Xu Yu, MD
Xu Yu, MD
5 post docs
2 PhD students
1 post doc
Office/Location: 400TS RM758
Phone: (857) 268-7004
Dr Yu’s laboratory focuses on three different aspects of HIV-1 pathogenesis:
1. The investigation of TCR recruitment and TCR signaling pathways in HIV-1-specific T cells. These studies aim at determining how specific recruitment of TCRs in HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells contribute to the shaping of HIV-1 viral sequence evolution and at understanding how clonotype composition and TCR signaling mechanisms in HIV-1-specific T cells contribute to their functionality and antiviral efficacy.
2. The analysis of immunoregulatory mechanisms and pathways that have a critical impact on the evolution and functionality of adaptive and innate immune responses against HIV-1. These investigations are centered on the analysis of immune receptors on dendritic cells that determine the functional profile of these cells either in an inhibitory or a stimulatory way. Recent studies in Dr. Yu’s unfolded a dynamic interplay between these receptors and HIV-1 CTL epitope/MHC class I complexes, suggesting that CTL epitopes have, in addition to their role as immunogens for the induction of HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells responses, an important immunoregulatory function that is mediated by specific binding interactions with these receptors. These investigations ultimately aim at developing strategies for the manipulation of these immunoregulatory pathways in immunological treatment approaches against HIV-1.
3. The investigation of cells and tissue compartments that serve as the reservoir for latent and productive HIV-1 infection and how host restriction factors impact on the formation of these reservoirs. Dr. Yu’s lab is approaching these questions by developing innovative new techniques to specifically identify the individual cells that represent the latent reservoir for HIV-1 and by analyzing host restriction factors that influence specific viral replication dynamics and clinical patterns of HIV-1 disease progression.
1 Post doctoral research fellow:
A post doctoral fellow position is available in the laboratory of Dr. Xu Yu at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. Please contact Dr. Xu Yu (xyu(at)partners.org), if you have any questions.
Ph.Ds or M.D./Ph.Ds with a background in immunology, virology or cell biology and a strong interest in career development in HIV research are encouraged to apply.
Only candidates with demonstrated ability for completing complex research projects during their Ph.D and significant experience in standard laboratory techniques (tissue culture, flow cytometry, PCR, western blots, etc.) will be considered. Please send your CV, a letter of interest and a list of three references per email to Dr. Xu Yu (xyu(at)partners.org).
- First identification of public TCR recruitment patterns in HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells and their influence on viral escape mechanisms.
- The first longitudinal analysis of TCR clonotype evolution in HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells after primary HIV-1 infection and its impact on T cell functionality and HIV-1 disease progression.
- First description of a viral CTL epitope mutation that alters recognition of peptide/MHC class I complexes by inhibitory myelomonocytic MHC class I receptors on dendritic cells. This suggests that HIV-1 sequence variations can specifically change functional properties of dendritic cells.
- The identification of specific interactions between HLA class I molecules and immunoregulatory MHC class I receptors, which provide an alternative approach to the understanding of how certain HLA class I alleles can impact on HIV-1 disease progression.
- The first description of the upregulation of specific inhibitory immunoregulatory molecules in individuals with spontaneous “elite” viral control, which might represent an active protective mechanism against immune over-activation in this specific patient population.
1. Yu, XG*, Lichterfeld M*, Chetty S, Williams KL, Mui SK, Miura T, Frahm N, Feeney ME, Tang Y, Pereyra F, Labute MX, Pfafferott K, Leslie A, Crawford H, Allgaier R, Hildebrand W, Kaslow R, Brander C, Allen TM, Rosenberg ES, Kiepiela P, Vajpayee M, Goepfert PA, Altfeld M, Goulder PJ, Walker BD. Mutually exclusive T-cell receptor induction and differential susceptibility to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 mutational escape associated with a two-amino-acid difference between HLA class I subtypes. J Virol. 2007;81(4):1619-31.
2. Lichterfeld M*, Kavanagh D*, Williams KL, Mosa B, Mui S, Miura T, Allgaier R, Pereyra F, Trocha A, Feeney M, Gandhi R, Rosenberg E, Altfeld M, Allen T, Allen R, Walker B, Sundberg E, Yu XG. A Viral CTL escape mutation leading to ILT4-mediated functional inhibition of myelomonocytic cells. J Exp Med. 2007; 204(12):2813-24.
