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Yongqiang Feng, PhD
Yongqiang Feng, PhD

Yongqiang Feng, PhD

Associate Member, St. Jude Faculty



PhD - Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Postdoctoral Fellow - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Honors & Awards

  • 2016  MSK Postdoctoral Researcher Award
  • 2011-2013  Bristol-Myers Squibb/Irvington Institute Fellowship

Research Interests

  • Epigenetic and transcriptional control of regulatory T cell lineage specification and function
  • Mechanisms governing regulatory T cell stability and plasticity  
  • Development of new tools and analytical platforms to investigate T cell tolerance

The pleiotropic roles of the adaptive immune system in immunity, tolerance and tissue homeostasis rely on the proper behavior of highly specialized lymphocytes. The differentiation and function of these cells are controlled by distinct transcriptional and epigenetic programs. The Feng laboratory uses cutting-edge technologies and innovative approaches to explore the fundamental principles governing cellular identities and function of T cells at the genetic, molecular and cellular level in a variety of immunological settings, including autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Selected Publications

Bai L, Hao X, Keith J, Feng Y. DNA Methylation in Regulatory T Cell Differentiation and Function: Challenges and Opportunities. Biomolecules 12, 2022. 10.3390/biom12091282

Li J, Xu B, He M, Zong X, Cunningham T, Sha C, Fan Y, Cross R, Hanna JH, Feng Y. Control of Foxp3 induction and maintenance by sequential histone acetylation and DNA demethylation. Cell reports 37(11):110124, 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.110124. PubMed PMID: 34910919. 

Hu W, Wang ZM, Feng Y, Schizas M, Hoyos BE, van der Veeken J, Verter JG, Bou-Puerto R, Rudensky AY. Regulatory T cells function in established systemic inflammation and reverse fatal autoimmunity. Nat Immunol 22:1163-1174, 2021.

Zong X, Hao X, Xu B, Crawford JC, Wright S, Li J, Zhang Y, Bai L, He M, Jiang M, Fan Y, Connelly JP, Pruett-Miller SM, Berns H, Janke L, Li C, Feng Y. Foxp3 enhancers synergize to maximize regulatory T cell suppressive capacity. J Exp Med 218(8), 2021. Epub June 5, 2021. doi: 10.1084/jem.20202415. PubMed PMID: 34086055.

Dikiy S, Li J, Bai L, Jiang M, Janke L, Zong X, Hao X, Hoyos B, Wang ZM, Xu B, Fan Y, Rudensky AY, Feng Y. A distal Foxp3 enhancer enables interleukin-2 dependent thymic Treg cell lineage commitment for robust immune tolerance. Immunity Apr 6:S1074-7613(21)00132-1, 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2021.03.020. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33838102.

Hemmers S, Schizas M, Azizi E, Dikiy S, Zhong Y, Feng Y, Altan-Bonnet G, Rudensky AY. IL-2 production by self-reactive CD4 thymocytes scales regulatory T cell generation in the thymus. J Exp Med Epub Aug 23, 2019. doi: 10.1084/jem.  20190993. 

Shi H, Liu C, Tan H, Li Y, Nguyen TM, Dhungana Y, Guy C, Vogel P, Neale G, Rankin S, Feng Y, Peng J, Tao W, Chi H. Hippo Kinases Mst1 and Mst2 Sense and Amplify IL-2R-STAT5 Signaling in Regulatory T Cells to Establish Stable Regulatory Activity. Immunity 49(5):899-914, 2018.

Chinen T, Kannan AK, Levine AG, Fan X, Klein U, Zheng Y, Gasteiger G, Feng Y, Fontenot JD, Rudensky AY. An essential role for the IL-2 receptor in Treg cell function. Nat Immunol 17:1322-1333, 2016.

Feng Y, van der Veeken J, Osmanbeyoglu HU, Dikiy S, Hoyos BE, Treuting P, Leslie CS, Rudensky AY. A mechanism for expansion of regulatory T-cell repertoire and its role in self-tolerance. Nature 528:132-136, 2015.

Feng Y, Rudensky AY. DNA methylation secures CD4+ and CD8+ T cell lineage borders. Nat Immunol 16:681-683, 2015.

Feng Y, Arvey A, Chinen T, van der Veeken J, Gasteiger G, Rudensky AY. Control of the inheritance of regulatory T cell identity by a cis element in the Foxp3 locus. Cell 158:749-763, 2014.

Arvey A, van der Veeken J, Samstein RM, Feng Y. Stamatoyannopoulos, J.A., and Rudensky, A.Y. Inflammation-induced repression of chromatin bound by the transcription factor Foxp3 in regulatory T cells. Nat Immunol 15:580-587, 2014.

Pan G, Feng Y, Ambegaonkar AA, Sun G, Huff M, Rauskolb C, Irvine KD. Signal transduction by the Fat cytoplasmic domain. Development 140:831-842, 2013.

Ambegaonkar AA, Pan G, Mani M, Feng Y, Irvine KD. Propagation of dachsous-fat planar cell polarity. Curr Biol 22:1302-8, 2012.

Feng Y, Irvine KD. Processing and phosphorylation of the Fat receptor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106:11989-11994, 2009.

Feng Y, Irvine KD. Fat and expanded act in parallel to regulate growth through warts. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:20362-20367, 2007.

Cho E*, Feng Y*, Rauskolb C, Maitra S, Fehon R, Irvine KD. Delineation of a Fat tumor suppressor pathway. Nat Genet 38:1142-1150, 2006. (*Contributed equally).

Last update: October 2022