Dr. Hongtao Yu was born in China in 1969. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Peking University (Beijing, China). He came to the U.S. in 1990 and received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) in 1995. His thesis research focused on the structure determination of protein modules involved in signal transduction. He then completed his postdoctoral training in Biology at Harvard Medical School (1995-1999). During his postdoctoral training, Dr. Yu studied the regulation of the cell division cycle in vertebrates. In 1999, Dr. Yu began his independent research career as an Assistant Professor and the Michael L. Rosenberg Scholar in Biomedical Research at the Department of Pharmacology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2004 and to Professor in 2008. He was selected as an HHMI Investigator in 2008. He is the holder of the Serena S. Simmons Distinguished Chair in Cancer Immunopharmacology.  His lab studies cellular mechanisms that govern chromosome inheritance and integrity using a combination of cell biological, biochemical, and biophysical methods.


Peking University (1990), Chemistry
Graduate School
Harvard University (1995), Chemistry

Research Interest

  • Cell cycle checkpoints
  • Chromosome segregation
  • DNA repair
  • Histone modifications
  • Protein structure and folding


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Scc1 sumoylation by Mms21 promotes sister chromatid recombination through counteracting Wapl.
Wu N, Kong X, Ji Z, Zeng W, Potts PR, Yokomori K, Yu H Genes Dev. 2012 Jul 26 13 1473-85

Honors & Awards

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
    Fellow (2012)
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
    Scholar Award (2003)
  • W.M. Keck
    Scholar Award (2003)
  • Burroughs Wellcome
    New Investigator Award in Pharmacological Science (2000)
  • Packard Fellowship
    Science and Engineering (2000)
  • Damon Runyon
    Scholar Award (1999)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Society for Cell Biology
  • Sigma Xi