headshot photo of Dr. Sun Yang

Dr. Sun Yang

Assistant Professor
School of Pharmacy
Expertise: Melanoma; Translational Research; Novel Anti-Cancer Drug Development; Oncology; Pediatric Pharmacy; Medication Safety
Office Location: Rinker Health Science Campus 297Y
Phone: 714-516-5418
Scholarly Works:
Digital Commons
Shandong University, Bachelor of Pharmacy
Shandong University, Master of Science


Dr. Yang received her Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Shandong Medical University School of Pharmacy in 1995, from where she went on to receive her Master of Medicine degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1998. These initial experiences spurred her interest in bench-to-bedside translational studies. Upon graduation as an honor student, she continued to study molecular pharmacology in the graduate school of Peking Union Medical College, where she received her Ph.D degree in Pharmacology in 2001. Right after graduation, she joined University of California Irvine (UCI) Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center after receiving a Fellowship Award, where she gained a deep and comprehensive knowledge of cancer biology, molecular biochemistry, and redox regulation, and have been extensively involved in chemoprevention and chemotherapy translations studies. She completed a general practice pharmacy residency as well as an additional 1-year specialty practice residency in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) with a research emphasis in Pediatric Oncology. Prior to joining CUSP, Dr. Yang was also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UCI for more than 4 years.

Dr. Yang is an author of 17 peer-reviewed publications (7 first author papers and 1 corresponding author paper) with 1 US patent. Her recent study on APE/Ref-1 has been funded with a Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08) by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Research Interests

The aberrant pathways in cancer cells may be utilized for developing targeted therapeutics. Dr. Yang’s research is focused on identifying effective novel targets and approaches for melanoma therapy and prevention, especially through the extensive mechanistic studies of abnormal reducing-oxidative (redox)-regulated signal pathways in melanoma compared to normal melanocytes. Her current ongoing projects include developing small molecules targeting APE/Ref-1- and nNOS-mediated signal pathways and the lead compounds exhibited promising anti-melanoma activities both in vitro and in vivo.

In addition, Dr. Yang’s group is also interested in translational research in pediatric pharmacology focusing on the mechanisms of drug action, clinical response, and medication safety in children at various development stages.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Silverman RB, and Yang S. Use of Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase Inhibitors for Immunotherapy in Melanoma Patients (16/703,009). Application number: 16/703,009. Publication date: June 11, 2020.
U.S. Provisional patent: 62/775,534 (12/05/2018): Richard B. Silverman, and Sun Yang. Use of neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibitors for immunotherapy in melanoma patients.
Fong S, Shevtsev S, Yang S. The role of neuronal nitric oxide synthase ((nNOS) in interferon-gamma-induced melanoma progression. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2017;30:e110-111.
Yang Z, Yang S, Misner B, Liu F, and Meyskens FL. Role of APE/Ref-1 in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Progression. International Journal of Oncology. 2014 Nov; 45 (5): 1820-8.
Frank L. Meyskens, Richard B. Silverman, Sun Yang, et al. Inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase for treatment of melanoma.