Yan's research interest lies at the interfaces of chemistry, glycobiology and medicinehas, and has been centred on the development and applications of glycan microarrays in understanding glycan recognition events of biomedical importance.
She played a major role in establishing and running the Carbohydrate MIcroarray Facility as a unique biomedical resource for broad scientific community. As the microarray project leader, she has coordinated interdisciplinary collaborative projects with over 100 researchers in the UK and overseas on glycan recognition by proteins and pathogens. Highlights among these are studies of mutant viruses from severe and fatal cases of pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza infection; rotaviruses and pathogenic viruses of Papillomaviridae, Polyomaviridae and Adenoviridae families; Toxoplasma gondii and related apicomplexan parasites; also broad neutralizing anti-HIV antibodies isolated from HIV-infected patients. The microarray results, in many cases in conjunction with structural insights into protein-glycan complexes, are potential leads for the development of anti-adhesion therapeutics.
Yan is now heading the Carbohydrate Microarray Facility supported by a renewed Wellcome Trust Biomedical Resource Grant, and a key focus of her current research is to develop novel glyco-based diagnostic, therapeutic and management strategies to combat infectious and non-infectious diseases.