Catherine F. Yang, PhD, MD (h.c.)

Catherine F. Yang, PhD

Vice President of Academic Affairs & Research
Professor of Molecular Pharmacology/Clinical Biochemistry/
Medicinal Chemistry/Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine/Graduate Studies
Dean of the College of Graduate Studies

Office: (916) 686-7438


  • PhD, Biochemistry, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
  • M.S., Radiation Chemistry, Tufts University
  • Postdoctoral, Pharmacology and Clinical Biochemistry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • BS, Chemistry, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China


Dr. Yang is a Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Clinical Biochemistry at the Department of Clinical Science of College of Medicine of California Northstate University (CNU). At CNU she had been overseeing the operation of the new medical education program at CNU for its’ innovative system-based curriculum in the vicinity of a very diverse population in Northern California that medical students can be trained to treat a broad spectrum of diseases and coauthored a medical education article describing the CNUCOM integrated system-based curriculum and its pedagogy published in the AAMC Academic Medicine Journal (2020). And she is currently involved in the special interest group for the Artificial Intelligence in Frontiers of Medical Research & NAIRR national AI initiatives and her AI aided drug modeling generated a prostate cancer drug candidate.

Dr. Yang has over 25-y teaching experience in five universities in the areas of Medicinal Chemistry, Molecular Pharmacology, Oncology, AI-Aided Drug Design and Clinical Biochemistry with twice awards of wall of fame for being selected as the best professor who impacts their career the most. She also published more than 80 peer-reviewed research articles, several biotechnology & clinical application books, and is an inventor of 10 patented inventions. She has also secured numerous grants from the NIH, NSF, Research Corporation and New Jersey Health Foundation as well as fundings from many corporations and health foundations. She serves on various review boards of federal, private and health foundation funding agencies. She also serves as chairman of board of an education foundation [a non-profit 501 c(3) organization].

Research Interests

Dr. Yang’s research interest centers around the proteolytic regulation in various disease progression stages including cancer. Her drug discovery programs specifically target type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, leukemia and lung cancer. Dr. Yang’s research has made strong contributions in elucidating mechanisms of tumor progression, and in the development of novel cancer drugs. She has led research groups funded by NIH studying proteolytic regulatory mechanisms in the advanced stages of prostate cancer, lung cancer and leukemia. Her in-depth research on type 2 diabetic metabolic regulation led to a dual function diabetes drug patent. Dr. Yang’s immunological research resulted in an allergy vaccine development that is currently under clinical trials at affiliated clinics. The specific approach of triggering induction of immunologic tolerance to external or autologous allergens, and induction of sensitization to infectious or tumor antigens, with targeted tissue delivery of particles sized to facilitate uptake by specific cell populations, provide unique therapeutic platform for curing advancement stage cancer. She is also engaged in clinical trial studies for her innovative leukemia drug candidate. Dr. Yang’s unique predictive biomarker studies have also spurred a nano-sensor development for an early cancer diagnosis.

Dr. Yang’s current research interest has also grown on medical education. Prior to joining CNU in 2016, Dr. Yang was involved in developing Rowan Cooper Medical School in the areas of curriculum model development and pedagogy, research programs and their facility design as well as hospital affiliations.

Selected Publications

  • Yang, C. F. and Caputo, G., “Experiments in Biochemistry and Biotechnology” by Cengage Learning, 2023.
  • Feng, X., Malhotra, A. Xie, H. and Yang, C., editor, Book, “Biologics and Biosimilars: Drug Development and Clinical Affairs”, ISBN: 978-1-138-59422-7; T & F cat #: K387158, 2022 CRC.
  • Goldberg, I. H, Yang, C.F. and et al, Chapter on “Enediynes as Probes of Nucleic Acid Structure" of Book entitled “DNA and RNA Cleavers and Chemotherapy of Cancer and Viral Diseases” 1996, Kluwer Academic Publishers..

  • Yang, C. F. and Li, W. X, “Novel Dipeptidyl Peptidases IV-based Inhibitors for Type 2 Diabetes Complex with Hypertension”, US Patent, PCT/EU, 2945930, Oct 10, 2018.
  • Coifman R & Yang C, “Immunotherapy compositions and methods of treatment”. European patent EP 2 525 819 B1 issued 6/6/2018.
  • Yang, C. F., LI, W., ELLIOTT, R. and Iltchenko, Ni., “Extraction And Purification Of Urushiol From Botanical Sources”, US, Patent, 9,580,373 B2, February 28, 2017.
  • Coifman, R. and Yang, C. F., “Method of Depositing Particles of a Substance in a Tissue”, US Patent, US 2015/0140040 A1, May 21, 2015.
  • Coifman RE & Yang C: “Immunotherapy compositions and methods of treatment”. US patent US 9,107,901 B2 issued 8/18/2015.

Peer Reviewed Article
  • Coifman, R. E. and Yang, C. F., “Vaccine Delivery by Precipitation (VDBP) Lessons from Poison Ivy for Protein Antigens in General and Specifically for SARS Co-V2”, Eur J Respir Med, 2022, 4:2.
  • Young, E. H. Gulia, K and Yang, C., Chapter “Regulatory Aspects of Biologics and Biosimilars", Book, “Biologics and Biosimilars: Drug Development and Clinical Affairs”, ISBN: 978-1-138-59422-7; T & F cat #: K387158, 2022, CRC Press.
  • Wong, T. and Yang, C. Chapter “Delivery of Biologics, Biosimilars and Vaccines”, Book, “Biologics and Biosimilars: Drug Development and Clinical Affairs”, ISBN: 978-1-138-59422-7; T & F cat #: K387158, 2022, CRC.
  • Herr, D. Y., Young, E. H. and Yang, C. Chapter “Machine Learning Applications in Biologics and Biosimilars”, Book, “Biologics and Biosimilars: Drug Development and Clinical Affairs”, ISBN: 978-1-138-59422-7; T & F cat #: K387158, 2022, CRC Press.
  • Malhotra, A. Yang, C. and Feng, X., “Application of constructivism and cognitive flexibility theory to build a Comprehensive, Integrated, Multimodal Interprofessional Education and Practice (CIM-IPEP) program”, J. Interprofessional Care, 2021, DOI: 10.1080/13561820.2021.1900802.
  • Wang C, Yuan W, Hu A, Lin J, Xia Z, Yang CF, Li Y, Zhang Z. “Dexmedetomidine Alleviated Sepsis Induced Myocardial Ferroptosis and Septic Heart Injury”. Mol Med Rep. 2020 Jul;22(1):175-184. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2020. 11114. Epub 2020 May 4. PMID: 32377745
  • Malhotra, A., Brady, D., Kreys, E., Silva, J., Feng, X. and Yang, C., “Development, implementation, and assessment of a comprehensive, integrated, and multimodal interprofessional education (CIM-IPE) program”, J. InterprofessionalEducation & Practice, 2020, 21, 100356.
  • Yarbrough, T.L. and Yang, C., “Medical Education Program Highlights at California Northstate University College of Medicine”, Academic Medicine, AAMC, 2020, Vol 95, Issue, 9S, p S33-S37.
  • Shim, K., Begum, R., Yang, C. and Wang, H., “Inflammation; Complement activation; Metabolic disorders; Obesity; Insulin resistance; Type 2 diabetic mellitus”, World Journal of Diabetes, 11, 26, 2019.
  • Coifman, R. E. and Yang, C. F., “Vaccine Delivery by Precipitation (VDBP) Induces Tolerance to Poison Ivy”, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, (2019), 122, 331-352.
  • Kojtari, A., Babinec, J., Shah, v., Yang, C. and Ji, Hai-Feng, “Structure-Based Design of Tripeptide Derivatives of a-Aminoalkylphosphonate Esters for Prostate-Specific Antigen Inhibition”, Br J Phar Med Res, 2018, Vol 3, Issue 06, December 28.
  • Lizza, J. R., Patel, S. V., Yang, C. F. and Moura-Letts, G., “Direct Synthesis of Cyanopyrrolidinyl b-Amino Alcohols for the Development of Diabetes Therapeutics”, Eur J Organic Chemistry, 2016, 5160-5168.
  • Yin, A.C., Goldberg, K.H., Mupparapu, A., Retzbach, E. P., Yin, K., Yang, C. and Goldberg, G. S., “Low Molecular Weight Components in Aqueous Echinacea Purpurea Leaf Extract Inhibit Melanoma Cell Growth”, J. Cancer Biology and Therapeutics, 2016, 1(2): 109-117.
  • Goldberg, K. H., Yin, A.C. Mupparapu, A., Retzbach, E., Goldberg, G. and Yang, C. F., “Components in aquesou Hibiscu rosa-sinensis flower extract inhibit in vitro melanoma cell growth”, J. Trad. Comp. Medicine, 2016, 7(1): 45- 49.
  • Coifman, R., Yang, C. and Kloske, S., “New Generation of the Poison Ivy Vaccine in Clinical Study”, Garden State Focus, April, 2014, 20, 4, 11-13 (featured on cover page).
  • Hu, X., Duki, S., Forys, J., Hettinger, J., Buchicchio, J., Dobbins, T. and Yang, C., “Designing Silk-Silk Protein Alloy Materials for Biomedical Applications”, J. Visualized Experiments, 2014
  • Kojtari, A., Shah, V., Babinec, J.; Yang, C.; Ji, H-F., “Structure-Based Drug Design of Diphenyl α- Aminoalkylphosphonates as Prostate-Specific Antigen Antagonists”, J. of Chem. Information and Modeling, 2014, 54 (10), 2967-2979.
  • J. P. Lin and F. Yang, “Recent Advances in Micro/nano- particales for clinical detection of cancer biomarker”, review, Analytical Methods, 2013, 5(21), 5839-6248. (featured on cover page)
  • Yang, C.F., Zakreski, R., Li, W., Mou, X., Iltchenco, N. and Cooperman, B., “Proteolytic Inhibition in Regulating the Insulin-like Binding Proteins in Prostate Cancer”, Biochem & Physiol., 1(2), 1-8, 2012.
  • J. P. Lin, S. H. Li and F. Yang, “Electrochemical Sensors for Cancer Biomarker Detection”, Review, Electroanalysis, 24, 12, 2213-2229, 2012.
  • Jao, D, Duda, T., Gillespie, A., Yu*, L. and Yang,* C., “Direct Determination of Gold Nanoparticle in Biomacromolecular Matrix with Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry”, Journal of Nanomedicine and Biotherapeutic Discovery, 2011, 1, 1-5.
  • Velusamy, V., Arshak, K., Yang, F. C., Korostynska, O. and Adley, C., “Comparison Between DNA Immobilization Techniques on a Redox Polymer Matrix”, Am. J. Ana. Chem., 2011, 2, 392-400.
  • Wang, H., Xu, X., Li, L., Yang, C. and Ji, H-F., “Optoelectronic property and sensing applications of crystalline nano/microwires of decacyclene”, Micro & Nano Letters, 2011, 6, 9, 763-766.