Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Ludwig Cancer Research congratulates Yang Shi on one of the highest honours in the fields of health and medicine

Ludwig Cancer Research congratulates Yang Shi, a Member of the Oxford Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Professor of Epigenetics at the University of Oxford, on his election to the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (NAM), among the highest honours in the fields of health and medicine. Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the NAM addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine, and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors.  

Shi is recognised for his numerous contributions to epigenetic research, most notably his discovery in 2004 of an enzyme, LSD1, that erases methyl marks from histones, the proteins that help package DNA in the nucleus of the cell. Epigenetic modifications help regulate gene expression and are broadly disordered in cancer. Shi’s discovery overturned a 40-year-old dogma that considered histone methylation irreversible, upending longstanding models of genomic regulation. His lab went on to identify numerous other histone demethylases and described their roles in an array of biological processes. The NAM notes that “his elegant mechanistic discoveries revolutionised the epigenetics field and have had far-reaching impact on basic and translational research.”

Shi’s group has since also identified several enzymes that methylate RNA, which represent new opportunities to investigate RNA modifications in the regulation of gene expression and cancer.

Similar stories

Two new therapeutic targets in tuft cell-like small cell lung cancer

Yang Shi’s group identify two transcriptional co-activators that are selectively important for cancer cell but not normal cell survival.

Insights into the selectivity of an RNA methyltransferase

Research by Professor Yang Shi and colleagues sheds light on the molecular mechanism of N6-adenosine methylation by METTL4, which may be shared by related RNA methyltransferases known to be involved in cancer.