Yi Tan, Ph.D.

Yi Tan, Ph.D.

Research Biography

Yi Tan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Yi Tan’s lab is focusing on studies related to signaling pathways and therapeutic strategies in diabetic complications including cardiomyopathy, cardiac insulin resistance, stem cell mobilization and ischemic angiogenesis. By using animal models with genetic manipulations and cutting-edge techniques in molecular and cell biology, our research seeks to develop effective strategies for preventing diabetic complications. The study aims to:

  1. explore the pathological role of diabetic hyperglycemia induced oxidative stress in cardiac insulin signaling and energy metabolism (Diabetes; 2009, 58:1391-402);
  2. verify the potential targets such as MT and Nrf2 for prevention of diabetic cardiovascular diseases (Diabetes; 2011; 60: 625-633);
  3. dissect how chronic metabolic stress up-regulation of Ang II/AT1 function in pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases (J Am Coll Cardiol; 2012; 59:1477-1486);
  4. verify P2G, a novel CXCR4 antagonist derived from SDF-1, for clinical application to mobilize endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) for the improvement of ischemic angiogenesis under diabetic conditions (Cardiovascular Research. 2009; 82(3):513-21).

The routine approaches for these studies include molecular cloning, adenovirus-mediated gene silencing or overexpression, gene targeting manipulation, immunohistochemistry, real-time PCR, Western blotting, immunofluorescence, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) isolation, culture, purification and identification from peripheral blood or bone marrow. The rodent models cover gene knock-out or over-expression, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and hind limb ischemia.

Grant Supports

Ongoing grants

01/2013–12/2015           American diabetes Association (1-13-JF-53).

“Promotion of diabetic ischemic angiogenesis by SDF-1βP2G mobilizing and

SDF-1β recruiting endothelial progenitor cells”

Total support: $414,000 ($360,000 for direct//$54,000 for indirect)

Effort: 50%

Role: PI

07/2010 – 04/2014                     Wenzhou Medical College, China

“Collaborative Initiative for Research of Diabetic Complications”

Total support: ¥6,000,000 (equal to $903,000, no indirect cost; this fund is used to purchase diabetes research-related equipment, and provide salary and laboratory cost for the postdoctoral fellows from China to work in Lu Cai’s laboratory)

Effort: 30%

Role: Collaborator (Director & PI: Dr. Lu Cai)

09/2010 – 08/2013              OR090617 from Department of Defense

“Acceleration of the Angiogenesis and Soft Tissue Regeneration for the Hind Limb Complex Wound by a Novel Approach: Combined Use of SDF-1betaP2G with FGF and Zinc”

Total support: $581,086 (388,975 for direct and 192,111 for indirect)

Yearly: $193,700/$192,137/$194,757

Effort: 20%

Role: Key Personnel (PI: Dr. Lu Cai)

Pending grants

03/2014 – 02/2015          Innovative Grants/Pilot and Research Tool Grants from Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, International

“Reducing diabetic nephropathy by mobilizing endothelial progenitor cells with CXCR4 antagonists”

Total direct support: $ 99,983.41

Yearly: $ 99,983.41

Effort: 5%

Role: PI


1997     B. S. in Biology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Ya'an, Sichuan, P.R. China

2000     M.S. in Biology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Ya'an, Sichuan, P.R. China

2004     Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing, P.R. China

2007     Postdoc, Biomedical Center, Ji’nan University, Guangdong, China

2008     Postdoc, Department of Medicine, University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA

2011     Postdoc, Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA


Recent Publications

Wang Z, Huang Y, Cheng Y, Tan Y, Wu F, Wu J, Shi H, Zhang H, Yu X, Gao H, Lin L, Cai J, Zhang J, Li X, Cai L, Xiao J. Endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced neuronal inflammatory response and apoptosis likely plays a key role in the development of diabetic encephalopathy. Oncotarget. 2016 Nov 29;7(48):78455-78472.

Cong W, Niu C, Lv L, Ni M, Ruan D, Chi L, Wang Y, Yu Q, Zhan K, Xuan Y, Wang Y, Tan Y, Wei T, Cai L, Jin L. Metallothionein Prevents Age-Associated Cardiomyopathy via Inhibiting NF-κB Pathway Activation and Associated Nitrative Damage to 2-OGD. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2016 Dec 10;25(17):936-952.

Wu H, Kong L, Cheng Y, Zhang Z, Wang Y, Luo M, Tan Y, Chen X, Miao L, Cai L. Corrigendum to ''Metallothionein plays a prominent role in the prevention of diabetic nephropathy by sulforaphane via up-regulation of Nrf2''  Free Radic Biol Med. 2016 Aug;97:621.

Xu Z, Wang S, Ji H, Zhang Z, Chen J, Tan Y, Wintergerst K, Zheng Y, Sun J, Cai L. Broccoli sprout extract prevents diabetic cardiomyopathy via Nrf2 activation in db/db T2DM mice. Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 26;6:30252.

Chen J, Wang S, Luo M, Zhang Z, Dai X, Kong M, Cai L, Wang Y, Shi B, Tan Y. From the Cover: Zinc Deficiency Worsens and Supplementation Prevents High-Fat Diet Induced Vascular Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Pathological Remodeling. Toxicol Sci. 2016 Sep;153(1):124-36.

Wang S, Luo M, Zhang Z, Gu J, Chen J, Payne KM, Tan Y, Wang Y, Yin X, Zhang X, Liu GC, Wintergerst K, Liu Q, Zheng Y, Cai L. Zinc deficiency exacerbates while zinc supplement attenuates cardiac hypertrophy in high-fat diet-induced obese mice through modulating p38 MAPK-dependent signaling. Toxicol Lett. 2016 Sep 6;258:134-46.

