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Winnie Wan-yee Tang, PhD

  • Associate Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E7545
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


Tang's Lab website
Tang's Bibliography
Tang's Research Highlights

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PhD, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2004
BSc, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000


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. 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 complex diseases like asthma, cardiovascular diseases, sleep apnea and cancer. Our recent work has identified a previously unrecognized role for DNA hydroxymethylation in airway hyperresponsiveness and asthma.

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 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, asthma and cancer. With a team of collaborators, I have extended my work to identify the relationship between the inter-individual epigenetic variations and disease risk. My lab has been participating in several human cohort studies which are currently funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH). Therefore, my long-term goal is to apply innovative and promising epigenetic approaches to understand the underlying mechanisms by which epigenetic changes may contribute to common diseases. Our findings may lead to the development of improved preventive measures and therapeutic strategies to reduce the burden of chronic diseases. Also, translating our scientific findings into human may provide proper disease management and lifetime recommendations to the public.

Honors and Awards

2018-2020 Joint Research Fund Award for Overseas Chinese Scholars and Scholars in Hong Kong, National Natural Science Foundation of China

2015-2016 Thomas and Carol McCann Innovation Research Fund Award

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, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, US 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

Selected Five Publications: Our lab explore the epigenetic alterations in the development of environmentally-related diseases by utilizing an experimental model and state-of-the-art methylation profiling technologies. In addition, we have extended my work to identify the role of epigenetics alterations in environmentally-related diseases in human populations.

  • Tang, W.Y.*, Ho, S.*, Belmonte, J. and Prins, G.S. 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.
  • Cheng, R.Y.S., Shang, Y., Limjunyawong, N., Dao, T., Das, S., Rabold, R., Sham, J., Mitnzer, W and Tang, W.Y. Alterations of the Lung Methylome in Allergic Airway Hyperresponsiveness. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis. 2014 Apr;55(3):244-255.
  • Tang, W.Y., Levin, L., Talaska, G., Cheung, Y.Y.,  Herbstman, J.B., Miller, R., Perera, F., and Ho, S. Maternal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is associated with methylation at a 5’-CpG island of interferon-? in cord white blood cells. Environ Health Perspect. Aug 2012; 120(8): 1195–1200.
  • 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.  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):946-954.
  • Dao, T., Cheng, R.Y.S., Revelo, P., Mitzner. W., and Tang, W.Y. Hydroxymethylation as a Novel Environmental Biosensor, Review. Curr Environ Health Rep. 2014 Mar 1;1(1):1-10.