Yan Dai, PhD

Assistant Professor, Medicine

Yan Dai
72 E. Concord St Instructional (L)


My research interest is to understand the mechanism of cancer cell growth and metastasis and explore how epigenetic regulation control gene expression including fetal globin gene silencing in sickle cell disease. We have two areas of research interest:
1) Understand the mechanism of cancer cell growth, invasion and metastasis to identify new target in cancer treatment, particularly focus on prostate cancer and breast cancer. We employ two experimental systems including 2-D or 3-D cultured primary and cancer cell lines, as well as mice models integrated with a number of epigenetic, molecular, and cell biology approaches to pursue in our studies. Expertise includes: Orthotopic mouse models of human prostate cancer and human breast cancer; Experimental metastasis mouse model; Human xenograft tumor mouse model; 3D culture of tumor cell growth and invasion; epigenetic regulation (acetylation, methylation and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays), Chromosome conformation capture (3C) assay.

2) Understand the mechanism of controlling fetal hemoglobin gene expression to identify new targets in the sickle cell disease and thalassemia treatment. We used erythroid progenitor cells or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from sickle cell or thalassemia patients and cord blood, to determine the efficacy of small molecules compounds in fetal hemoglobin induction, and determine the mechanism that control locus control region (LCR) looping and transcription complex formation in LCR and fetal hemoglobin promoter.

Other Positions

  • Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Member, Center of Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease, Boston University


  • Beijing Medical University, PhD
  • Hebei University, MS
  • Hebei University, BS


  • Published on 2/7/2020

    Drizik E, Corbett S, Zheng Y, Vermeulen R, Dai Y, Hu W, Ren D, Duan H, Niu Y, Xu J, Fu W, Meliefste K, Zhou B, Zhang X, Yang J, Bassig B, Liu H, Ye M, Liu G, Jia X, Meng T, Bin P, Zhang J, Silverman D, Spira A, Rothman N, Lenburg ME, Lan Q. Transcriptomic changes in the nasal epithelium associated with diesel engine exhaust exposure. Environ Int. 2020 Apr; 137:105506. PMID: 32044442.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/22/2019

    Dai Y, Shaikho EM, Perez J, Wilson CA, Liu LY, White MR, Farrell JJ, Chui DHK, Sebastiani P, Steinberg MH. BCL2L1 is associated with ?-globin gene expression. Blood Adv. 2019 10 22; 3(20):2995-3001. PMID: 31648320.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/1/2018

    Leung A, Zulick E, Skvir N, Vanuytsel K, Morrison TA, Naing ZH, Wang Z, Dai Y, Chui DHK, Steinberg MH, Sherr DH, Murphy GJ. Notch and Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Signaling Impact Definitive Hematopoiesis from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cells. 2018 07; 36(7):1004-1019. PMID: 29569827.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/28/2017

    Dai Y, Chen T, Ijaz H, Cho EH, Steinberg MH. SIRT1 activates the expression of fetal hemoglobin genes. Am J Hematol. 2017 Nov; 92(11):1177-1186. PMID: 28776729.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/18/2016

    Dai Y, Sangerman J, Nouraie M, Faller AD, Oneal P, Rock A, Owoyemi O, Niu X, Nekhai S, Maharaj D, Cui S, Taylor R, Steinberg M, Perrine S. Effects of hydroxyurea on F-cells in sickle cell disease and potential impact of a second fetal globin inducer. Am J Hematol. 2017 Jan; 92(1):E10-E11. PMID: 27766663.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/8/2016

    Cho EH, Dai Y. SIRT1 controls cell proliferation by regulating contact inhibition. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016 Sep 16; 478(2):868-72. PMID: 27514448.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/29/2015

    Boosalis MS, Sangerman JI, White GL, Wolf RF, Shen L, Dai Y, White E, Makala LH, Li B, Pace BS, Nouraie M, Faller DV, Perrine SP. Novel Inducers of Fetal Globin Identified through High Throughput Screening (HTS) Are Active In Vivo in Anemic Baboons and Transgenic Mice. PLoS One. 2015; 10(12):e0144660. PMID: 26713848.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/27/2015

    Dai Y, Sangerman J, Luo HY, Fucharoen S, Chui DH, Faller DV, Perrine SP. Therapeutic fetal-globin inducers reduce transcriptional repression in hemoglobinopathy erythroid progenitors through distinct mechanisms. Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2016 Jan; 56(1):62-9. PMID: 26603726.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/3/2014

    Zhu L, Qi J, Chiao CY, Zhang Q, Porco JA, Faller DV, Dai Y. Identification of a novel polyprenylated acylphloroglucinol-derived SIRT1 inhibitor with cancer-specific anti-proliferative and invasion-suppressing activities. Int J Oncol. 2014 Nov; 45(5):2128-36. PMID: 25189993.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/20/2014

    Zhu L, Chiao CY, Enzer KG, Stankiewicz AJ, Faller DV, Dai Y. SIRT1 inactivation evokes antitumor activities in NSCLC through the tumor suppressor p27. Mol Cancer Res. 2015 Jan; 13(1):41-9. PMID: 25143434.

    Read at: PubMed

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