Liu X, Zhang P, Martin RC, Cui G, Wang G, Tan Y, Cai L, Lv G, Li Y. Lack of fibroblast growth factor 21 accelerates metabolic liver injury characterized by steatohepatities in mice.  Am J Cancer Res. 2016 May 1;6(5):1011-25.

Cheng P, Zhang F, Yu L, Lin X, He L, Li X, Lu X, Yan X, Tan Y, Zhang C. Physiological and Pharmacological Roles of FGF21 in Cardiovascular Diseases.  J Diabetes Res. 2016;2016:1540267

Wu H, Kong L, Tan Y, Epstein PN, Zeng J, Gu J, Liang G, Kong M, Chen X, Miao L, Cai L. C66 ameliorates diabetic nephropathy in mice by both upregulating NRF2 function via increase in miR-200a and inhibiting miR-21.  Diabetologia. 2016 Jul;59(7):1558-68.

Luo M, Luo P, Zhang Z, Payne K, Watson S, Wu H, Tan Y, Ding Y, Sun W, Yin X, Zhang X, Liu G, Wintergerst K, Miao L, Cai L. Zinc delays the progression of obesity-related glomerulopathy in mice via down-regulating P38 MAPK-mediated inflammation. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Jun;24(6):1244-56.

Xu J, Zheng S, Kralik PM, Krishnan L, Huang H, Hoying JB, Cai L, Carlson EC, Tan Y, Epstein PN. Diabetes Induced Changes in Podocyte Morphology and Gene Expression Evaluated Using GFP Transgenic Podocytes. Int J Biol Sci. 2016 Jan 1;12(2):210-8.

Cheng Y, Zhang J, Guo W, Li F, Sun W, Chen J, Zhang C, Lu X, Tan Y, Feng W, Fu Y, Liu GC, Xu Z, Cai L. Up-regulation of Nrf2 is involved in FGF21-mediated.  Free Radic Biol Med. 2016 Apr;93:94-109fenofibrate protection against type 1 diabetic nephropathy.

Zhang J, Cheng Y, Gu J, Wang S, Zhou S, Wang Y, Tan Y, Feng W, Fu Y, Mellen N, Cheng R, Ma J, Zhang C, Li Z, Cai L. Fenofibrate increases cardiac autophagy via FGF21/SIRT1 and prevents fibrosis and inflammation in the hearts of Type 1 diabetic mice. Clin Sci (Lond). 2016 Apr;130(8):625-41.

Xin Y, Jiang X, Wang Y, Su X, Sun M, Zhang L, Tan Y, Wintergerst KA, Li Y, Li Y. Insulin-Producing Cells Differentiated from Human Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells In Vitro Ameliorate Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Hyperglycemia. PLoS One. 2016 Jan 12;11(1):e0145838

Dai X, Zeng J, Yan X, Lin Q, Wang K, Chen J, Shen F, Gu X, Wang Y, Chen J, Pan K, Cai L, Wintergerst KA, Tan Y. Sitagliptin-mediated preservation of endothelial progenitor cell function via augmenting autophagy enhances ischaemic angiogenesis in diabetes.  J Cell Mol Med. 2017 Aug 10. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.13296. [Epub ahead of print]

 Zhou S, Yin X, Jin J, Tan Y, Conklin DJ, Xin Y, Zhang Z, Sun W, Cui T, Cai J, Zheng Y, Cai L. Intermittent hypoxia-induced cardiomyopathy and its prevention by Nrf2 and metallothionein.  Free Radic Biol Med. 2017 Aug 2;112:224-239

 Yan X, Dai X, He L, Ling X, Shao M, Zhang C, Wang Y, Xiao J, Cai L, Li X, Tan Y. A Novel CXCR4 antagonist enhances angiogenesis via modifying the ischaemic tissue environment.  J Cell Mol Med. 2017 Apr 4. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.13150. [Epub ahead of print]

 Kong L, Wang Y, Luo M, Tan Y, Cui W, Miao L. Prevention of Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Nephropathy by MG132: Possible Roles of Nrf2 and IκB. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:3671751

 Wang Y, Wu H, Xin Y, Bai Y, Kong L, Tan Y, Liu F, Cai L. Sulforaphane Prevents Angiotensin II-Induced Testicular Cell Death via Activation of NRF2. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:5374897.

 Dai X, Yan X, Zeng J, Chen J, Wang Y, Chen J, Li Y, Barati MT, Wintergerst KA, Pan K, Nystoriak MA, Conklin DJ, Rokosh G, Epstein PN, Li X, Tan Y. Elevating CXCR7 Improves Angiogenic Function of EPCs via Akt/GSK-3β/Fyn-Mediated Nrf2 Activation in Diabetic Limb Ischemia. Circ Res. 2017 Mar 3;120(5):e7-e23.

 Gu J, Cheng Y, Wu H, Kong L, Wang S, Xu Z, Zhang Z, Tan Y, Keller BB, Zhou H, Wang Y, Xu Z, Cai L.  Metallothionein Is Downstream of Nrf2 and Partially Mediates Sulforaphane Prevention of Diabetic Cardiomyopathy.  Diabetes. 2017 Feb;66(2):529-542.

 Carlson EC, Chhoun JM, Grove BD, Laturnus DI, Zheng S, Epstein PN, Tan Y. Renoprotection From Diabetic Complications in OVE Transgenic Mice by Endothelial Cell Specific Overexpression of Metallothionein: A TEM  Stereological Analysis. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2017 Mar;300(3):560-576.