2001-2006, Ph.D., Molecular Genetics, Duke University
1996-2000, B.S., Cell Biology and Genetics, Peking University
2012/11-present, Principal Investigator, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
2018/11-present, Principal Investigator, PKU-THU Joint Center for Life Sciences
2012/11-2018/11, Young Scholar, PKU-THU Joint Center for Life Sciences
2011-2012, Research associate, Pathology, Stanford University
2006-2011, Postdoctoral Fellow, Pathology, Stanford University
Honors and Awards
2016, Shen Tong Teaching Award, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
2015, Second prize in Junior Faculty Teaching Competition of Peking University
2015, Excellent Teaching Award of Peking University
2006-2007, Dean`s Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University, USA
2005, Keystone Symposium Scholarship, USA
2002-2006, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship, USA
2019-present The Journal of Cell Biology Early Career Advisory Board member
The main research interest of my laboratory focuses on the understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying self-renewal, migration and differentiation of normal and cancer stem cells. Stem cells yield promise for regenerative medicine but also pose huge challenges. It remains uncertain how to inhibit stem-cell-derived tumor formation without harming normal stem cells. It is likewise unclear how directional stem cell migration, a critical step in tissue regeneration, is orchestrated. Using newly-established or previously-unexplored stem cell models in Drosophila, we employ a convergence of fly genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and in vivo imaging to investigate a few fundamental questions: 1) How normal stem cells within a specific tissue are maintained and how to distinguish normal from cancer stem cells? 2) During normal development and upon tissue injury, how guidance cues may be converted into physical movement of stem cells in a timely and directional manner? Since the fundamental principles we unravel using the relatively simple Drosophila stem cell models are likely to be conserved in mammals, our studies promise to provide new insights into anti-cancer therapy and regenerative medicine.
Representative Peer-Reviewed Publications
*corresponding author; #contribute equally
1. Li B.#, Wong C.#, Gao S.M., Zhang R., Sun R., Li Y. and Song Y.* (2018) The retromer complex safeguards against neural progenitor-derived tumorigenesis by regulating Notch receptor trafficking. Elife 2018;7;e38181 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.38181
Press release by Elife: https://elifesciences.org/for-the-press/3d24b574/body-s-own-bomb-squad-can-help-protect-against-brain-tumors
2. Xu K., Liu X., Wang Y., Wong C. and Song Y.* (2018) Temporospatial induction of homeodomain gene cut dictates natural lineage reprogramming. Elife 2018;7:e33934 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.33934
3. Jing M., Zhang P., Wang G., Jiang H., Mesik L., Feng J., Wang S., Looby J., Guagliardo N.A., Langma L.W., Lu J., Zuo Y., Talmage D.A., Role L.W., Barrett P.Q., Zhang L.I., Luo M., Song Y., Zhu J.* and Li Y.* (2018). A genetically-encoded fluorescent acetylcholine indicator for in vitro and in vivo studies. Nature Biotechnology 36:726–737
4. Liu K., Shen D., Shen J., Gao S.M., Li B., Wong C., Feng W. and Song Y.* (2017) The super elongation complex drives neural stem cell fate commitment. Developmental Cell, 40(6), 537-551 [Cover article].
Highlighted in Developmental Cell: Rossi A.M. and Desplan C.* (2017) Asymmetric Notch Amplification to Secure Stem Cell Identity. Developmental Cell, 40(6), 513-514.
Recommended by F1000Prime: https://f1000.com/prime/727458399
5. Liu K., Xu K. and Song Y.* (2019) Faster, Higher, Stronger: Timely and robust cell fate/identity commitment in stem cell lineages. Open Biology, 9: 180243. [Invited review]
6. Wu Y.C., Lee K.S., Song Y., Gehrke S., Lu B.* (2017) The bantam microRNA acts through Numb to exert cell growth control and feedback regulation of Notch in tumor-forming stem cells in the Drosophila brain. PLoS Genetics, 13(5):e1006785.
7. Lee K.S.#, Wu Z.#, Song Y., Mitra S.S., Feroze A.H., Cheshier S.H., Lu B.* (2013) Roles of PINK1, mTORC2, and mitochondria in preserving brain tumor-forming stem cells in a noncanonical Notch signaling pathway. Genes & Development, 27(24):2642-7 [Cover article]
8. Song Y. and Lu B.* (2012) Interaction of Notch signaling modulator Numb with α-Adaptin regulates endocytosis of Notch pathway components and cell fate determination of neural stem cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287(21):17716-28.
9. Ouyang Y.#, Song Y.# and Lu B.* (2011) dp53 restrains ectopic neural stem cell formation in the Drosophila brain in a non-apoptotic mechanism involving Archipelago and Cyclin E. PLoS ONE, 6(11):e28098 (# contribute equally).
10. Song Y. and Lu B.* (2011) Regulation of cell growth by Notch signaling and its differential requirement in normal vs. tumor-forming stem cells in Drosophila. Genes & Development, 25(24):2644-2658.
11. Yu L., Song Y. and Wharton R.P.* (2010) E(nos)/CG4699 required for nanos function in the female germ line of Drosophila. Genesis, 48(3):161-70. [Cover article]
12. Song Y., Fee L., Lee T. and Wharton R.P.* (2007) The molecular chaperone Hsp90 is required for mRNA localization in Drosophila melanogaster embryos. Genetics, 176(4):2213-22.
The Song laboratory recently published an article `The Super Elongation Complex Drives Neural Stem Cell Fate Commitment` as a cover story in Developmental Cell (Volume 40, Issue 6): In Chinese myth, the world was created from the splitting of a cosmic egg into heaven and earth. The giant Pangu ensured their separation by pushing them apart. In this artistic representation, the super elongation complex (SEC, Pangu) translates the initial small differential Notch activity between a neural stem cell (NSC, earth) and its sibling neural progenitor (heaven) into ultimate, differential cell fate outcomes. The SEC thus acts as a fate “amplifier” by forming a self-reinforcing positive feedback loop (clouds) with Notch signaling within the NSC (earth). To learn more about this role for the SEC, please see http://www.cell.com/developmental-cell/fulltext/S1534-5807(17)30118-1.