Kai Yang

Kai Yang, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics


Dr. Kai Yang joins the Wells Center from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. While at St. Jude, he was a Staff Scientist in the Department of Immunology from 2014-2017 and was a Postdoctoral Fellow from 2009-2014.  Dr. Yang started with the Pediatric Pulmonary Inflammation, Asthma and Allergic Diseases Research Group on October 2, 2017. 

Key Publications

Yang K, Blanco DB, Neale G, Vogel P, Avila J, Clish CB, Wu C, Shrestha S, and Chi H. Homeostatic control of metabolic and functional fitness of Treg cells by LKB1 signaling. Nature 548: 602-606, 2017.

Tan H*, Yang K*, Li Y*, Shaw T*, Wang Y, Blanco DB, Wang X, Cho J, Wang H, Rankin S, Guy C, Peng J, and Chi H (* equal contribution). Integrative proteomics and phosphoproteomics profiling reveals dynamic signaling networks and bioenergetics pathways underlying T cell activation. Immunity 46: 488-503, 2017.

Wei J, Long L, Yang K, Guy C, Shrestha S, Chen Z, Wu C, Vogel P, Neale G, Green DR, and Chi H. Autophagy enforces functional integrity of regulatory T cells by coupling environmental cues and metabolic homeostasis. Nat Immunol. 17: 277-85, 2016.

Shrestha S*, Yang K*, Cliff G, Neale G, Vogel P, and Chi H. (* equal contribution). Treg cells require the phosphatase PTEN to restrain TH1 and TFH cell responses. Nat Immunol. 16: 178-87, 2015.

Shrestha S*, Yang K*, Wei J, Karmaus PW, Neale G, and Chi H (* equal contribution). Tsc1 promotes the differentiation of memory CD8+ T cells via orchestrating the transcriptional and metabolic programs. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 111: 14858-63, 2014.

Yang K and Chi H. Metabolic control of Th17 cell generation and CNS inflammation. J Neurol Neurophysiol. S12: 004, 2014.

Yang K, Shrestha S, Zeng H, Karmaus PW, Neale G, Vogel P, Guertin DA, Lamb RF, and Chi H. T cell exit from quiescence and differentiation into Th2 cells depend on Raptor-mTORC1-mediated metabolic reprogramming. Immunity 39: 1043-56, 2013.

Zeng H, Yang K, Cloer C, Neale G, Vogel P, and Chi H. mTORC1 couples immune signals and metabolic programming to establish Treg-cell function. Nature 499: 485-90, 2013.

Yang K and Chi H. mTOR and metabolic pathways in T cell quiescence and functional activation. Semin Immunol. 24: 421-8, 2012.

Yang K, Neale G, Green DR, He W, and Chi H. The tumor suppressor Tsc1 enforces quiescence of naive T cells to promote immune homeostasis and function. Nat Immunol. 12: 888-97, 2011.

Liu G*, Yang K*, Burns S, Shrestha S, Huang G, and Chi H. (* equal contribution). The S1P1-mTOR axis directs the reciprocal differentiation of TH1 and Treg cells. Nat Immunol. 11: 1047-56, 2010.

Shi HX*, Yang K*, Liu X, Liu XY, Wei B, Shan YF, Zhu LH, and Wang C. (* equal contribution). Positive regulation of interferon regulatory factor 3 activation by Herc5 via ISG15 modification. Mol Cell Biol. 30: 2424-36, 2010.

Yang K, Shi HX, Liu XY, Shan YF, Wei B, Chen S, and Wang C. TRIM21 is essential to sustain IRF3 activation during antiviral response. J Immunol. 182: 3782-92, 2009.

Yang K, Shi X, Qi R, Sun S, Tang Y, Zhang B, and Wang C. Hsp90 Regulates Activation of Interferon Regulatory Factor 3 and TBK-1 Stabilization in Sendai Virus-infected Cells. Mol Biol Cell. 17: 1461-71, 2006.


(317) 278-3606 

Ped-Pulmonary Basic Research
R4 202 PPLB
Indianapolis, IN


Titles & Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Microbiology & Immunology