Biography

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Dr. Yu received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Fudan University in 2001. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006 under the direction of Julie Leary, where he developed mass spectrometric approaches for the study of protein-ligand interactions. As a graduate student, he also developed a series of proteomic technologies for the study of tyrosine sulfation, a protein post-translational modification that is implicated in regulating protein-protein interactions in the extracellular space.

In 2007, Dr. Yu joined the laboratories of Steven Gygi and John Blenis in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School for his post-doctoral training (in both quantitative proteomics and signal transduction). There he developed quantitative mass spectrometric strategies for the study of protein phosphorylation. He deployed these powerful technologies to characterize the PI3K/Akt/mTORC1 pathway, and identified their downstream signaling modules that control a variety of cellular anabolic processes.  

In 2012, Dr. Yu began his independent research career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2017. Throughout his career, Dr. Yu has been the recipient of numerous awards for his research, including the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance Postdoctoral Fellowship, a CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research award, a Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research award, a Research Scholar award from the American Cancer Society, a UT System Rising STARs Award and most recently, an R35 MIRA award from NIGMS. He has served on many NIH and DoD advisory panels, including as a current member of the NIH Enabling Bioanalytical and Imaging Technologies (EBIT) Study Section.

The long-term goals of the Yu lab are to develop cutting-edge, mass spectrometry-based proteomic technologies, and applying them to systematically identify novel protein modifications and the related "dark matter" within in the human proteome. These data-driven strategies are then combined with classical biochemistry approaches to chacterize aberrant protein modification patterns, decipher the mechanisms of their deregulation, establish the functional consequences of these molecular events, facilitate the development of relevant therapeutic strategies, and finally, identify proteomic signatures that may serve as diagnostic, prognostic or predictive biomarkers for the relevant diseases (e.g., cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disease).

Education

Undergraduate
Fudan University (2001), Chemistry
Graduate School
Univ of California-Berkeley (2006), Chemistry

Research Interest

  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Post-translational Modifications (e.g. Phosphorylation and ADP-ribosylation)
  • Quantitative Proteomics
  • Signal Transduction/Cancer Biology and Metabolism

Publications

Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

CCR2 chemokines bind selectively to acetylated heparan sulfate octasaccharides.
Schenauer MR, Yu Y, Sweeney MD, Leary JA J. Biol. Chem. 2007 Aug 282 35 25182-8
Heterodimerization of CCR2 chemokines and regulation by glycosaminoglycan binding.
Crown SE, Yu Y, Sweeney MD, Leary JA, Handel TM J. Biol. Chem. 2006 Sep 281 35 25438-46
Effects of sulfate position on heparin octasaccharide binding to CCL2 examined by tandem mass spectrometry.
Sweeney MD, Yu Y, Leary JA J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2006 Aug 17 8 1114-9
Potential inhibitors of chemokine function: analysis of noncovalent complexes of CC chemokine and small polyanionic molecules by ESI FT-ICR mass spectrometry.
Yu Y, Sweeney MD, Saad OM, Leary JA J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2006 Apr 17 4 524-35
Chemokine-glycosaminoglycan binding: specificity for CCR2 ligand binding to highly sulfated oligosaccharides using FTICR mass spectrometry.
Yu Y, Sweeney MD, Saad OM, Crown SE, Hsu AR, Handel TM, Leary JA J. Biol. Chem. 2005 Sep 280 37 32200-8
Mechanism and kinetics of metalloenzyme phosphomannose isomerase: measurement of dissociation constants and effect of zinc binding using ESI-FTICR mass spectrometry.
Gao H, Yu Y, Leary JA Anal. Chem. 2005 Sep 77 17 5596-603
Mass spectrometric analysis of the human 40S ribosomal subunit: native and HCV IRES-bound complexes.
Yu Y, Ji H, Doudna JA, Leary JA Protein Sci. 2005 Jun 14 6 1438-46
Coordinated assembly of human translation initiation complexes by the hepatitis C virus internal ribosome entry site RNA.
Ji H, Fraser CS, Yu Y, Leary J, Doudna JA Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2004 Dec 101 49 16990-5
Characterization of noncovalent protein-ligand complexes and associated enzyme intermediates of GlcNAc-6-O-sulfotransferase by electrospray ionization FT-ICR mass spectrometry.
Yu Y, Kirkup CE, Pi N, Leary JA J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 2004 Oct 15 10 1400-7
Observation of a hybrid random ping-pong mechanism of catalysis for NodST: a mass spectrometry approach.
Pi N, Yu Y, Mougous JD, Leary JA Protein Sci. 2004 Apr 13 4 903-12

Honors & Awards

  • R35 MIRA award
    NIGMS (2020)
  • Special issue of “Future of Biochemistry”
    Biochemistry (2018)
  • Developmental Research Program Award
    NCI Lung Cancer SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) (2017)
  • Young Investigator Award
    Chinese American Diabetes Association (2017)
  • ACS Research Scholar
    American Cancer Society (2015)
  • CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research
    Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (2011)
  • University of Texas STARS award
    University of Texas System (2011)
  • Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research
    UT Southwestern Medical Center (2011)
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance (2008)
  • Chun-Tsung Scholar
    Chun-Tsung Endowment (1999)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for Cancer Research (2013)
  • American Society for Mass Spectrometry (2001)