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Yang Hu, PhD

Assistant Investigator

Periodontitis is an important public health problem among adults in the United States with major economic cost for prevention and treatment. It also has a significant impact on quality of life, un-controlled periodontitis can cause extensive tooth loss, jaw bone deterioration and increased risk of developing systemic diseases. Mounting evidence suggests that inflammation plays a crucial role in periodontitis pathogenesis resulting in un-regulated bone loss. Traditional treatment (antibiotics and mechanical removal of dental plaque) are only transiently effective since they indirectly regulate inflammation, related immune responses and alternation of bone metabolism.

Yang Hu uses animal models and in vitro methods to understand which molecule signaling pathways are major regulators of inflammation in periodontitis and how these pathways crosstalk. His long-term goal is to identify new therapeutic targets and develop novel, noninvasive and sustainable immunological interventions to treat periodontitis. It has been demonstrated that Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors alpha (PPARα) agonists have robust protective actions that limit inflammation in autoimmune disease, modulating inflammation through multiple pathways. Hu investigates the function of PPARα signaling in inflammation and bone loss in periodontitis and is working to build an optimized nanoparticle application system for PPARα agonists to achieve sustained release with noninvasive local delivery for the treatment of periodontitis.

Hu is also interested in signaling pathways including Wnt signaling and Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling in inflammation and autoimmune diseases such as Uveitis, Multiple sclerosis, and on the interactions of B cells, T cells and neutrophils in these diseases. He has intensive experiences in the study of immune-related inflammation in diabetes complications such as diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy and in age-related neuron degenerations. 

Areas of Research Expertise

Bone resorption
Immune signaling pathways involved in inflammation
Immune cells interactions
Uveitis, Multiple sclerosis, diabetic retinopathy


Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, BS, 1998, Electric Engineering
Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, MS, 2001, Electric Engineering
University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, OK, PhD, 2013, Physiology

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