YANG Laboratory

Biophysics of Living Systems


Our Research Focus

We study biological oscillations and self-organization processes in early embryo development. The local interactions in the form of mechanical and biochemical signals allow individual molecules and cells to generate collective spatio-temporal patterns. To pin down the physical mechanisms behind these processes, we make use of both the cell-free extracts system and live embryos which help us connect the understandings across the molecule, cellular, and tissue levels.


Our Interdisciplinary Approaches


We integrate mathematical modeling, real-time fluorescence microscopy, biochemical assays and microfluidics to study the dynamic processes in both cell-free extract systems and live embryos.


Our Funding Resources

These funding resources have supported the past and current research in the Yang Lab. We are grateful to all the funding agencies for their support!


News Highlight

Please check our News page for more...


Aug 2019: The Yang Lab (Owen, Shiyuan, and Qiong) attended the qBio 2019 Conference at San Francisco. Qiong is on the organizing committee; Owen and Shiyuan presented posters.

July 2019: Our research article “Building Dynamic Cellular Machineries in Droplet-Based Artificial Cells with Single-Droplet Tracking and Analysis” is published in Analytical Chemistry. 

May 2019: Zhengda defended his dissertation! Congratulations, Dr. Li!

Apr 2019: Dr. Gembu Maryu has joined us as a postdocotral fellow. Minjun Jin and Usha Kadiyala will join us as Biophysics graduate students. Weclome Gembu, Minjun, Usha!

Mar 2019: Our research article “μdroPi: A Hand-Held Microfluidic Droplet Imager and Analyzer Built on Raspberry Pi” is published in Journal of Chemical Education. 

Jan 2019: Check out “the 2019 Winter Biophysics News” for work by Shiyuan. 

Dec 2018: Our spotlight article “The Rise of Ultrafast Waves” is published in Developmental Cell. 

Sep 2018: Our research article “Reconstitution of Cell-cycle Oscillations in Microemulsions of Cell-free Xenopus Egg Extracts” is published in J. Vis. Exp. 

Sep 2018: Owen has received a Microfluidics Training Program Fellowship. Congratulations, Owen!

Jul 2018: The Yang Lab (Chun-Yen, Owen, Shiyuan, Zhengda, and Qiong) presented at the BIRS workshop "Mathematical Approaches to Cell-Cell Communication and Collective Behaviours" in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Everyone gave a talk.

Apr 2018: Our research article “A robust and tunable mitotic oscillator in artificial cells” is published in eLife. 

Apr 2018: Minjun has received the Seyhan N. Ege-WISE Award. Suzie has been received the Alumni Outstanding Award. Congratulations, Minjun and Suzie! 

Feb 2018: Zhengda has received a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship. Congratulations, Zhengda!

Feb 2018: Zhengda presented at the 2018 Winter q-Bio Conference in Maui-Grand Wailea, HI. 

Feb 2018: Suzie has received the 2018 Honors Summer Fellowship. Congratulations, Suzie!

Jan 2018: Owen passed his preliminary examination and has been advanced to PhD candidacy. Congratulations, Owen!

Dec 2017: Shiyuan passed his preliminary examination. Congratulations, Shiyuan!

Dec 2017: Ye defended her dissertation! Congratulations, Dr. Guan!

Dec 2017: Zhengda presented at the 2017 ASCB EMBO Annual Meeting  in Philadelphia, PA. 

Nov 2017: Our review article “Quantitative and synthetic biology approaches in understanding biological oscillators” is published in Quantitative Biology. 

Oct 2017: Dr. Meng Sun has joined us as a postdoctoral fellow. Welcome, Meng!

Sep 2017: Qiong received a Sloan fellowship.

Jul 2017: Our research article “Incoherent inputs promote network robustness of biological oscillators” is published in Cell Systems. 

Jun 2017: Bowen Lian has joined us as a research associate. Welcome, Bowen!

May 2017: Ye and Zhenga attended the Cells as Dynamical Systems Workshop in San Francisco CA.

Apr 2017: The Yang Lab (Nigel, Owen, Shiyuan, and Qiong) presented at the 5th Midwest Quantitative Biology Symposium in Notre Dame IN.  Qiong gave a talk; Nigel gave a lightening talk; Owen presented a poster.

Feb 2017: Owen Puls has joined us as a Physics graduate student. Welcome Owen!

Sep 2016: Shiyuan Wang has joined us as a Biophysics graduate student. Welcome Shiyuan!

Aug 2016: Qiong received an NIH MIRA Award.

Jul 2016: The Yang Lab (Ye, Zhengda, and Qiong) presented at the 10th Annual q-bio Conference in Nashville TN.

Dec 2015: Qiong received an NSF CAREER Award.

Aug 2014: The Yang Lab (Zhengda, Joshua, and Qiong) presented at the 3rd Midwest Single Molecule Workshop 2014 in Urbana IL. Qiong gave a talk and Zhengda presented a poster. Congratulations to Zhengda for winning a poster award!

Jan 2014: Our lab is officially launched. We're currently looking for talented graduate students and postdocs. Please stay tuned with us.

Lab fun

Our lab pet 'Larry':

This color-changing wire sculpture zebrafish was designed and made by Nigel Michki with the help of Suzie Kim and Shiyuan Wang.

The Yang Lab songs:
"Jingle Bell" | "Cool Kids"| Download lyrics

The lyrics of the two songs were written by our undergraduate student Mark Antosz in Dec 2016 to celebrate our Christmas party. It was later recorded by Mark and his friends.

Please check our lab blog for more...

Join us!

We are actively recruiting:

Please check out  our postdoc position flyer for more info .


Jul 2019, Zhengda's farewell
Jul 2019, Zhengda's farewell
Jul 2019, Lab Puzzle Evening hosted by Usha
Jul 2019, Group hotpot party hosted by Owen
Jul 2019, A2 summer festival: Bob Ross painting along
May 2019, Zhengda's graduation celebration
May 2019, Zhengda's thesis defense
May 2019, Group lunch
May 2019, Hatcher graduate library
Apr 2018, Ye's Rackham Graduate Exercises
Oct 2018, sleeping bear sand dunes for two night camping
Oct 2018, sleeping bear sand dunes for two night camping
Oct 2018, sleeping bear sand dunes for two night camping
Jul 2018, Group lunch Ann Arbor downtown
Jul 2018, Banff, Canada; photo taken by Shiyuan
Jul 2018, Banff, Canada; photo taken by Shiyuan
Jul 2018, Banff, Canada
Apr 2018, UM Undergraduate awards recognition
Mar 2018, Chemistry atrium
Dec 2017, Ye's graduation party
Dec 2017, Ye's graduation party
Aug 2017, Lab party
Dec 2016, Students office
Nov 2016, Rackham