Personal Profile

Yajuan (Julia) Zhu

Senior Lecturer

Pillar / Cluster: Science

Tel: +65 6499 4574
Email: lnwhna_muh@fhgq.rqh.ft


Growing up in China, Yajuan went to Zhejiang University for her undergraduate education. After spending 4 wonderful years in the beautiful city, Hangzhou, she graduated with Bachelor of Engineering in Biochemical Engineering and Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science. Realizing that she is more interested in biology, Yajuan began her graduate study in Bioengineering in National University of Singapore. After receiving her MSc in 2005, she moved to the US to continue her graduate study and got her PhD in Cell Biology and Immunology from Yale University in 2011. Yajuan’s research interests are in immunology, bioengineering and tissue engineering.

Education Background

  • PhD Cell Biology & Immunology, Yale University, 2011
  • MSc Bioengineering, National University of Singapore, 2005
  • Combined BEng Biochemical Engineering and BEng Computer Science, 2002

Research Interests

The previous multidisciplinary training allows Yajuan to stand at the interface of engineering and science and encourages her to re-evaluate some critical bioengineering problems from unique angles. Among these problems, Yajuan is particularly interested in tissue engineering, the development of a new generation of in vitro Immune-Organ models. By precisely incorporating cells of immune systems into a bio-mimetic tissue-engineered organ construct, the in vitro tissue model would predict acute irritation, chronic inflammation or allergic responses on human tissues to any drug or xenobiotic. Eventually, Yajuan would like to develop a high-throughput screening platform to best mimic the in vivo immune system and to reduce the use of animals in pharmaceutical screening market.

Yajuan is also interested in the inflammatory response following implantation of medical devices, prosthesis, or biomaterials. Managing inflammatory and wound-healing responses to implants are pivotal to the successful intervention and therapy for diseases and injury. Thus, incorporating the precisely managed immune responses into the design of biomaterials is becoming a new challenge for bioengineers. Yajuan would like to collaborate with material scientists and engineers to design state-of-art bio-devices and biomaterials that have maximal potential in coping with immune systems.

Awards & Achievements

  • College Teaching Certificate, Yale University Teaching Center, 2010
  • Yale University Fellowship, 2005-2011
  • President’s Graduate Fellowship Award, National University of Singapore, 2004
  • NUS Research Scholarship, National University of Singapore, 2003-2005
  • Distinguished Bachelor Dissertation Award, Zhejiang University, 2002

Key Publications

  1. Zhang W., Wearsch P. Zhu Y and Cresswell P. (2011) A role for UDP-glucose glycoprotein glucosyltransferase in expression and quality control of MHC class I molecules. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (PNAS) U.S.A., vol. 108, pp. 4956-61
  2. Zhu Y., Zhang W., Veerapen N., Besra G. and Cresswell P. (2010) Calreticulin controls the rate of assembly of CD1d molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum. J. Biol. Chem., vol. 285, pp. 38283-92
  3. Zhang X., Tee Y.H., Heng J.K., Zhu Y., Hu X., Margadant F., Ballestrem C., Bershadsky A., Griffiths G. and Yu H. (2010). Kinectin-mediated endoplasmic reticulum dynamics supports focal adhesion growth in the cellular lamella. J. Cell. Sci., Vol. 123, pp. 3901-12
  4. Toh Y.C., Ng S., Khong Y.M., Zhang X., Zhu Y., Lin P.C., Te C.M., Sun W. and Yu H. (2006). Cellular response to a nanofibrous environment. Nano Today, Vol. 1, pp. 34-43
  5. Zhu Y., Ng S., Khong Y.M., He L., Toh Y.C., Pan X., Chia X., Lin P.C., Sun W. and Yu H. (2006). Multi-dimensional imaging of cell- and tissue-engineered constructs, Chapter in Multi-Modality Microscopy, pp. 257-88, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.