Yufeng got his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He worked as a postdoc in the Case Western Reserve University to study the structure and function of the ubiquitin-like domain of plexin B1 before he joined SGC in 2006. Yufeng is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto and is leading the Ubiquitin Biology and Cell Signalling programs in SGC Toronto.
The Ubiquitin Biology group at SGC Toronto focuses on understanding the structure, function, specificity, and enzymatic mechanism of E3 ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitinases(DUBs), including key enzymes involved in histone (de-)ubiquitylation and sumoylation. Particularly we are interested in the substrate recognition domains of Ring-inBetween-Ring type, HECT-type E3 ligases, and ubiquitin-specific proteases besides their catalytic domains. These families of proteins have been directly implicated in many human diseases like autism, cancer diabetes, leukemia, allergy, and etc. We are also interested in some guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) that share common domains ubiquitin ligases or DUBs, in particular the beta-propeller fold domains that are known to modulate protein-protein interaction.
We utilize the SGC’s established high-throughput structural biology platform for protein production, structure determination and biochemical assays to probe the function of these enzymes. We also collaborate with internal and external groups to identify small molecule compounds and biomolecules (ubiquitin variants) that will alter the activity of disease-related ligases and proteases.