Discovery of New Class of Genes Earns Chair Professor US National Award


Dr. Howard Y. Chang, a distinguished research chair professor at the NTU Research Center for Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine, has been named the recipient of the United States National Academy of Science (NAS) Award in Molecular Biology for 2018.

Dr. Chang has made major contributions to genome science by his discovery of long noncoding RNAs. Pervasive in the human genome, this new class of genes plays a major role in causing cancer metastasis and other human diseases, and is associated with development and aging, as well.

Dr. Chang’s discovery of long noncoding RNAs was made possible by his invention of powerful new genomic technologies, such as ATAC-seq and ChIRP-seq. In particular, ATAC-seq has brought revolutionary changes to the field of epigenetics, boosting the ability to map active DNA elements by 1 million-fold in sensitivity and 100-fold in speed.

These new genomic technologies are already widely used by researchers in thousands of labs around the world, and have led to dramatic transformations in the investigation of numerous human diseases and model organisms.

The NAS Award in Molecular Biology is presented to young scientists no older than 45 who are citizens of the United States and have made a recent significant discovery in molecular biology.