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Dr. Yanan Feng is a Senior Research Scientist working at Dr. Stanley N. Cohen’s lab in the Department of Genetics, Stanford University. She earned her PhD degree in the Cancer Biology Program from the Stanford University. For the past few years, her research has been focusing on the functions of a transcription elongation factor SUPT4H1 which is required for the transcription of the expanded nucleotide repeats. Such repeats are present and the cause of many genetic neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s Disease and ALS. Through a high throughput screening which was done at Stanford by her and her colleagues, they discovered a few small molecule compounds which are able to interrupt the interaction between SUPT4H1 and its crucial partner SUPT5H. The interruption results in the defect of the transcription elongation function during RNA polymerase II mediated mRNA transcription. These compounds have the potential to be the therapeutic agents to the above-mentioned neurodegenerative diseases. From 2016 to 2019, she joined a start-up biotech company, Nuredis Inc, aiming to push the candidate compounds toward to clinical trials. In Nuredis, she set up the entire research facility and served as Director in Huntington’s Disease. She led the research team to optimize the lead compounds through Structure Activity Relationship (SAR) efforts and develop various assays for clinical applications. After returning to Stanford, she continues her interest in studying SUPT4H1 and its role in FMR1 gene transcription. The expanded CGG repeats at the 3’UTR of FMR1 is the cause of Fragile X syndrome, Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome, and other ovarian problems.
Senior Research Scientist, Department of Genetics, Dr. Stanley N. Cohen's lab