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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2016/17 Dr. Jianying Yang

Dr. Jianying Yang

Every year, approximately 50 Fellows are invited to work on their projects at FRIAS for 2 to 12 months in an intellectually stimulating environment. Fellows that have already been at FRIAS before can return to FRIAS for 2 to 6 weeks within the framework of the Alumni Programme, for example in order to finish a project. Furthermore, junior and senior researchers are regularly invited as guest researchers.


Our Research Focus profited enormously from the international team of Fellows and guest researchers at FRIAS.

Prof. Dr. Tobias Schätz, ERC Consolidator Grant 2015, Research Focus Quantum Transport 2014/15

Max-Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics
Molecular Immunology
Internal Senior Fellow
October 2013 - September 2015

Phone +49 761-5108 427


I studied Bioscience and Biotechnology at Zhejiang University (Hangzhou, China). And I received my Ph.D in 2000 from Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Science (Shanghai, China). I then visited USA between 2000 and 2003 as a postdoctoral research associate at CARB (Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology, University of Maryland, USA), where I worked together with Prof. Roy Mariuzza to study the affinity maturation and intramolecular cooperativity in protein-protein interaction using structural biology and biophysical approaches. In 2003, I moved to the laboratory of Prof. Michael Reth at Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology (Germany), to study the organization of BCR at resting stage. Since the end of 2010, I am a project leader in the Department of Molecular immunology (Headed by Prof. Michael Reth), Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI-IBE, Germany). I am also an associate member of Centre for Biological Signalling Studies (bioss) of the University of Freiburg since 2011.

My current major focus is to develop novel tools for deciphering the activation mechanism of BCR. We are developing a series of aptamer-based synthetic biology tools for BCR signalling studies. In addition, with intensive national and international collaborations, the team is also applying various advanced imaging techniques to study the dynamics and regulation of BCR oligomers and BCR-coreceptor interaction on cell surface.


Selected Publications

  • Yang, J. & Reth, M. Oligomeric organization of the B-cell antigen receptor on resting cells. Nature 467, 465–469 (2010).
  • Yang, J. & Reth, M. Drosophila S2 Schneider cells: a useful tool for rebuilding and redesigning approaches in synthetic biology. Methods Mol Biol 813, 331–341 (2012).
  • Yang, J. & Reth, M. The dissociation activation model of B cell antigen receptor triggering. FEBS Lett 584, 4872–4877 (2010).
  • Ferrari, S. Lougaris, V. Caraffi, S. Zuntini, R. Yang, J. et al. Mutations of the Igbeta gene cause agammaglobulinemia in man. J Exp Med 204, 2047–2051 (2007).
  • Cho, S. Swaminathan, CP. Yang, J. Kerzic, MC. Guan, R. et al. Structural basis of affinity maturation and intramolecular cooperativity in a protein-protein interaction. Structure 13, 1775–1787 (2005).


FRIAS Research Project

In vivo visualizing the dynamics of cytokine-targeting cells

The goal of the current joint FRIAS-USIAS project is to conduct a highly original research for better understanding the in vivo signaling of cytokine. Based on the expertise of two groups: 1) in vivo mouse modeling systems for cytokine functional study (Dr. Mei Li, IGBMC, Strasbourg); and 2) synthetic biology toolkit and advanced imaging technologies for membrane protein signaling study (Dr. Jianying Yang, BIOSS, Freiburg), our objective is to develop innovative methodologies to pinpoint cytokine-targeting cells and visualize their dynamics in mouse tissue microenvironment. To achieve these goals, we will generate novel aptamer-based reagents specifically recognizing the functional heterodimetic receptor of a cytokine called TSLP (thymic stromal lymphopoietin), using a strategy based on newly emerging Cell-SELEX technology and synthetic biology cellular tools. Based on these aptamers, molecular beacon will be designed and tested, which will be ultimately applied for in vivo visualizing and identifying the TSLP-targeting cells in mouse ear skin. For this, we will use intravital multiphoton microscopy and employ a unique mouse modeling system, in which the expression of TSLP can be spatially and temporally induced in mouse skin. Moreover, within and beyond this two-year project, we will assay the specific aptamers for their potential agonistic or antagonistic activities, thus to develop new tools for functional study of TSLP signaling. The obtained aptamers will also provide us powerful tools for further studying the nano-organization of cytokine receptor on cell membrane and their interaction with other membrane proteins using super-resolution microscopy.