Yuqing Dong, PhD

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

055A Life Science Building
190 Collings Street
Clemson, SC 29634
Phone: 864-656-3835


  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, 2000-2006     
  • Ph.D. Plant Molecular Biology, Peking University, 1999     
  • B.S.  Biochemistry,  East China University of Science and Technology, 1994     

Research Interests

Aging is an inevitable universal process in most of higher order eukaryotic organisms. During the aging process, the physiological functions of organisms gradually decline, which lead to a variety of age-related disorders. One of the major challenges in aging research is to find a way to delay aging and alleviate the impairment of age-related disorders. To this end, a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms of lifespan regulation is imperative. Considering that most cellular behaviors, if not all, are tightly regulated by the network of signaling pathways, my overall research centers on the signaling pathways related to aging and the elucidation of how these signaling pathways modulates aging at the molecular level. Toward this, I am engaging the genetic model organism, C. elegans, to investigate 1) how the genetic factors through the signaling network modulate aging process, and 2) how to intervene in aging and age-related diseases effectively in a feasible way.

Genetic studies in model systems have shown that a single gene alteration in conserved signaling pathways can dramatically influence the lifespan of an organism.  To date, several genome-associated studies have identified a considerable number of genes which are involved in lifespan regulation (so called “longevity gene”). Accordingly, my team utilizes genetic, molecular, and cellular approaches to dissect them in various signaling pathways and determine their functions in aging process. Characterization of these longevity genes will reveal the regulatory network of lifespan in C. elegans, and very likely discover new pathways that are novel in longevity. 

Numerous diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and various neurodegenerative disorders, are generally associated with aging. There is an urgent need to find a way to encourage and maintain a healthy lifespan in large and increasing populations of elderly individuals. At present, diet intervention (pharmacological and nutraceutical reagents) has been proven the most feasible and effective way to combat aging and age-related disorders through the modulation of metabolism and stress. We hypothesized that nutraceuticals with prolongevity effects act through many conserved signaling pathways, such as target-of-rapamycin (TOR), insulin/IGF-1-like signaling (IIS), and sirtuins, to promote healthy aging. Using our C. elegans model, we use a variety of nutraceuticals to ask following questions that test our hypothesis: 1) Do the nutraceuticals that attenuate aging associated declines with improved healthspan?; 2) Do the nutraceuticals that act through the major pathways or proteins associated with aging?

Selected Publications

  • Wang, D., Cao, M., Dinh, J., Dong, Y. (2013) Methods for creating mutations in C. elegans that extend lifespan. In: Biological Aging: Methods and Protocols; Second Edition (Ed.) T. O. Tollefsbol, Springer, New York, NY, USA. pp. 65-76. (Book Chapter)
  • Guha, S., Klees, M., Wang, X., Li, J., Dong, Y.*, Cao, M. (2013) Influence of planktonic and sessile Listeria monocytogenes on Caenorhabditis elegans. Arch Microbiol. 2013 Jan; 195(1):19-26. (* co-corresponding author)
  • Dong, Y.*, Guha, S., Sun, X., Cao, M., Wang, X., Zou, S. (2012) Nutraceutical interventions for promoting healthy aging in invertebrate models. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012:718491. Epub 2012 Sep 6. (* the first and corresponding author)
  • Guha, S., Cao, M., Kane, R.M., Savino, A.M., Zou, S., Dong, Y. (2012) The longevity effect of cranberry extract in Caenorhabditis elegans is modulated by daf-16 and osr-1. AGE (Dordr). 2012 Aug 4. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Dong, Y., Zou, S. (2010) Sirtuins and Aging. In: Epigenetics of Aging (Ed.) T. O. Tollefsbol, Springer, New York, NY, USA, pp. 51-76. (Book Chapter)
  • Li, J., Ebata, A., Dong, Y., Rizki, G., Iwata, T., Lee, S.S. (2008) Caenorhabditis elegans HCF-1 functions in longevity maintenance as a DAF-16 regulator. PLoS Biol. 2008 Sep 30;6(9):e233
  • Hamilton, B., Dong, Y., Shindo, M., Liu, W., Ruvkun, G., Lee S. (2005) A Systematic RNAi Screen for Longevity Genes in C. elegansGenes Dev. 2005 Jul 1; 19(13):1544-55
  • Pruyne, D., Legesse-Miller, A., Gao, L., Dong, Y. and Bretscher, A. (2004) Mechanisms of polarized growth and organelle segregation in yeast. Annu rev cell dev biol. 2004; 20:559-91.
  • Huang, X., Dong, Y., Zhao, J. (2004) HetR homodimer is a DNA-binding protein required for heterocyst differentiation, and the DNA-binding activity is inhibited by PatS. Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA 101(14): 4848-4853.
  • Dong, Y., Pruyne, D., Bretscher, A. (2003) Formin-dependent actin assembly is regulated by distinct modes of Rho signaling in yeast. J Cell Biol. 161(6):1081-92.
  • Dong, Y., Huang, X., Wu, X., Zhao, J. (2000) Identification of the active site of HetR protease and its requirement for heterocyst differentiation in the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. Strain PCC 7120. J Bacteriol.  182(6): 1575-1579.
  • Zhou, R., Wei, X., Jiang, N., Li, H., Dong, Y., His, K., Zhao, J. (1998) Evidence that HetR Protein is an unusual Serine-type Protease. Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA 95(9): 4959-4963.

Recent Courses

  • MICRO 4170/H4170/6170 – Cancer and Aging
  • MICRO 4270 - Cancer and Aging Lab
  • BIOSC 8260 - Epigenetics 

Current Graduate Students

  • Xiaoxia Wang, Ph.D. (2011- )
  • Ojas Natararjin, Ph.D. (2012- )

Past Graduate Students

  • Sujay Guha, Ph.D. (2008 – 2013)
    Currently a Postdoc Fellow in the Scripps Research Institute
  • Yao Yao, M.S. (2008 – 2011)
    Currently a staff scientist at Axio Research in Seattle, WA

Professional Affiliations

  • American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB)
  • American Aging Association