogenesis. Oncogene. 2016 Jul 28;35(30):3919–31.
  2. Du WW, Yang W, Liu E, Yang Z, Dhaliwal P, Yang BB. Foxo3 circular RNA retards cell cycle progression via forming ternary complexes with p21 and CDK2. Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 Apr;44(6):2846–58.
  3. Du WW, Yang W, Chen Y, Wu ZK, Foster FS, Yang Z, Li X, Yang BB. Foxo3 circular RNA regulates senescence by modulating multiple factors associated with stress and senescence responses. European Heart J. 2016 Feb 11.
  4. Rutnam ZJ, Du WW, Yang W, Yang X, Yang BB. Pseudogene TUSC2P promotes TUSC2 function by binding multiple microRNAs. Nature Communications. 2014;5:2914,1–15.
  5. Shan S, Lee DY, Deng Z, Shatseva T, Jeyapalan Z, Du W, Zhang Y, Xuan JW, Yee SP, Siragam V, Yang BB. MicroRNA MiR-17 overexpression retards tissue growth and represses fibronectin expression. Nature Cell Biol. 2009;11(8):1031–1038.

Awards and Honours:

  • 1997–2001, Arthritis Society of Canada Scholarship
  • 2001–2006, Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Award
  • 2006–2011, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Career Investigator Award
  • 2012–2017, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Career Investigator Award

Related News and Stories: