Edinburgh Cancer Research

Yi Feng (Affiliate)

Cancer prevention - in vivo models of tumour initiation

Yi Feng
Dr Yi Feng - Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellow and Wellcome Trust Beit Fellow

Research in a Nutshell

We use a combination of live imaging and genetic analysis in zebrafish larvae, to study the earliest events of tumour initiation and progression, in vivo and in real time. We focus on the interactions between pre-neoplastic cells, normal host tissue and infiltrating innate immune cells, which as we have demonstrated, mount a trophic inflammatory response toward the emergent pre-neoplastic cells. Our research is aimed at understanding the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating tumour initiation, and the contribution of inflammation to tumour promotion with the aim of identifying fundamental mechanisms, which will underpin novel therapeutic approaches.

Main areas that we focus on in the lab:

  1. To investigate the regulatory mechanism(s) that select for such a Trophic Inflammatory phenotype by responding leukocytes. Are there distinct pre-neoplastic cell derived signals for the induction of a trophic innate immune phenotype? 
  2. To establish the gene-expression signature, and visualise the characteristic behaviour, of innate immune cells with “Trophic inflammatory” phenotype and identify other Trophic factors released in response to the emerging transformed cell
  3. To test whether we can change the phenotype of innate immune cells responding to transformed-cell growth and whether this is effective in preventing tumour progression.


Research Programme



Yi Feng

Principal Investigator, Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellow, Wellcome Trust-Beit Fellow and UoE Chancellor’s Fellow

Isabel Ribeiro Bravo

Postdoctoral Researcher

Abigail Elliot MRC Precision Medicine PhD Student
Henna Myllymaki Postdoctoral Researcher
Owen Lo Visiting Scientist
Katie Roome Master Student

Scientific Themes

Zebrafish, inflammation, pre-neoplastic, neutrophils, oncogenic RAS, NFkB, senescence, metabolic reprogramming

Technology Expertise

in vivo live imaging, zebrafish cancer models, zebrafish transgenesis, signalling reporter, inducible tumourigenesis