Yanhong Shi, Ph.D.

  • Director, Division of Stem Cell Biology Research
  • Director, Stem Cell Core
  • Professor, Department of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology

Yanhong Shi, Ph.D.

Research Focus :
  • Stem Cell Biology
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Stem cells in neurogenesis and neurological diseases
Dr. Shi is developing stem cell-based “disease in a dish” platform to model neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and leukodystrophy, and establishing drug discovery pipeline for these diseases.
The Shi laboratory is also developing stem cell-based cell therapies for neurological diseases, and creating therapeutic tools for glioblastoma, the most deadly primary brain tumor.
  • Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
  • Division of Stem Cell Biology Research
  • Stem Cell Forum Group


  • Ph.D., Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, The Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA,

Research Areas

  • Project 1: iPSC-based disease modeling, drug discovery and cell therapy development
  • Project 2: Neural stem cell fate determination, neurogenesis and cognition
  • Project 3: Glioblastoma stem cell self-renewal, tumorigenesis and therapeutic development
George Sun, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist
Qiuhao Qu, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist
Staff Scientist
E Tian, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Fay Chao, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Qi Cui, B.S.
Graduate Student

Li Li, M.S.
Graduate Student
Daniel Trinh, B.S.
CIRM student

Murai K, Sun G, Ye P, Tian E, Yang S, Cui Q, Sun Gu, Trinh D, Sun O, Hong T, Wen Z, Kalkum M, Riggs AD, Song H, Ming, G-L, and Shi Y. 2016. The TLX-miR-219 cascade regulates neural stem cell proliferation in neurodevelopment and schizophrenia iPSC model. Nature Communications 7:10965. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10965.

Cui Q, Yang S, Ye P, Tian E, Sun G, Zhou J, Sun Gu, Liu X, Chen C, Murai K, Zhao C, Azizian KT, Warden C, Yang L, Wu X, D'Apuzzo M, Brown C, Badie B, Peng L, Riggs AD, Rossi JJ, and Shi Y. 2016. Downregulation of TLX induces TET3 expression and inhibits glioblastoma stem cell self-renewal and tumorigenesis. Nature Communications 7:10637. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10637.

Islam MM, Smith DK, Niu W, Fang S, Iqbal N, Sun G, Shi Y, and Zhang C-L. 2015. Enhancer analysis unveils genetic interactions between TLX and SOX2 in neural stem cells and in vivo reprogramming. Stem Cell Reports. 5: 805-815.

Fong MY, Zhou W, Liu L, Alontaga AY, Chandra M, Ashby J, Chow A, O’Connor STF, LI S, Chin AR, Somlo G, Palomares M, Li Z, Tremblay JR, Tsuyada A, Sun G, Reid MA, Wu X, Swiderski P, Ren X, Shi Y, Kong M, Zhong W, Chen Y, and Wang SW. 2015. Breast cancer-secreted miR-122 reprograms glucose metabolism in pre-metastatic niche to promote metastasis. Nature Cell Biology. 17: 183-194.

Sun E and Shi Y. 2015. MicroRNAs: small molecules with big roles in neurodevelopment and diseases. Exp Neurology. 268: 46-53.

Murai K, Qu Q, Sun G, Ye P, Li W, Asuelime G, Sun E, Tsai GE, and Shi Y. 2014. Nuclear receptor TLX stimulates hippocampal neurogenesis and enhances learning and memory in a transgenic mouse model. PNAS 111: 9115-9120 (Featured highlight in Nature Review Neurosciences).

Zhang R-R, Cui Q-Y, Murai K, Lim YC, Smith ZD, Jin S, Ye P, Rosa L, Lee YK, Wu H-P, Liu W, Xu Z-M, Yang L, Ding Y-Q, Tang F, Meissner A, Ding C*, Shi Y*, Xu G-L*. 2013. Tet1 regulates adult hippocampal neurogenesis and cognition. Cell Stem Cell 13: 237-245. (*co-corresponding authors).  

