Interview with Xianbin Yang, PhD, MBA
Xianbin Yang, PhD, MBA
How did you become interested in the field of oligonucleotides?
I’ve been fascinated with nucleic acid chemistry and biology since my undergraduate study. I received my Bachelor of Science and Master of Medicine degrees from the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Beijing Medical University, working on modified nucleoside and nucleotide chemistry, structure, and biological activity. In 1995 I went to Poland to study on the stereocontrolled methods of synthesis of phosphorothioate oligonucleotides under the direction of Professor Wojciech Stec, after that I became a postdoctoral fellow at Professor David Gorenstein’s lab, where I first developed bead-based aptamer selection technology, that is practicing now at AM Biotechnologies. I became a junior faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UTMB in 2004, where I was working on thioaptamer development. I then transitioned to Director of Research and Development at AM Biotechnologies in 2006. Since 2006, I was the PI for 7 awarded grants from National Institute of Health (NIH), and 3 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). I was the first recipient of Young Investigator Award of 2012 from the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society.
Who were your early mentors?
Professor Lihe Zhang from Beijing Medical University was my Bachelor and Master Degrees Mentor. My Ph.D. mentor was Professor Wojciech Stec.
How did you become involved in OTS?
I was awarded fellowships to attend the 1st and 2nd Meetings of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society in New York in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Why do you continue to support the OTS?
OTS provides a unique and valuable opportunity for all scientists in the field to meet, interact, and share results, especially at the annual meeting.
What is special about the type of research/work you’ve done?
I have contributed to the stereochemistry of P-substituted oligonucleotides (methylphosphonate and phosphorothioate), bead-based aptamer selection technology, and innovative modified aptamer affinity regent development. In addition, I have contributed to develop DNA/RNA-thiophosphoramidite reagents that will be used for synthesis of phosphorodithioate (PS2) DNA/RNA. My interest in thiophosphoramidite chemistry has extended toward development of 2′-OMe-PS2 modified siRNA and/or microRNA-based therapeutic reagents.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy my free time with family, friend, and all kind of non-profit associations.