Dr. Yingfei Wang obtained her Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience at the University of Magdeburg in Germany and completed her postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Currently Dr. Wang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Neurology at UT Southwestern. 

Dr. Wang studies the molecular, cellular and metabolic mechanisms of cell death using in vitro and in vivo models of neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. The current research topics are 1) mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegeneration; 2) ischemic brain injury-, hypoxia- and DNA damage-induced cell death, especially poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) dependent cell death (parthanatos) in neurons as well as cancer cells. PARP-1 is a nuclear enzyme and plays an important role in cell death through a caspase-independent manner after ischemia-reperfusion injury, glutamate excitotoxicity and various inflammatory responses, as well as other neurologic and non-neurologic diseases. We recently identified a novel PARP-1 activity associated nuclease (PAAN) as the executioner of parthanatos (Wang Y., et al. Science, 2016). Our studies have made significant contributions in understanding parthanatos in ischemic brain injury. Currently, our lab is using a combination of tools, including epigenetics, bioinformatics, proteomics and mouse genetics, to understand the cell signaling and regulation of PARP-1 dependent DNA damage and cell death in human cancers as well as neurologic diseases. Our overall goals are to identify novel therapeutic targets and translate the knowledge to prevent neuron loss but enhance cancer cell death.

Research Interest

  • Cell Death
  • Hypoxia and ischemic brain injury
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegeneration
  • Nuclease
  • PARP-1 and DNA Damage


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Honors & Awards

  • NIA R01 grant
  • CPRIT HIHR Award
  • R35 Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award
  • Welch Research Award
  • Darrell K Royal (DKR) Research Award
  • Texas Institute for Brain injury and Repair (TIBIR) Pilot Grant
  • UT Rising Star Award
  • American Heart Association (AHA) National Scientist Development Grant Award
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award (Parent K99/R00)
  • American Heart Association (AHA) Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
  • Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Student Abroad
  • Summa cum laude for Ph.D dissertation
  • German Research Foundation DFG Scholarship

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Member of American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) (2015)
  • Member of American Heart Association (AHA) (2012)
  • Associate Faculty Member of Faculty of 1000 Biology (2011-2012)
  • Member of Society for Neuroscience (2007)