Carnegie Mellon University
January 25, 2018

CPCB PhD Student Recognized for Research Progress

Yang Yang, CPCB StudentYang Yang, a third-year PhD student in the Joint Carnegie Mellon-University of Pittsburgh Ph.D. Program in Computational Biology (CPCB), joined the  in January 2016 and has been working on computational genomics.  Yang received her B.E. degree in Automation and M.S. degree in Control Science and Engineering both from Tsinghua University in China. In 2015, she joined Dr. Jian Ma’s research group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When Dr. Ma accepted his position with Carnegie Mellon at the beginning of 2016, Yang also transferred to the University.

During her time at CMU, she has been working on new machine learning methods for addressing important questions in genomics. She has published her work in the most important and selective conferences in computational biology. Last year, her first-author paper entitled Exploiting sequence-based features for predicting enhancer-promoter interactions ( was accepted by ISMB 2017. Yang Yang explains, “Our work demonstrates that sequence-based features alone can reliably predict enhancer-promoter interactions genome-wide, which could potentially facilitate the discovery of important sequence determinants for long-range gene regulation.” More recently, she is also the first author of a paper that has been accepted for RECOMB 2018. This work, titled Continuous-trait probabilistic model for comparing multi-species functional genomic data, is exploring the ability to “incorporate the evolutionary affinity between multiple species into a hidden Markov model, and exploits both temporal dependencies encoded in the evolutionary model and the spatial constraints along the genome”, says Yang.  The method proposed in this paper provides a generic framework for comparative analysis of multi-species continuous functional genomic signals to help reveal regions with conserved or lineage specific regulatory roles.

Congratulations to Yang Yang on her recent progress in research!