The general goal of my research is to understand molecular mechanisms underlying the specification of cell types and developing methods to alter the fates of cells in vitro and in vivo.
We recently discovered that small RNA molecules, microRNAs, could promote generation of post-mitotic neurons by demonstrating that expression of neuron-specific microRNAs and neural factors in non-neuronal cell types could directly reprogram their cell fates into functional neurons.
We currently aim to:
- Develop tissue culture models of neurological diseases using patient-specific neurons and study cell autonomous properties associated with disease states in induced neurons
- Identify molecular mechanisms underlying the neurogenic activity of neuron-specific microRNAs
We will use multiple interdisciplinary approaches (including molecular genetics, genomics and biochemistry) to delineate how these microRNAs promote neuronal fates.
Education and Training
2011 – Postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University, CA, Chromatin biology and cell fate reprogramming
2005 – Ph.D. Columbia University, NY, Cellular, Molecular and Biophysical Studies
1998 – M.Sc. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Experimental Medicine (Neurology)
1995 – B.Sc. McGill University, Montreal, PQ, Canada, Physiology (with focus on Neurophysiology)
August 2018 – present – Associate Professor, Department Developmental Biology, Washington University School of Medicine
August 2011 – 2018 – Assistant Professor, Department Developmental Biology, Washington University School of Medicine
Honors and Awards
WUSM Distinguished Investigator Award, 2018
Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers (PECASE), 2013
NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, 2012-2017
Ellison Medical Foundation New Investigator in Aging Award, 2012-2016
Mallinckrodt Foundation New Investigator Award, 2011-2013
Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship, 2007-2010
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postgraduate Award (for tenure at universities outside Canada), 2001-2003
Honors in Neurophysiology, McGill University, 1995
- Lee, S.W., Oh, Y.M., Lu, Y.L., Kim, W.K., Yoo, A.S. (2018). MicroRNAs Overcome Cell Fate Barrier by Reducing EZH2-Controlled REST Stability during Neuronal Conversion of Human Adult Fibroblasts. Dev. Cell 46(1):73-84.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2018.06.007.
- McCoy, M.J.^, Paul, A.J.^, Victor, M.B., Richner, M., Gabel, H.W., Gong, H., Yoo, A.S.*, Ahn, T.H.* (2018). LONGO: an R package for interactive gene length dependent analysis for neuronal identity. Bioinformatics 34(13):i422-i428. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bty243. *: co-corresponding authors, ^: co-first authors
- Victor, M.B., Richner, M., Olsen, H.E., Lee, S.W., Monteys, A.M., Ma, C., Huh, C.J., Zhang, B., Davidson, B.L., Yang, X.W., Yoo, A.S. (2018). Striatal neurons directly converted from Huntington’s disease patient fibroblasts recapitulate age-associated disease phenotypes. Nature Neuroscience 3:341-352 doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0075-7.
- Abernathy, D.G.*, Kim, W.K.*, McCoy, M.J.*, Lake, A.M., Ouwenga, R., Lee, S.W., Xing, X., Li, D., Lee, H.J., Heuckeroth, R.O., Dougherty, J.D., Wang, T., Yoo, A.S. (2017). MicroRNAs Induce a Permissive Chromatin Environment that Enables Neuronal Subtype-Specific Reprogramming of Adult Human Fibroblasts. Cell Stem Cell 21, 332-348. *: co-first authors
- Huh, C.J., Zhang, B, Victor, M.B., Dahiya, S., Batista, L.F., Horvath, S., and Yoo, A.S. (2016). Maintenance of age in human neurons generated by microRNA-based neuronal conversion of fibroblasts. eLife 5:e18648.
- Richner, M.*, Victor, M.B.*, Liu, Y., Abernathy, D., and Yoo, A.S. (2015). MicroRNA-based conversion of human fibroblasts into striatal medium spiny neurons. Nature Protocols 10, 1543-1555. *: co-first authors
- Victor, M.B.*, Richner, M.*, Hermanstyne, T.O., Ransdell, J.O., Sobieski, C., Deng, P.Y., Klyachko, V.A., Nerbonne, J.M., Yoo, A.S. (2014). Generation of human striatal neurons by microRNA-dependent direct conversion of fibroblasts. Neuron 84, 311-323. *: co-first authors [Featured in Neuron Best of 2014-2015]
- Yoo, A.S.*, Sun, A.X., Li, L., Shcheglovitov, A., Portmann, T., Li, Y., Lee-Messer, C., Dolmetsch, R.E., Tsien, R.W., and Crabtree, G.R.* (2011). MicroRNA-mediated conversion of human fibroblasts to neurons. Nature 476, 228-231. *: corresponding authors
- Yoo, A.S., Staahl, B.T., Chen, L., and Crabtree, G.R. (2009). MicroRNA-mediated switching of chromatin-remodelling complexes in neural development. Nature 460, 642-646.
- Yoo, A.S., and Greenwald, I. (2005). LIN-12/Notch activation leads to microRNA-mediated down-regulation of Vav in C. elegans. Science 310, 1330-1333.
- Yoo, A.S., Bais, C., and Greenwald, I. (2004). Crosstalk between the EGFR and LIN-12/Notch pathways in C. elegans vulval development. Science 303, 663-666.
- Yu, H., Yoo, A.S.*, and Greenwald, I. (2004). Cluster Analyzer for Transcription Sites (CATS): a C++-based program for identifying clustered transcription factor binding sites. Bioinformatics 20, 1198-1200. *: corresponding author
- Yoo, A.S., Cheng, I., Chung, S., Grenfell, T.Z., Lee, H., Pack-Chung, E., Handler, M., Shen, J., Xia, W., Tesco, G., et al. (2000). Presenilin-mediated modulation of capacitative calcium entry. Neuron 27, 561-572.