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.
Associate Professor

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 effective 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. Our overarching goal is to promote population and individual health and wellbeing. For more information, please see Yan Lab research 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 devoted his life to research on exercise and health. He obtained M.S. degree (1991) in Kinesiology under Abram Katz from University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and Ph.D. degree (1995) in Physiology and Cell Biology under Frank W. Booth from University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He received his post-doctoral training (1999) in Molecular Cardiology under R. Sanders Williams 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 started his independent research and was later involved in the establishement of Duke-NUS Graduate School Singapore as a founding faculty (2006) before joining 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 90 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).

Leitner LM, Wilson RJ, Yan Z, Gödecke A. Reactive Oxygen Species/Nitric Oxide Mediated Inter-Organ Communication in Skeletal Muscle Wasting Diseases. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2017 Jan 4; PubMed PMID: 27835923.
Related citations

Laker RC, Taddeo EP, Akhtar YN, Zhang M, Hoehn KL, Yan Z. The Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pore Regulator Cyclophilin D Exhibits Tissue-Specific Control of Metabolic Homeostasis. PLoS One. 2016 Dec 22;11(12):e0167910; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5179060.

Klionsky DJ, et al. Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition). Autophagy. 2016;12(1):1-222. PubMed PMID: 26799652.

Drake JC, Wilson RJ, Yan Z. Molecular mechanisms for mitochondrial adaptation to exercise training in skeletal muscle. FASEB J. 2016;30(1):13-22. PubMed PMID: 26370848.

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 > 100 requests!!


Jan. 1, 2017---Dr. Yan 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. 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".

Dec. 21, 2015---Dr. Yan's proposal for UVA Healthspan Institute has been selected by the Provost's office for a full proposal.

Dec. 14, 2015----Yan Lab Christmas Party at Yan Residence

Dec. 1, 2015----Dr. Yan spoke at Australian Physiological Society 2015 in Hobart, Tasmania

Nov. 75, 2015----Dr. Yan visited and presented at Institute of Sports, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL) in Melbourne.

Nov. 25, 2015----Dr. Yan visited and presented at University of New South Wales in Sydney.

Nov. 2, 2015----Yan Lab hiking at Spy Rock.

Oct. 23, 2015----Dr. Yan presented at The 6th International Conference on Nutrition and Physical Activity 2015 in Taiwan. Dr. Drake presented a poster at the meeting.

Oct. 14, 2015----Congratulations to Dr. Josh Drake for receving ADA Post-Doctoral Fellowship and high impact score on NIH T32 Grant!!