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Winnie Tang, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E7545
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


Tang's Lab website:
Tang's Bibliography:


PhD, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2004


In the past, susceptibility of disease was believed to be determined solely by gene mutations, deletions, gene fusion, tandem duplications, or gene amplifications causing dysregulation of gene expression that underlies the genesis of disease. However, it has recently become clear that epigenetic disruption of gene expression plays an equally important role in the development of disease. Epigenetic reprogramming becomes one of the determinant of origins of human disease as there is a relatively long gestation, a period of postnatal and perhaps life-time allow for prolonged interactions with the environment including hypo- or hyper-nourishment, infection, hormonal, drug, or toxin exposures.

My current research focuses on deciphering how environmental pollutants/allergen and dietary factors alter the epigenome via DNA de/methylation and induce chromatin remodeling, leading to cancer or other common diseases like asthma and cardiovascular disease. 

Results from the epigenetic studies in laboratory can be further validated in populations. For example, many epidemiological studies showed the association between environmental exposure and complex diseases like type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, asthma and cancer. It is believed that genes altered by environment may be “transmitted” to next generation via epigenetic alteration. Therefore, my ultimate goal is translating my epigenetic studies to human population studies.  It helps to improve the use of the diagnostic technologies and establishes new pharmacological approach for the diseases.

Honors and Awards

2012-2013 Faculty Innovation Award, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

2008-2013 Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)                      

2006-2008 Postdoctoral Trainee Award, Prostate Cancer Research Program, Department of Defense

  • Epigenetic Reprogramming in Development and Disease
  • Epigenetic Epidemiology
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Hydroxymethylation
  • Transgenerational Inheritance
  • House Dust Mite
  • Airborne PAHs
  • Arsenic
  • Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
  • Asthma
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cancer
  • Research Articles (Epigenetics and Asthma)

    1. Lin, H.Y., Shang, Y., Mitzner, W., Sham, J.S.K., and Tang, W.Y.(2015) Epigenetic modulation of asthmatic diseased-airway smooth muscle phenotypes. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. In press.
    2. Cheng, R.Y.S., Shang, Y., Limjunyawong, N., Dao, T., Das, S., Rabold, R., Sham, J., Mitnzer, W and Tang, W.Y. (2014) Alterations of the Lung Methylome in Allergic Airway Hyperresponsiveness. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, 2014 Apr;55(3):244-55 
    3. Shang, Y., Das, S., Rabold, R., Sham, JSK., Mitzner, W. and Tang, W.Y. (2013). Investigation of DNA Methylation Changes in House-dust-mite (HDM) Induced Asthma.Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013 Aug;49(2):279-87. PubMed PMID: 23526225. 
    4. Tang, W.Y., Levin, L., Talaska, G., Cheung, Y.Y.,  Herbstman, J.B., Miller, R., Perera, F., and Ho, S. (2012) Maternal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is associated with methylation at a 5’-CpG island of interferon-γ in cord white blood cells. Environ Health Perspect. Aug 2012; 120(8): 1195–1200. PMCID: PMC3440069.
    5. Perera, F.*, Tang, W.Y.* ,Herbstman, J.B., Tang, D.T., Levin, L., Miller, R. and Ho, S. (2009) Relation of DNA Methylaton of 5'-CpG island of ACSL3 to Transplacental Exposure to Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Childhood Asthma.  PLoS-One. Feb; 4(2). * Co-first authorship. PMID:19221603.
  • Research Articles (Epigenetics and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals)

