Yuan Chang is a Distinguished Professor in the department of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a neuropathologist by clinical training, whereas her research interests center on viral oncogenesis and new pathogen discovery. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her medical degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine. Following medical school, she completed an anatomic pathology residency at UCSF and a neuropathology fellowship
at Stanford University Medical Center. In 1993, she joined the faculty at Columbia University, where she became a full Professor in pathology in 2000. In 1994, she codiscovered Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also called human
herpesvirus 8 (HHV8), with her husband Patrick S. Moore. She moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. In 2008, the Chang-Moore laboratory, using a new method developed for finding human cancer viruses called digital transcriptome subtraction, identified Merkel cell polyomavirus, the cause for most human Merkel cell carcinoma.

Research Interests

Our laboratory identified two of the seven known human tumor viruses: Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8) and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV). We are involved in basic and applied research on viral oncogenesis with efforts focused in the following three areas: 1) Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV) is etiologically associated with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), one of the most clinically aggressive skin cancers in humans. We are engaged in the investigation of viral T oncoproteins and their role in transformation and replication. 2) Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. through extensive molecular piracy, has incorporated numerous genes that affect cell proliferation pathways, apoptosis, cell cycle regulation and immune modulation. Our laboratory studies how these viral proteins affect host cell signaling pathways. 3) New Pathogen Discovery. We continue to be interested in the search for new pathogens in human diseases and have developed methodologies that utilize information gained from the Human Genome Project combined with advanced sequencing and proteomic technologies.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 44: Microbial Biology

Secondary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology