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)