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Yanan Wang, PhD

After finishing master study, financed by a personal grant of Leiden University Fund (LUF) in July 2008, Yanan started her PhD project in August 2008 in the group of Prof. Patrick Rensen, at the Department of Endocrinology of Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, The Netherlands. Her PhD research mainly focused on the implications of incretins (i.e. glucagon-like peptide-1) and novel hypothalamic modulators (i.e. neuropeptide Y) on lipoprotein metabolism and treatment of cardiometabolic disease. During PhD studies, She published 15 papers in highly ranked journals. Also, She received several personal grants and awards, including best LUMC thesis 2014 and best oral presentations at conferences. In 2013, Yanan obtained her PhD degree in Biomedicine cum laude. In the period of December 2012 – November 2013, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Ko Willems van Dijk, at the Department of Human Genetics (LUMC) on the project “Biomarkers for the prediction and early diagnosis of diabetes and diabetes-related cardiovascular complications“ financed by the Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM), and investigated the plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) as a biomarker for hepatic macrophage content (a hallmark of steatohepatitis). Subsequently, She joined the group of Prof. Albert (Bert) Groen at the Department of Pediatrics of Groningen University Medical Center (UMCG) on a FP7 project called RESOLVE focusing on “identifying novel targets for treatment of metabolic syndrome and associated cardiovascular disease using a novel computational modelling approach”, financed by the EU Research Programme. During these postdoctoral periods, as first or last corresponding author, she has published articles in Gut, Hepatology, Diabetologia and Journal of Lipid Research. In 2016, Yanan received a prestigious personal grant, financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NOW-Veni grant). Currently, Yanan Wang is a senior researcher at the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, LUMC, Leiden.
Current research
Yanan Wang’s research focuses on identifying novel targets i.e. gut microbiota and metabolites short chain fatty acid for the treatment of obesity and its comorbidities, including metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and atherosclerosis.
A positive energy balance, which occurs when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, leads to the development of obesity. The prevalence of obesity has been increasing steadily over the past two decades, and obesity is a global health concern. Obesity and its comorbidities, including metabolic syndrome, NASH and cardiovascular disease, are associated with high mortality and morbidity. Obese individuals may have increased appetite and/or reduced energy expenditure, which can be caused by insufficient physical activity and/or impaired brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity. Although several pharmaceutical agents have been approved for the treatment of obesity, the clinical application of these agents for long-term body weight management is hampered due to the high incidence of adverse events. The fundamental approach for the battle against obesity remains lifestyle intervention. In 2018, Yanan et al showed that the short chain fatty acid butyrate prevents diet-induced obesity, hyperinsulinemia, hypertriglyceridemia and hepatic steatosis, thus being a promising strategy to combat obesity and its comorbidities.
Overall, by using APOE*3-Leiden.CETP mice, a well-established translational mouse model for developing human-like diet-induced obesity, dyslipidemia, NASH and metabolic syndrome, Yanan’s research aims to 1) develop butyrate and microbiome-based therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cardiometabolic disorders; 2) study the role of brown adipose tissue in atherosclerosis and NASH development; 3) identify novel targets for the diagnosis and treatment of NASH.

Google Scholar citations
Research
– Role of brown adipose tissue in metabolic health
– Pathology of the Metabolic Syndrome
– Systems biology of the Metabolic Syndrome