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Burton Yang, M.Sc., PhD

Senior scientist

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

Phone: 416-480-6100 ext. 67609

Administrative Assistant: Melanie Suttar
416-480-6100 ext. 63537


  • 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. Du WW, Yang W, Chen Y, Wu ZK, Foster FS, Yang Z, Li X, and Yang BB (2017). Foxo3 circular RNA regulates senescence by modulating multiple factors associated with stress and senescence responses. European Heart J, 38(18):1402-1412.
  2. Wu N, Yuan Z, Du KY, Fang L, Lyu J, Zhang C, He A, Eshaghi E, Zeng K, Ma J, Du WW, and Yang BB (2019) Translation of Yes-associated Protein (YAP) was antagonized by its circular RNA via suppressing the assembly of the translation initiation machinery. Cell Death and Differentiation, 26(12):2758-2773.
  3. Li F, Yang Q, He AT, Yang BB (2020) Circular RNAs in cancer: limitations in functional studies and diagnostic potential, Seminar in Cancer Biology, Oct 6:S1044-579X(20)30207-8.
  4. He AT, Liu J, Li F, Yang BB (2021) Targeting circular RNA as a therapeutic approach: current strategies and challenges, Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy, 2021 May 21;6(1):185.
  5. Du WW, Xu J, Yang W, Wu N, Li F, Zhou L, Wang S, Li X, He AT, Du KY, Zeng K, Ma J, Lyu J, Zhang C, Zhou C, Maksimovic K, Yang BB (2021) A Neuroligin Isoform Translated by circNlgn Contributes to Cardiac Remodeling, Circulation Research, 129(5):568-582
  6. Misir S, Wu N, Yang BB (2022) Specific Expression and Functions of Circular RNAs. Cell Death and Differentiation, 29(3):481-491. (IF 15.83)

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

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