Hiroko Yano, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

The age-dependent dysfunction and progressive loss of selective neurons are key characteristics of neurodegenerative diseases including Huntington’s disease (HD). Despite intensive efforts to identify the molecular mechanisms of neuronal death in HD, no curative treatments are currently available. Transcriptional dysregulation in the brain has been suggested to be a common feature of neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, emerging evidence has highlighted the important role of epigenetic mechanisms in the control of transcription. My laboratory focuses on identifying novel epigenetic pathways that cause changes in histone modifications and aberrant gene expression in HD, using cell and animal models of the disease. The underlying hypothesis is that deregulation of epigenetic mechanisms contributes to neuronal death and dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases. My long-term goal is to develop novel epigenetic-directed therapies to prevent neurodegenerative disease progression.