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
- American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine - Cardiology
Karlin ET, Yang VK, Prabhakar M, Gregorich SL, Hahn S, Rush JE. Extracardiac intrapericardial myxosarcoma causing right ventricular outflow tract obstruction in a dog. J Vet Cardiol. 2018 Feb 27. pii: S1760-2734(17)30185-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jvc.2018.01.004. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29500126.
Yang VK, Tai AK, Huh TP, Meola DM, Juhr CM, Robinson NA, Hoffman AM. Dysregulation of valvular interstitial cell let-7c, miR-17, miR-20a, and miR-30d in naturally occurring canine myxomatous mitral valve disease. PLoS One. 2018 Jan 9;13(1):e0188617. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0188617. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 29315310; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5760013.
Reiner AT, Witwer KW, van Balkom BWM, de Beer J, Brodie C, Corteling RL, Gabrielsson S, Gimona M, Ibrahim AG, de Kleijn D, Lai CP, Lötvall J, Del Portillo HA, Reischl IG, Riazifar M, Salomon C, Tahara H, Toh WS, Wauben MHM, Yang VK, Yang Y, Yeo RWY, Yin H, Giebel B, Rohde E, Lim SK. Concise Review: Developing Best-Practice Models for the Therapeutic Use of Extracellular Vesicles. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2017 Aug;6(8):1730-1739. doi: 10.1002/sctm.17-0055. Epub 2017 Jul 17. Review. PubMed PMID: 28714557; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5689784.
Yang VK, Loughran KA, Meola DM, Juhr CM, Thane KE, Davis AM, Hoffman AM. Circulating exosome microRNA associated with heart failure secondary to myxomatous mitral valve disease in a naturally occurring canine model. J Extracell Vesicles. 2017 Jul 12;6(1):1350088. doi: 10.1080/20013078.2017.1350088. eCollection 2017. PubMed PMID: 28804599; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5533140.
Pierce KV, Rush JE, Freeman LM, Cunningham SM, Yang VK. Association between Survival Time and Changes in NT-proBNP in Cats Treated for Congestive Heart Failure. J Vet Intern Med. 2017 May;31(3):678-684. doi: 10.1111/jvim.14690. Epub 2017 Mar 31. PubMed PMID: 28370373; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5435051.
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
- BSL2 cell culture facility
- Fluorescence microscopes
- Flow cytometers