Wei Yang, Ph.D.

NIH Distinguished Investigator

Mechanism of DNA Repair, Replication, and Recombination Section, Laboratory of Molecular Biology


Building NIHBC 05, Room B103N
5 Memorial Dr
Bethesda, MD 20892

+1 301 402 4645


Research Topics

My group studies DNA recombination, repair, and replication. In particular, we are interested in V(D)J recombination, mismatch repair, nucleotide excision repair, and translesion DNA synthesis. We use X-ray crystallography, cryoEM, molecular biology, and various biochemical and biophysical approaches to find out the molecular mechanisms underpinning these biological processes. In recent years, we have discovered that DNA synthesis and RNA degradation reactions are propelled by cation trafficking and require transiently bound Mg²⁺ and K⁺ ions that are absent in the static structures of substrate- or product-enzyme complexes.


  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2015
  • National Academy of Sciences, 2013
  • Ph.D., Columbia University, 1991
  • M.A., Columbia University, 1986
  • B.A., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1985

Selected Publications

  1. Kim J, Li CL, Chen X, Cui Y, Golebiowski FM, Wang H, Hanaoka F, Sugasawa K, Yang W. Lesion recognition by XPC, TFIIH and XPA in DNA excision repair. Nature. 2023;617(7959):170-175.
  2. Liu L, Chen X, Li J, Wang H, Buehl CJ, Goff NJ, Meek K, Yang W, Gellert M. Autophosphorylation transforms DNA-PK from protecting to processing DNA ends. Mol Cell. 2022;82(1):177-189.e4.
  3. Chen X, Xu X, Chen Y, Cheung JC, Wang H, Jiang J, de Val N, Fox T, Gellert M, Yang W. Structure of an activated DNA-PK and its implications for NHEJ. Mol Cell. 2021;81(4):801-810.e3.
  4. Chen X, Cui Y, Best RB, Wang H, Zhou ZH, Yang W, Gellert M. Cutting antiparallel DNA strands in a single active site. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2020;27(2):119-126.
  5. Gao Y, Cui Y, Fox T, Lin S, Wang H, de Val N, Zhou ZH, Yang W. Structures and operating principles of the replisome. Science. 2019;363(6429).

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Wednesday, January 10, 2024