Qu Q, Sun G, Murai K, Ye P, Li W, Asuelime G, Cheung K, Shi Y. 2013. Wnt7a regulates multiple steps of neurogenesis. Mol Cell Biol 33: 2551-2559 (Cover, featured highlight).

Zhao C, Sun G, Ye P, Li S, and Shi Y. 2013. MicroRNA let-7d regulates the TLX/microRNA-9 cascade to control neural cell fate and neurogenesis. Scientific Reports 3:1329.

Li W, E T, Chen Z, Sun G, Ye P, Yang S, Lu D, Xie J, Ho T-V, Tsark WM, Horne DA, Riggs AD, Yip MLR, and Shi Y. 2012. Identification of Oct4-activating compounds that enhance reprogramming efficiency. PNAS 109:20853-20858.

Sun G, Li S, Zhang J, Ye P, Murai K, Lang M-F, Yin J, Ma X and Shi Y. 2011. A regulatory network involving nuclear receptor TLX, microRNA miR-137, and histone demethylase LSD1 in neural stem cells. Nature Commun 2:529.

Shi Y, Zhao X, Hsieh J, Wichterle H, Impey S, Banerjee S, Neveu P, Kosik KS. 2010. microRNA regulation of neural stem cells and neurogenesis. J Neuroscience 30: 14931-14936.

Sun G and Shi Y. 2010. Nuclear receptors in stem cells and their therapeutic potential. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 62: 1299-1306.

Zhao C, Sun G, Li S, Lang M-F, Yang S, Li W, and Shi Y. 2010. MicroRNA let-7b regulates neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation by targeting nuclear receptor TLX signaling. PNAS 107: 1876-1881.

Sun G, Alzayady K, Stewart R, Ye P, Yang S, Li W, and Shi Y. 2010. Histone demethylase LSD1 regulates neural stem cell proliferation. Mol Cell Biol 30: 1997-2005.

Qu Q, Sun G, Li W, Yang S, Ye P, Zhao C, Yu RT, Gage FH, Evans RM, Shi Y. 2010. Orphan nuclear receptor TLX activates Wnt/ß-catenin signaling to stimulate neural stem cell proliferation and self-renewal. Nature Cell Biology 12:31-40. Featured in Faculty of 1000.

Zhao C, Sun G, Li S, and Shi Y. 2009. A feedback regulatory loop of microRNA-9 and nuclear receptor TLX in neural stem cell fate determination. Nature Struct Mol Biol 16: 365-371.

Qu Q, Shi Y. 2009. Neural stem cells of the developing and adult brains. J Cell Physiology 221:5-9.

Shi Y. 2008 Induced pluripotent stem cells, new tools for drug discovery and new hope for stem cell therapies. Current Molecular Pharmacology 2: 15-18.

Sun G, Yu RT, Evans RM, and Shi Y. 2007. Orphan Nuclear Receptor TLX Recruits Histone Deacetylases to Repress Transcription and Regulate Neural Stem Cell Proliferation. PNAS 104: 15282-15289; Featured in Leading Edge Neurobiology Select, Cell 131: 197.

Shi Y, Lie DC, Taupin P, Nakashima K, Ray J, Yu RT, Gage FH, and Evans RM. 2004. Expression and function of orphan nuclear receptor TLX in adult neural stem cells. Nature 427: 78-83.

Shi Y, Hon M, Evans RM. 2002. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta, an integrator of transcriptional repression and nuclear receptor signaling. PNAS 99:2613-2618.

Shi Y, Downes M, Xie W, Kao H-Y, Odentlich P, Tsai, C-C, Hon M, and Evans RM. 2001. SHARP, an inducible cofactor that integrates nuclear receptor repression and activation. Genes & Dev 15:1140-1151.

Shi Y, Doucas V, Miyamoto S, West A, Verma I, and Evans RM. 2000. Cytoplasmic Regulation of GR transcription by a RelA-PKAc dependent mechanism. PNAS 97: 11893-11898. (co-first author).

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