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Address: Room 2108, Energy & Environment Building

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  • 个人简历
  • 教学
  • 研究领域
  • 研究成果
  • 奖励荣誉
  • Biography

    As a microbial ecologist, Yunfeng Yang’s focus area is microbially mediated carbon cycling induced by climate changes. He is interested in understanding how functional microorganisms respond to environmental disturbance and consequently affect carbon cycling, which is important for achieving China’s goals in carbon peak and neutrality. His scientific approach is interdisciplinary, integrating field observations, laboratory experiments, modeling, and theory. Yunfeng Yang has published more than 200 papers in scholarly journals such as PNAS, Nature Climate Change, and Nature Communications and held two US patents. He has received more than $3 million in research grants as a Principal Investigator. He has also received several prestigious awards, such as the Outstanding Youth Award (the highest honor of the National Natural Science Foundation of China for mid-career scientists) and the Outstanding Young Scholar Award (the highest honor of Tsinghua University for mid-career faculty). He was among the top 2% of the world's top scientists in 2020, the top 100 most influential Chinese scientists in microbiology and immunology in 2021, the top 100,000 scientists in the world in 2022, the top Chinese scientists in ecology and evolution in 2022, and the Globally Highly Cited Researchers™ 2022 list from Clarivate.


    1996/082003/01 Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Major in Microbiology, Ph.D.

    2000/012002/05 The City University of New York, Major in Computer Sciences, M.S.   

    1991/091996/07 University of Science & Technology of China, Major in Biology, B.S.

    Professional Experience

    2023/10present   Professor, Institute of Environment and Ecology, Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, China

    2010/092023/10   Professor, School of Environment; Adjunct Professor, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, China

    2006/032010/09   Staff Scientist, Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S.A.

    2003/022006/03   Postdoc, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S.A.

    Additional Positions

    The Chinese Society of Microbial Ecology, Vice President

    Center for Grassland Microbiome, Lanzhou University, Deputy Director

    Soil Ecology Letters, Founding Associate Editor

    mLife, Founding Associate Editor


    Personal Webpage

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  • Current Courses

    Master’s & Ph.D. Advising

  • Research Interests

    Yunfeng Yang’s focus area is the functional microorganisms involved in soil carbon and nitrogen turnover in climate change-sensitive regions. Integrating improved tools of metagenomics, ecological network, gene function identification, and biogeochemical modeling, he has systematically analyzed the biogeography, response pattern, and ecological consequences of functional microorganisms involved in carbon degradation, nitrification, and denitrification processes. He was among the first to examine biogeographical patterns and underlying drivers of functional microorganisms in the Tibetan Plateau and alpine treelines, unveiling high functional diversities primarily driven by environmental selection such as coldness. He found that functional compositions of microbial communities were highly sensitive to environmental perturbations. He showed that relevant abundances of genes associated with microbial carbon degradation, methanogenesis, nitrification, and denitrification were correlated with functional process rates, suggesting that gene abundance might serve as a proxy of process rate. By incorporating gene abundances into biogeochemical models as parameters, he has improved modeling accuracy and reduced uncertainty in depicting carbon dynamics and forecasting soil carbon stock under future climate scenarios.


    [1] Microbial-based carbon emission assessment and regulation of Hainan tropical rainforest, Funded by Hainan National Park Research Institute, 2023/04-2025/12, PI

    [2] Effects and Mechanisms of Nutrient Addition on Global Grassland Soil Microbial Diversity and Function, Key International (Regional) Collaborative Research Project Funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China, 2021/10-2026/09, PI

    [3] New indicator system and attenuation efficiency assessment method for natural attenuation of pollutants based on monitoring, Funded by National Ministry of Science and Technology. 2020/01-2023/12, PI

    [4] Soil Microbiology, Funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China, 2019/01-2023/12, PI

    [5] Characteristics of Plateau Soil Microbial Diversity, Second Comprehensive Scientific Investigation Project on the Tibetan Plateau Funded by Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China, 2019/01-2023/12, PI


    Research Output

  • Selected Publications

    [1] T Dai, D Wen*, C Bates, L Wu, X Guo, S Liu, Y Su, J Lei, J Zhou, and Y Yang* (2022), Nutrient supply controls the linkage between species abundance and ecological interactions in marine bacterial communities, Nature Communications 13: 175

    [2] J Lei, X Guo, Y Zeng, J Zhou, Q Gao*, and Y Yang* (2021), Temporal changes of global soil respiration since 1987, Nature Communications 12: 403

    [3] Y Yang* (2021), Emerging patterns of microbial functional traits, Trends in Microbiology 29 (10): 874-882

    [4] Q Gao, G Wang, K Xue, Y Yang*, J Xie, H Yu, S Bai, F Liu, Z He, D Ning, S Hobbie, P Reich, and J Zhou* (2020), Stimulation of soil respiration by elevated CO2 is enhanced under nitrogen limitation in a decade-long grassland study, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 117 (52): 33317-33324

    [5] X Guo, J Feng, Z Shi, X Zhou, M Yuan, X Tao, L Hale, T Yuan, J Wang, Y Qin, A Zhou, Y Fu, L Wu, Z He, JD Van Nostrand, D Ning, X Liu, Y Luo, J Tiedje, Y Yang*, and J Zhou* (2018), Climate warming leads to divergent succession of grassland microbial communities, Nature Climate Change 8: 813-818

    [6] L Wu, Y Yang*, S Wang, H Yue, Q Lin, Y Hu, Z He, JD Van Nostrand, L Hale, X Li, JA Gilbert, and J Zhou (2017), Alpine soil carbon is vulnerable to rapid microbial decomposition under climate cooling, The ISME Journal 11: 2102-2111

    [7] H Yue, M Wang, S Wang, JA Gilbert, X Sun, L Wu, Q Lin, Y Hu, X Li, Z He, J Zhou, and Y Yang* (2015), The microbe-mediated mechanisms affecting topsoil carbon stock in Tibetan grasslands, The ISME Journal 9: 2012-2020

    [8] M Zhao, K Xue, F Wang, S Liu, S Bai, B Sun, J Zhou, and Y Yang* (2014), Microbial mediation of biogeochemical cycles revealed by simulation of global changes with soil transplant and cropping, The ISME Journal 8: 2045-2055

    [9] Y Yang*, Y Gao, S Wang, D Xu, H Yu, L Wu, Q Lin, Y Hu, X Li, Z He, Y Deng, and J Zhou (2014), The microbial gene diversity along an elevation gradient of the Tibetan grassland, The ISME Journal 8 (2): 430-440

    [10] Y Yang*, L Wu, Q Lin, M Yuan, D Xu, H Yu, Y Hu, J Duan, X Li, Z He, K Xue, JD Van Nostrand, S Wang, and J Zhou (2013), Responses of the functional structure of soil microbial community to livestock grazing in the Tibetan alpine grassland, Global Change Biology 19 (2): 637–648



    Y Yang (2014), Methods for Targeted Mutagenesis in Biomass-degrading Bacteria, U.S. Patent 8735160

    Y Yang and Y Li (2014), Transformation of Gram-Positive Bacteria by Sonoporation, U.S. Patent 8669085


  • Awards and Honors

    The 16th Science & Technology Award of the Chinese Soil Society, The First Prize (2021)

    The Outstanding Young Scholar Award, Tsinghua University (2014)