Kaiping Yang

Maternal, Fetal & Newborn Health Dr. Kaiping Yang


Chair & Scientist, Division of Maternal, Fetal & Newborn Health, Children's Health Research Institute
Professor, Departments of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Physiology & Pharmacology, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University

How my research helps children

My research program addresses factors (both genetic and environmental) that are responsible for low birth weight, and how and why low birth weight babies are more susceptible to developing central obesity later in life.


Current Research Activities 

The recent discovery of production of a key appetite-stimulating hormone, NPY (only known to be produced by neuronal tissues), by fat tissue from Dr. Yang’s laboratory generated world-wide media attention, including BBC, CBC, Global National, Reuter, and other news organizations as well as numerous health magazines.  This work was published in The FASEB Journal, the official journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Research Team

Dr. Yang’s current research team includes two graduate students, two undergraduate students, three research assistants, and one exchange graduate student from Fudan University in China.  Dr. Yang has trained four postdoctoral fellows, all of whom are in senior academic positions.  He has also trained numerous graduate, undergraduate, and summer students, with some of them taking up academic and management positions.

Future Research Plans

Dr. Yang has established an international collaboration with Professor Gang Sun at Fudan University, China, to investigate factors that contribute to premature delivery.  They have recently secured funding from CIHR and Natural Science Foundation of China to support this joint research initiative.  Dr. Yang has also initiated two new research projects: one examining how caffeine consumption during pregnancy may lead to low birth weight, and the other studying how BPA exposure during pregnancy may impact on fetal organ growth and maturation.

Awards & Grants

Awards & Grants

Funding in support of "Fetal Growth Restriction: Mechanisms & Outcomes" – Awarded by Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

Funding in support of "Early-life Origins of Visceral Adiposity" – Awarded by Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

Honorary Professor – Northwest Sci-Tech University of A & F, China

Funding in support of “Molecular mechanisms of fetal growth restriction” – awarded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Funding in support of “Molecular mechanisms underlying glucocorticoid induction of cPLA2 and PGHS2 ” – awarded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Funding in support of “Training Program in Reproduction, Early Development, and the Impact on Health” – awarded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Recent Publications


The ERK1/2 signaling pathway regulates 11b-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11b-HSD2) in human trophoblast cells through a transcriptional mechanism
Guan H, Sun K, Yang K
Biol Reprod. 2013; 89(4):92, 1–7

Metallothionein I/II deficient mice display increased susceptibility to cadmium-induced fetal growth restriction
Selvaratnam J, Guan H, Koropatnick J, Yang K
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2013; 305(6):E727-35

In utero programming of later adiposity: the role of fetal growth restriction
Sarr O, Yang K, Regnault T
J Pregnancy. 2012; 134758. doi: 10.115/2012/134758

Neuropeptide Y potentiates beta-adrenergic stimulation of lipolysis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes
Li R, Guan H, Yang K
Regulatory Peptides. 2012; 178:16-20

Caffeine reduces 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11beta-HSD2) expression in human trophoblast cells through the adenosine A2B receptor
Sharmin S, Guan H, Williams A, Yang K
PLoS ONE. 2012; 7(6):e38082

Cortisol Induces Aromatase Expression in Human Placental Syncytiotrophoblasts Through the cAMP/Sp1 Pathway
Wang W, Li J, Ge Y, Li W, Shu Q, Guan H, Yang K, Myatt L, Sun K
Endocrinology. 2012 April; 153(4):2012-22

The Sp1 Transcription Factor is Crucial for the Expression of 11beta-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Type 2 in Human Placental Trophoblasts
Li JN, Ge YC, Yang Z, Guo CM, Duan T, Myatt L, Guan H, Yang K, Sun K
J Clin Endorcrinol Metab. 2011 June; 96(6):E899-907

BMP-3 promotes mesenchymal stem cell proliferation through the TGF-beta/activin signaling pathway
Stewart A, Guan H, Yang K
J Cell Physiol. 2010 Jun;223(3):658-66

KGF stimulates preadipocyte proliferation via an autocrine mechanism
Zhang T, Guan H, Yang K
J Cell Biochem. 2010 Mar 1;109(4):737-46

The p38 MAPK regulates 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11beta-HSD2) expression in human trophoblast cells through modulation of 11beta-HSD2 messenger ribonucleic acid stability
Sharma A, Guan H, Yang K
Endocrinology. 2009 Sep;150(9):4278-86. Epub 2009 Jun 4

Insulin and glucocorticoid dynamically regulate adipocyte 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1
Balachandran A, Guan H, Sellan M, van Uum S, Yang K
Endocrinology. 2008 Aug;149(8):4069-79

Neuropeptide Y is produced in visceral adipose tissue and promotes proliferation of adipocyte precursor cells via the Y1 receptor
Yang K, Guan H, Arany E, Hill DJ, Cao X
FASEB J. 2008 Jul;22(7):2452-64

Placental 11{beta}-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 is reduced in pregnancies complicated with idiopathic intrauterine growth restriction: evidence that this is associated with an attenuated ratio of cortisone to cortisol in the umbilical artery
Dy J, Guan H, Sampath-Kumar R, Richardson B, Yang K
Placenta. 2008; 29:193-200

Additional publications



Phone:  (519) 685-8500, x55069
Fax: (519) 685-8186
Email: kyang [at] uwo [dot] ca
Website: http://www.uwo.ca/physpharm/faculty/yang_kaiping.html

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