Vicky K. Yang - DVM, PhD, DACVIM

Vicky K. Yang
Cardiology, Regenerative Medicine

As a veterinary cardiologist and a researcher in the field of regenerative medicine, Dr. Vicky Yang has a special interest in improving our understanding of the role of epigenetics in canine cardiac disease and the potential therapeutic benefits of regenerative medicine treatments for these diseases.  These treatments would include the use of stem cells, exosomes, and microRNAs.  Dr. Yang and her laboratory team are also interested in developing “liquid biopsies” for canine heart diseases using plasma exosomal microRNA.  Given the similarities between companion animal and human heart diseases, our patients can serve as excellent spontaneous disease models for human cardiac diseases, including heart valve diseases, cardiomyopathies, and arrhythmias.  The knowledge acquired through our veterinary patients can therefore improve our understanding of human heart diseases.  Since joining the Regenerative Medicine Laboratory (RML) at Tufts Cummings School of Medicine in 2013, Dr. Yang and the RML team have developed the technique for canine mitral valve valvular interstitial cell isolation and culture, and cell, whole cardiac tissue, and plasma exosomal microRNA analysis protocols. 

Dr. Vicky Yang also treats heart conditions in dogs, cats, and other animals at the Foster Hospital for Small Animals.  Given Dr. Yang’s duel role as a clinical veterinary cardiologist and basic research scientist, she provides a unique role in bridging the clinical needs with basic science research objectives.


  • DVM – Tufts University, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, 2009
  • PhD – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002
  • SB – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1997

Board Certification

  • American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine - Cardiology
The use of rivaroxaban for the treatment of thrombotic complications in four dogs.Yang VK, Cunningham SM, Rush JE, de Laforcade A.
J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). 2016 Mar 18. doi: 10.1111/vec.12466. [Epub ahead of print]
Assessment of the responsiveness of the Cats' Assessment Tool for Cardiac Health (CATCH) Questionnaire.Rush JE, Roderick KV, Freeman LM, Cunningham SM, Yang VK, Bulmer BJ, Antoon KN.
J Vet Cardiol. 2015 Dec;17 Suppl 1:S341-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jvc.2015.03.006.
Pilot study of a myostatin antagonist in dogs with cardiac cachexia.Freeman LM, Rush JE, Cunningham SM, Yang VK, Bulmer BJ.
J Vet Cardiol. 2015 Sep;17(3):210-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jvc.2015.06.004. Epub 2015 Sep 26.
Congenital cardiac malformation with three-chambered right atrium and a persistent left cranial vena cava in a dog.Yang VK, Nussbaum L, Rush JE, Cunningham SM, MacGregor J, Antoon KN.
J Vet Cardiol. 2015 Mar;17(1):62-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jvc.2014.12.002. Epub 2015 Feb 12.
Mammalian heart renewal by pre-existing cardiomyocytes.Senyo SE, Steinhauser ML, Pizzimenti CL, Yang VK, Cai L, Wang M, Wu TD, Guerquin-Kern JL, Lechene CP, Lee RT.
Nature. 2013 Jan 17;493(7432):433-6. doi: 10.1038/nature11682. Epub 2012 Dec 5.
Comparisons of morphometric measurements and serum insulin-like growth factor concentration in healthy cats and cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.Yang VK, Freeman LM, Rush JE.
Am J Vet Res. 2008 Aug;69(8):1061-6. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.69.8.1061.

General Research Interests

  • Stem cell therapy for cardiovascular diseases
  • Biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases
  • Therapeutic and diagnostic potentials of microRNA in cardiovascular diseases
  • Epigenetics of feline and canine heart diseases

Selected Research Projects

  • Mesenchymal stem cell therapy for canine myxomatous mitral valve disease
  • Plasma exosomal microRNA as biomarker for canine myxomatous mitral valve disease
  • Molecular pathology of canine myxomatous mitral valves disease
  • GDF11 in feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Research and Clinical Interests

  • Heart disease diagnosis and treatment


  • Veterinary cardiology

Major Specialized Equipment

  • Echocardiography
  • BSL2 cell culture facility
  • Fluorescence microscopes
  • RT-qPCR
  • Flow cytometers