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Dr Jun Yu

Senior Lecturer

Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Personal statement

Dr Jun Yu was a recipient of The Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship at Imperial College London, where he worked on molecular pathogenesis of Shigella bacteria. He moved to The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where he set up murine embryonic stem cells as surrogate host cells for studying bacteria-host interaction.

In collaboration with international and national collaborators, Dr Yu’s group has made major advance in ‘Genotyping Shigella sonnei’ which has been financed by MRC. The major findings include: 1, The microorganism was originated in Europe ~ 500 years ago and move out Europe in the recent human history; 2, the contemporary epidemic strains involve rapid-evolving multi-drug resistant clones; 3, the phylogeny of this monomorphic organisms can be re-constructed using limited single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP). A major effort at present is to develop a multiplex-HRM (high resolution melting) for rapid identification of major lineages by use of 6 SNPs.

In collaboration with Scottish MRSA Ref Lab and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Dr Yu’s lab has set up MSLT and spa typing on MRSA isolates. The results show that epidemic MRSA 15 and 16, and clonal complex (CC)-45 are prevalent in the ICU.

The second line of research is to develop HPV vaccines based on attenuated Shigella sonnei. Infection by high risk human papillomavirus is the primary cause of cervical cancer, and prevention of HPV infection is the main strategy of control cervical cancer. In collaboration with Professor Wang in Xi’an Jiao Tong University, the proven immunogenic viral L1 capsid proteins have been expressed in virulence attenuated Sonnei strains. The immunogenicity of the constructs is under the way to be evaluated in animal models and clinical trials.

Last but not the list, J Yu’s group is collaborating with Dr Chen’s group in Physics for application of nanoparticles in Biology.

Dr Yu is coordinating Biology of Organisms (1st year), and Infection and Control (4th year). He also lectures Cell and Molecular Biology (2nd year), Medicinal Chemistry (2nd year), and Fundamental Microbiology (3rd year)


Human enteric a-defensin 5 promotes shigella infection by enhancing bacterial adhesion and invasion
Xu Dan, Liao Chongbing, Zhang Bing, Tolbert W. David, He Wangxiao, Dai Zhijun, Zhang Wei, Yuan Weirong, Pazgier Marzena, Liu Jiankang, Yu Jun, Sansonetti Philippe J., Bevins Charles L., Shao Yongping, Lu Wuyuan
Immunity Vol 48, pp. 1233-1244, (2018)
Geraniol as a novel antivirulence agent against bacillary dysentery-causing Shigella sonnei
Mirza Zainulabedeen R. M. H., Hasan Thaer, Seidel Veronique, Yu Jun
Virulence Vol 9, pp. 450-455, (2018)
A surface plasmon enhanced FLIM-FRET imaging approach based on Au nanoparticles
Zhang Yinan, Chen Yu, Yu Jun, Birch David JS
Medical Devices and Diagnostic Engineering Vol 2, pp. 78-82, (2017)
Hairpin DNA functionalized gold nanorods for mRNA detection in homogenous solution
Wei Guoke, Yu Jun, Wang Jinliang, Gu Peng, Birch David J.S., Chen Yu
Journal of Biomedical Optics Vol 21, (2016)
The Shigella ProU system is required for osmotic tolerance and virulence : Shigella ProU in osmotic tolerance and virulence
Mahmoud Rasha Y., Li Wenqin, Eldomany Ramadan A., Emara Mohamed , Yu Jun
Virulence, pp. 1-27, (2016)
Revealing the photophysics of gold-nanobeacons via time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy
Wei Guoke , Simionesie Dorin, Sefcik Jan, Sutter Jens U., Xue Qingjiang, Yu Jun, Wang Jinliang, Birch David J.S., Chen Yu
Optics Letters Vol 40, pp. 5738–5741 , (2015)

