Yan Laboratory
Exercise Physiology

Center for Skeletal Muscle Research
Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center
University of Virginia School of Medicine
409 Lane Road, MR4 - 6041A
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Phone: 434-982-4477
Fax: 434-982-3139
E-mail: zhen.yan@virginia.edu

Welcome to the Yan Lab

Zhen Yan, Ph.D.

Molecular mechanism and health benefits of exercise

Non-communicable diseases, also known as chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, account for more than 60% of the death in America and more than 75% of health care costs. On the other hand, it is undisputed that regular exercise has profound health benefits and is the most powerful intervention in prevention and treatment of these chronic diseases. We employ the state-of-the-art molecular and imaging technologies in a variety of animal models to elucidate the underlying molecular and signaling mechanisms of exercise training-induced adaptations and their impacts on health and disease. For more information, click Projects

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"Live talk show"@1070 WINA; Interviews by NBC29; 1070 WINA, NBC29


Trained as a surgeon in China, Dr. Yan has been devoted to research on exercise and health. He obtained M.S. degree (1991) in Kinesiology from University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and Ph.D. degree (1995) in Physiology and Cell Biology from University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He received his post-doctoral training (1999) in Molecular Cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. After serving as a Lead Scientist (2000-2002) in the Alliance for Cellular Signaling led by Nobel Laureate Alfred Gilman, Dr. Yan moved to Duke University in 2002 and lauched his independent research and was later involved in the establishement of Duke-NUS Graduate School Singapore (2006). Dr. Yan joined Cardiovascular Medicine and the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center at University of Virginia in 2009. Dr. Yan is known for his expertise in animal models of exercise and his research on exercise in health and disease. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Dr. Yan serves on the Organizing Committee for International Biochemistry of Exercise Conference (IBEC) and editorial boards for Journal of Biological Chemistry and American Journal of Physiology.

New publications

(Complete list at NCBI).

Laker RC, Drake JC, Wilson RJ, Lira VA, Lewellen BM, Ryall KA, Fisher CC, Zhang M, Saucerman JJ, Goodyear LJ, Kundu M, Yan Z. Ampk phosphorylation of Ulk1 is required for targeting of mitochondria to lysosomes in exercise-induced mitophagy. Nat Commun (accepted)

Yan Z, Kronemberger A, Blomme J, Call JA, Caster HM, Pereira RO, Zhao H, de Melo VU, Laker RC, Zhang M, Lira VA. Exercise leads to unfavourable cardiac remodelling and enhanced metabolic homeostasis in obese mice with cardiac and skeletal muscle autophagy deficiency. Sci Reports (accepted)

Taddeo EP, Hargett SR, Lahiri S, Nelson ME, Liao JA, Li C, Slack-Davis JK, Tomsig JL, Lynch KR, Yan Z, Harris TE, Hoehn KL. Lysophosphatidic acid counteracts glucagon-induced hepatocyte glucose production via STAT3. Sci Rep. 2017 Dec;7(1):127. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00210-y. Epub 2017 Mar 9. PubMed PMID: 28273928.

Call JA, Wilson RJ, Laker RC, Zhang M, Kundu M, Yan Z. Ulk1-mediated autophagy plays an essential role in mitochondrial remodeling and functional regeneration of skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2017 Mar 29; PubMed PMID: 28356270.

Associated Sites at UVa

Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center (aka CVRC)
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine
Cardiovascular Training Grant (CVTG and Facebook)

Our pMitoTimer deposited at Addgene received 247 requests!!


Jul. 11, 2017---"Exercise leads to unfavourable cardiac remodelling and enhanced metabolic homeostasis in obese mice with cardiac and skeletal muscle autophagy deficiency" by Dr. Lira is accepted by Sci Rept. Congratualtions to Dr. Lira and co-authors! Also congratulations to Dr. Yan for his 100th peer-reviewed publications (which is 100th pending the publication date for these two recent paper)!

Jul. 5, 2017---"AMPK phosphorylation of Ulk1 is required for lysosome targeting of mitochondria in exercise-induced mitophagy" by Drs. Laker and Drake (equal constribution) is accepted by Nat Commun. Congratulations to Drs. Laker and Drake and co-authors!

Jul. 1, 2017---Dr. Yan is promoted to Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Tianjin University of Sport.

Mar. 27, 2017---The Yan Lab received new funding from UVA-AZ Research Alliance on "Small molecule screen in MitoTimer flies and mice for diabetic cardiomyopathy".

Mar. 18, 2017---Dr. Yan chaired the "Healthspan" session at Boao Forum of Biological Sciences in China

Mar. 17, 2017---A new manuscript from the Yan Lab accepted by American Journal of Physiology:Cell Physiology on mitophagy for functional muscle regeneration (First author Dr. Jarrod Call).

Feb. 22, 2017---Dr. Yan gave a Formal Research Seminar entitled:"Exercise-induced mitophagy in skeletal muscle adaptation" at Buck Institute

Feb. 22, 2017---The Yan Lab received new funding from UVA Cancer Center and Public Health (CCPH) for "Combined Endurance and Resistance Exercise on Ovarian Cancer Prevention in Mice"

Jan. 1, 2017---The Yan Lab received new funding from FARA for his research on "Endurance and resistance exercise mitigates Friedreich's ataxia".

Oct. 26, 2016---Dr. Yan presented "Multifaceted interventions for cardiometabolic health" at Oman-UVA symposium featuring "Fostering Health Across the Lifespan: Shared Lessons and Opportunities in Oman and the U.S".

Oct. 3, 2016---Dr. Yan presented "Removal of damaged mitochondria by mitophagy is critical for skeletal muscle remodeling" at Stem Cell and Regeneration 2016 Fall Seminar Series at Cell Biology at UVA.

Sept. 22, 2016---Dr. Yan delivered a talk at The Saltin Symposium on Exercise and Integrative Physiology by Novo Nordisk Foundation in Copenhagen.

Sept. 16, 2016---Yan Lab filed a patent entitled:"Animal Voluntary Weight Lifting Cage Apparatus and Related Methods Thereof".

Sept. 11, 2016---Yan Lab received Blue Flame Award for more than 100 requests for out plasmid deposited at Addgene.

Aug. 26, 2016---Dr. Zhao received Young Investigator Abstract award from FARA to present his work at the 9th Annual Friedreich's Ataxia Symposium in Philadelphia.

Jun. 27, 2016---Dr. Yan spoke at August Krogh Club Symposium in Copenhagen.

Jun. 2, 2016---Dr. Yan spoke at ACSM's 63rd Annual Meeting and 7th World Congress on Exercise is Medicine and World Congress on the Basic Science of Energy Balance in Boston.

Mar. 8, 2016---Dr. Yan featured on the UVA Health Systen Facebook page.

Feb. 18-19, 2016---Dr. Yan co-chaired NIH CMAD study section in San Francisco.

Jan. 11, 2016---Dr. Yan interviewed by UVA Health System.

Jan. 7, 2016---Dr. Yan spoke at Westminster Canterbury on "'Be active and live healthy-Never too early and never too late".