Hiroko Yano, PhD

Hiroko Yano, PhD

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Genetics

Research Interests

Our laboratory aims to identify molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in neurological disorders, in particular, in Huntington’s disease (HD), a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease with no effective treatment to date.  Using primary neuron and mouse models of the disease, we are trying to understand how selective neurons in the brain become dysfunctional and die in HD through various approaches, including molecular biology, cell biological, biochemistry, and genetics.  

A current major focus is the identification of novel epigenetic mechanisms that drive aberrant gene expression and subsequently cause neuronal dysfunction and death in HD.  Our ultimate goal is to discover new therapeutic strategies targeting disease-specific molecular changes to prevent neurodegeneration in human HD and potentially other neurodegenerative disorders.

View research, publications and collaborations »

Yano Lab

Yano Lab

Identify molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Huntington’s disease.

Awards & grants

  • NIH/NINDS, R01 NS111014 (Yano) 2019-2024: Role of DNA Methyltransferases in Huntington’s Disease
  • 2021 Pilot Project Award, Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, Washington University: Targeting DNMT3A as a Therapeutic Strategy for Huntington’s Disease
  • NIH/NINDS, R21 NS103509 (Yano/Song) 2018-2020: Establishing Diffusion Basis Spectrum Imaging as a New Biomarker for Huntington’s Disease Progression
  • Spring 2018 LEAP Inventor Challenge Award, Washington University: Epigenetic Therapy for Huntington’s Disease 
  • NIH/NINDS, R21 NS096603 (Yano) 2016-2018: Epigenetic and mRNA Profiling of Striatopallidal Neurons in Huntington’s Disease                                                     
  • 2015 Pilot Project Award, Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, Washington University: The Role of DNA Methylation in Huntington’s Disease
  • NIH/NIA, K01 AG033724 (Yano) 2009-2015: Polycomb-Mediated Epigenetic Mechanisms in Neurodegeneration and Aging Brain
  • 2009 NARSAD Young Investigator Award, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation: Epigenetic Regulation of Gene Expression in Neurodegeneration and Neuropsychiatric Disorders
  • 2008 Research Excellence Award, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Biomedical Research Institute, Harvard Medical School

Honors & leadership roles

  • Co-Organizer, Neurorestorative Therapy Group, Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, Washington University, 2019 – Present


PhD, Pharmaceutical Sciences
The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

MS, Pharmaceutical Sciences
The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

BS, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Tokyo University of Science, Tokyo, Japan