more publications


New Application of a DNA-nanorod Platform for Vaccine Development
Yu, Jun (Principal Investigator) Chen, Yu (Co-investigator) Roberts, Craig (Co-investigator)
Period 01-May-2017 - 30-Apr-2018
Epsrc Doctoral Training Grant | Davidson, Scott
Grant, Mary (Co-investigator) Yu, Jun (Co-investigator) Davidson, Scott (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Nov-2012 - 17-Dec-2016
DsbA as anti-virulence target of prospective anti-infective agents against typhoid fever (Newton Fund)
Yu, Jun (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Nov-2015 - 31-Oct-2016
BTG- Researcher-led Project
Yue, Hong (Principal Investigator) Marshall, Stephen (Principal Investigator) Yu, Jun (Principal Investigator)
Period 05-Sep-2011
A new approach for imaging RNA at the single cell level
Chen, Yu (Principal Investigator) Birch, David (Co-investigator) Yu, Jun (Co-investigator)
"The central dogma of molecular biology governs life on earth; its simplest expression is DNA - RNA - protein. RNA, Ribonucleic acid, bridges genome information harboured within DNA to phenotypes collectively expressed by protein. In most cases, the dynamics of RNA in the cell directly reflexes the expression of protein, hence the phonotypical properties. So far, a variety of methods have been developed, including gene-chip microarrays, real-time PCR, bead-based fluorescence-activated sorting and high-throughput sequencing. These methods are based on analysis of sufficient quantity of RNA, often, from a collection of heterogeneous population of cells or tissues. Although such information is useful in describing transcriptions at the population level, important information on each cell type in a tissue or/and single cell in a population are often lacking. To fully understand the mechanisms that cells respond to physiological and pathological cues, it is evident that the dynamics of RNA in the cell must also be analysed at the single cell and single molecule levels. Only at the single cell level we can start to understand differential response of individual cells to the same stimulus, and to accurately build up the network of the population. Only at the single molecule level, can we sense the dynamics of RNA in the cell to a meaningful precision. Fluorescence microscopy is a non-invasive, non-destructive technique, capable of imaging at levels from a single molecule, cell, tissue, to a man. No other method can interrogate molecules in living cells with anything remotely approaching its combination of spatial resolution, sensitivity, selectivity and dynamics. To exploit the potential of fluorescence imaging technique in RNA detection, we propose to develop novel energy transfer nanoprobes for RNA imaging that combine gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) and fluorescent proteins (FPs) to enable sensitive high resolution in situ RNA imaging in living cells. FPs are widely used in fluorescence microscopy due to the selective emission over visible band, whereas optical property of Au NPs strongly depends on their shape and physical features that can be tuned. The influence of surface plasmon enhanced local field on fluorophores nearby make it possible to exploit rich physical processes from metal induced quenching at a short separation to metal enhanced fluorescence in distance separation. Recently, we found surface plasmon enhanced resonance energy transfer between Au nanorods (NRs) and DAPI, a commonly used DNA stain, under two-photon excitation in the near infrared range. Once both the optical properties of FPs and Au NPs are well matched, enhanced energy transfer and two-photon imaging, could significantly increase signal/noise ratio, leading to sensitive imaging of high resolution, less photo damage and deep penetration. The proposed nanoprobe takes full advantage of the unique properties of Au NPs, which possess great quenching efficiency, increased quenching distance (especially beneficial for multi-RNA detection), photostable, biocompatible, and the ability to enter cells without the use of transfection agents. Moreover, two-photon luminescence makes them excellent fluorescence probes in biological imaging on its own, which is ideal for imaging temporal and special intracellular trafficking. Intensive research on Au NPs in the last decade has demonstrated their great potential in broad applications including imaging, sensing, drug delivery and thermal therapy. The energy transfer nanoprobe proposed here will provide a new platform for further integration of multiplex sensing and therapeutics."
Period 29-Jul-2013 - 28-Jan-2015
Genotyping epidemic Shigella sonnei
Yu, Jun (Principal Investigator)
Dr. Yu is proposing to carry out further research, in order to combat the Shigella bacteria infection, which affects 160 million people per annum worldwide; resulting in 1.1 million deaths of which most affected are children; under 5 years old. The infection could be so severe; the inflammation in the large intestine and rectum cause bleeding and cramps and patients experience excruciating pains, facing death. To make things worse, most of the epidemic strains are now resistant to all antibiotics available to date. Dr. Yu has carried out extensive research on this subject since 1997 and has been co-authored several important papers on Shigella genome research. His attention is now turning to S. sonnei, which seems to be a real threat to modern civilisation, as it is already very prevalent in developed countries, including those newly industrialised countries such as Republic of China, Thailand, and Iran. To combat the S. sonnei infection, Dr. Yu will investigate the genetic variation among S. sonnei strains of a global collection dated back to 1940s by use of a novel Solexa multiplex sequencing approach and the cutting edge instrument LightCycler 480. It is hoped to find the strain's origin and route of evolution, how they acquire antibiotic resistance, and in particular, why young children are so susceptible to S. sonnei infection; this life threatening disease. Dr. Yu is confident, that this study will succeed and the new knowledge obtained will help epidemic surveillance, early diagnosis, and treatment and prevention of Shigella infection.
Period 11-Nov-2008 - 10-Nov-2011

more projects


Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
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