    1. Dao, T., Hong, XM. Wang XB., Tang, WY. (2015) Aberrant 5'-CpG methylation of cord blood TNFα associated with maternal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers. PLoS ONE, in press
    2. Tellez-Plaza, M., Tang, W.Y.,  Shang, Y., Umans JG., Francesconi, KA., Goessler, W., Pollak, J., Guallar, E., Cole, S.,  Fallin, D., Navas-Acien, A. (2014) Association of Global DNA Methylation and Global DNA Hydroxymethylation with Metals and other Exposures in Human Blood DNA Samples. Environ Health Perspect. 2014 Sep;122(9):946-54.
    3. Gribble, M., Tang, W.Y., Shang, Y., Pollak, J., Umans, J., Francesconi, K.A., Goessler, W., Silbergeld, E.K, Guallar,E., Cole, S., Fallin, D., and Navas-Acien, A. (2014). Differential Methylation of the Arsenic (III) Methyltransferase Promoter According to Arsenic Exposure: Preliminary Evidence from the Strong Heart Study.Arch Toxicol. Arch Toxicol. 2014 Feb;88(2):275-82.
    4. Tang, W.Y., Morey L, Cheung Y.Y., Belmonte, J, Prins, G.S., and Ho, S. (2012) Neonatal exposure to 17β-estradiol/bisphenol A alters promoter methylation and expression of Nsbp1 and Hpcal1 genes and transcriptional programs of Dnmt3a/b and Mbd2/4 in the rat prostate gland throughout life. Endocrinolgy, Jan 2012;153(1):42-55. PMID:22109888.
    5. Tang, W.Y, Newbold, R., Mardilovich, K, Jefferson, W, Cheng, R, Medvedovic M., and Ho, S. (2008) Persistent hypomethylation in the promoter of nucleosomal binding protein (Nsbp1) correlates with Nsbp1 overexpression in mouse uteri neonatally exposed to diethylstilbestrol or genistein. Endocrinology July; 149(12):5922–5931. PMID:18669593.
    6. Ho, S.*, Tang, W.Y.*, Belmonte, J. and Prins, G.S. (2006) Developmental exposure to estradiol and bisphenol A increases susceptibility to prostate carcinogenesis and epigenetically regulates phosphodiesterase type 4 variant 4, Cancer Research. 2006 June 66(11):5624-5632 * co-first authorship PMID:16740699
  • Review and Book Chapter (Epigenetics):

    1. Shirahata, M., Tang, WY., Kostuk, EW. (2015) A Short-Term Fasting in Neonates Induces Breathing Instability and Epigenetic Modification in the Carotid Body. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015;860:187-93. PubMed PMID: 26303480. Book Chapter edited by Chris Peers and Nanduri Prabhakar, The Springer International Publishing AG.
    2. Ruiz-Hernandez, A., Kuo, C., Rentero-Garrido, P., Tang, W.Y., Redon,  J., Ordovas, J.M., Navas-Acien, A. and Tellez-Plaza, M. (2015) Environmental Chemicals and DNA Methylation in Adults: a Systematic Review of the Epidemiologic Evidence. Clinical Epigenetics.  In press.
    3. Martos, S.N., Tang, W.Y., Wang, Z. (2015) Elusive inheritance: Transgenerational effects and epigenetic inheritance in human environmental disease. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. Mar 16. [Epub ahead of print] Review. 
    4. Dao, T., Cheng, R.Y.S., Revelo, P., Mitzner. W., and Tang, W.Y. (2014) Hydroxymethylation as a Novel Environmental Biosensor, Review.Curr Environ Health Rep. 2014 Mar 1;1(1):1-10.
    5. O'Hagan HM, Tang, W.Y. (2014). Increased understanding of the impact of environmental exposures on the epigenome. Environ Mol Mutagen. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2014 Apr;55(3):151-4.
    6. Cheng, R.Y.S. and Tang, W.Y. Environment, Epigenetics and Diseases. (2012). (Book Chapter, "Toxicology and Epigenetics”. Edited by Saura C. Sahu. pp5-24. The John Wiley and Sons Ltd).
    7. Wu T.Y., Giovannucci, E.,Weldge, J., Mallick, P., Lemasters, G., Tang, W.Y. and Ho, S. (2011) Measurement of GST-P1 methylation in body fluids may complement PSA screening for prostate cancer: implication of using plasma and urine samples: a meta-analysis. Br J Cancer. Jun 28;105(1):65-73. PMID: 21654682.
    8. Prins G.S., Tang, W.Y., Belmonte, J. and Ho, S. (2007) Perinatal Exposure to Estradiol and Bisphenol A Alters the Prostate Epigenome and Increases Susceptibility to Carcinogenesis. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. Feb;102(2):134-8. PMID:18226066.
    9. Ho, S., Tang, W.Y. (2007) Techniques used in studies of epigenome dysregulation due to aberrant DNA methylation: an emphasis on fetal-based adult diseases, Reproductive Toxicology. Apr-May; 23(3):267-282. PMID:17317097.
    10. Tang, W.Y. and Ho, S (2007) Epigenetic Reprogramming and Imprinting in origins of disease, Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorder. Jun;8(2):173-82. PMID:17638084