Open Menu Close Menu Open Search Close Search Open Directory Close Directory

Yang Laboratory

About the Lab

The Yang Laboratory at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University investigates the role that epitranscriptomics plays in the development of veterinary cardiovascular diseases, such as canine myxomatous valvular disease, cardiomyopathies, and anti-cancer therapy-associated cardiovascular toxicities, and how manipulation of epitranscriptomics can be used to address these diseases therapeutically. Epitranscriptomics relates to the biochemical modification of RNA (transcriptomes) within the cells that will affect gene expression without changing the actual ribonucleotide sequences. Epitranscriptomic modification can occur via non-coding RNA (ncRNA) such as miRNA.  miRNAs are short ncRNAs that can silence mRNAs and stop the translation of mRNAs into proteins. Our lab specifically focuses on miRNAs contained within extracellular vesicles, i.e., signaling packages produced by normal or diseased cells, which provide information related to the pathologic state of the cells.

Our Long-Term Goals

Our aims are to better understand the pathophysiology of veterinary cardiovascular diseases and disorders, discover therapeutic targets, and apply the knowledge gained from veterinary patients to human diseases.

Patients of veterinarians and physicians both experience similar problems with respect to disease pathology, clinical symptoms, time-course, and patient management. Therefore, spontaneous disease models in veterinary patients (dogs, cats, horses, sheep, goats) are particularly useful to test the biological activity and therapeutic potential of extracellular vesicles. As part of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and as an affiliate of the veterinary hospitals, we are in a unique position to study spontaneous veterinary disease processes and relate these findings to human health.

Laboratory Personnel

  • Vicky Yang, DVM PhD DACVIM (cardiology) – Principal Investigator, Associate Professor, Cardiology Service
  • Pei-Tsz Shin, DVM – Cardiology Research Intern
  • Dawn Meola, BS – Research Assistant, Laboratory Manager
  • Elissa Williams, BS – Research Technician


The Yang Laboratory also provides research support to the Department of Clinical Sciences faculty, trainees and their collaborators. For specific information on resources listed below, call (508) 887-4589.


We are proudly supported by the following organizations and institutions.


Contact Us

Vicky Yang (
Laboratory Manager: Dawn Meola (
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
200 Westboro Road, Building 21
North Grafton, MA 01536


Sirius Red stain
Canine myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD). A normal valve structure is shown in (a), and increased myxomatous pathology is seen a valve leaflet affected by MMVD (b). Sirius Red stain.
αSMA: red; cell nucleus: blue
Low α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) expression is see in normal canine mitral valves (a), while αSMA expression is increased in affected valves (b). αSMA: red; cell nucleus: blue.
blue cell nucleus
Extracellular vesicles stained with CFSE (green) is shown to be taken up by canine mitral valvular interstitial cells during co-culture. Cell nucleus: blue.
histology ventricular wall
Doxorubicin therapy in dogs lead to cardiomyocyte loss with fatty change (a) and cardiomyocyte atrophy (b). Normal left ventricular histology is shown for comparison (c).