He has previously served as dean of the faculty of Oriental Studies. Yanson is on the board of the Moscow State Institute of Asian Studies. His research focuses on the historical phonology of Burmese.
In 2004 Yanson gave a welcoming address to a conference on Indonesian studies.
Yason serves on the international advisory board of the SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research. He is scheduled to give the keynote address at the Fifth Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages Symposium (1 September 2010, SOAS).