Hongwei Yao, Ph.D.

Hongwei Yao, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box EHSC
Rochester, NY 14642

Lab: (585) 273-2843

Professional Bio

M.D. 1997 (Anhui Medical University, China)
Ph.D. 2003 (Anhui Medical University, China)

Research Bio

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth most common cause of death in the United States, and approximately 1 in 20 deaths in the United States had COPD documented as the underlying cause in 2005. Excess health-care expenditures are estimated at nearly $6,000 annually for every COPD patient in the United States. Cigarette smoke is a major risk factor for the development of COPD, and it accounts for at least 75% of COPD deaths. No currently available drug therapy reduces the relentless progression of COPD, which is due to lack of understanding of molecular mechanism for the inflammatory and destructive processes in lungs of this disease.

Oxidative stress/cigarette smoke-induced lung inflammation and underlying mechanisms in pathogenesis of COPD are my current research interests. The aim of this research is to understand how environmental and (epi)genetic factors interact to cause inflammation and its associated processes, such as cellular senescence/aging, in the lungs. New directions (e.g. autoimmunity and skeletal muscle dysfunction) in oxidative stress-induced lung inflammation and injury are my future research interests. The long-term goal is to study the pathophysiological mechanisms for COPD as well as the potential targets of therapeutic interventions in this debilitating disease.

Awards & Honors (Local)

Bursary and invitation for oral presentation | 8th European Respiratory Society (ERS) Lung Science Conference | Estoril, Portugal 2010
Provincial Natural Science and Technology Progress Award (Third class) | Dept. of Science and Technology | Anhui Province in China 2008
Servier Young Investigator Award in Pharmacology | The Chinese Pharmacological Society | The Institut de Recherches Internationales Servier (France) 2004
Excellent Paper Award in Natural Science | Anhui Province in China 2003

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 39 available »

2015 Mar 19
Ahmad T, Sundar IK, Lerner CA, Gerloff J, Tormos AM, Yao H, Rahman I. "Impaired mitophagy leads to cigarette smoke stress-induced cellular senescence: Implications for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2015 Mar 19; Epub 2015 Mar 19.
Lerner CA, Sundar IK, Yao H, Gerloff J, Ossip DJ, McIntosh S, Robinson R, Rahman I. "Vapors produced by electronic cigarettes and e-juices with flavorings induce toxicity, oxidative stress, and inflammatory response in lung epithelial cells and in mouse lung." PloS one. 2015 10(2):e0116732. Epub 2015 Feb 06.
2014 May 1
Yao H, Sundar IK, Ahmad T, Lerner C, Gerloff J, Friedman AE, Phipps RP, Sime PJ, McBurney MW, Guarente LP, Rahman I. "SIRT1 protects against cigarette smoke-induced lung oxidative stress via a FOXO3-dependent mechanism." American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology. 2014 May 1; 306(9):L816-28. Epub 2014 Mar 14.
2014 Jan
Hwang JW, Sundar IK, Yao H, Sellix MT, Rahman I. "Circadian clock function is disrupted by environmental tobacco/cigarette smoke, leading to lung inflammation and injury via a SIRT1-BMAL1 pathway." FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2014 Jan; 28(1):176-94. Epub 2013 Sep 11.
Sundar IK, Yao H, Huang Y, Lyda E, Sime PJ, Sellix MT, Rahman I. "Serotonin and corticosterone rhythms in mice exposed to cigarette smoke and in patients with COPD: implication for COPD-associated neuropathogenesis." PloS one. 2014 9(2):e87999. Epub 2014 Feb 10.

Current Appointments

Research Assistant Professor - Department of Environmental Medicine (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Medicine | China - Anhui Medical Univ2003
BMSc | Medicine | China - Anhui Medical Univ1997

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Postdoctoral Fellow: Lung Biology & Disease Program and Department of Environmental Medicine. University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester NY. Advisor: Irfan Rahman, Ph.D. 2010