3. Lichterfeld M*, Mou D*, Cung HT, Williams KL, Waring MT, Huang J, Pereyra F, Trocha A, Freeman GJ, Rosenberg ES, Walker BD, Yu XG. Telomerase activity of HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells: Constitutive upregulation in controllers and selective increase by blockade of PD ligand 1 in progressors. Blood, prepublished online August 26, 2008; DOI 10.1182/blood-2008-01-135442.
4. Huang J, Goedert JJ, Sundberg EJ, Cung T, Burke P, Martin MP, Preiss L, Lifson J, Lichterfeld M, Carrington M, Yu XG. HLA-B*35-Px-mediated acceleration of HIV-1 infection by increased inhibitory immunoregulatory impulses. J Exp Med. 2009; 206(13):2959-2966.
5. Huang J, Burke PS, Cung TD, Pereyra F, Toth I, Walker BD, Borges L, Lichterfeld M, Yu XG. Leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptors maintain unique antigen-presenting properties of circulating myeloid dendritic cells in HIV-1-infected elite controllers. J Virol. 2010;84:9463-71.
6. Chen H*, Li C*, Huang J*, Cung T*, Seiss K, Beamon J, Carrington MF, Porter LC, Burke PS, Yang Y, Ryan BJ, Liu R, Weiss RH, Pereyra F, Cress WD, Brass AL, Rosenberg ES, Walker BD, Yu XG, Lichterfeld M. CD4 T cells from elite controllers resist HIV-1 infection by selective upregulation of p21 (cip-1/waf-1). J. Clin. Invest. 2011. In press.
Maria J Buzon | email@example.com
Maria is a postdoctoral fellow at the Ragon Institute. She obtained her Ph.D. in 2010 at the Institute of AIDS Research, Irsicaixa in Barcelona, Spain. This is where she first became interested in the HIV-1 reservoirs that persist despite HAART. After completion of her Ph.D. program and in order to increase the international dimension of her career, she subsequently joined the Ragon Institute as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Yu’s lab, where she has been working for almost 3 years in different projects related to viral persistence, including the characterization of the HIV-1 reservoir in patients treated during the early phase of the infection and the identification of cells with stem-cell like properties contributing to HIV-1 long-term persistence. Currently she is a recipient of the MGH ECOR Tosteson Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Enrique Gayo | firstname.lastname@example.org
Enrique obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Immunology in 2010 at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, under the supervision of Dr. Maria Luisa Toribio, where he studied the developmental origin of intrathymic dendritic cells and their contribution in the generation of natural T regulatory cells. After his PhD studies, he moved to Boston to join Dr. Xu Yu’s group where he is currently studying the involvement of dendritic cell function in the spontaneous control of HIV-1 infection. Enrique is a very social person who loves sports and every form of art, especially painting. He also enjoys hiking and everything related to nature and outdoor activities.
Jin Leng | email@example.com
Jin is a Research Fellow in the Yu lab at the Ragon Institute. He got his Ph.D. in Immunology from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY studying parasite immunology and later joined the lab in 2012. His research projects focus on the host cyclin-dependent kinases and HIV-1 reverse transcription, as well as the T cell intrinsic responses in various patient cohorts to HIV-1 infections.
Zhengyu Ouyang | firstname.lastname@example.org
Zhengyu Ouyang joined Yu’s group as bioinformatics specialist in June 2012. He prefers to be called “O’Young”. He received his Bachelor’s degree in telecommunication engineering and Master’s degree on pattern recognitions from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (P.R. China). Ouyang earned his PhD in Computer Science (bioinformatics) from New Mexico State University in 2012. He focuses on computational and statistical analysis of molecular biological high-throughput genetic data to support biologists to test their hypotheses. Ouyang used to be a sprinter and still enjoys running, hiking and swimming, as well as other outdoor sports. Travelling and camping are definitely ranked on the top of his favorites.
Selena Vigano | email@example.com
Selena is a postdoctoral fellow at the Ragon institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. Her research is focused on the investigation of the role of distinct HIV-1-specific CD8 T cells subsets in controlling HIV-1 infection and their contribution to disease progression. She is also involved in a collaborative research project investigating the influence of HDAC inhibitor on the immune system of HIV-1 infected patients. Selena obtained her PhD in Immunology in 2013 from UNIL University and CHUV in Lausanne.
Nina Orlova-Fink | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nina joined Xu’s lab as a graduate research fellow in August 2013. She is investigating stem cell properties of CD4+ T cells for limiting HIV persistence. She studied Molecular Medicine at the University of Erlangen in Germany and did her PhD in Virology from a collaboration program between Harvard Medical School and University of Erlangen. When not in the lab she loves baking, spending time with friends, and dancing tango.
Hong Sun | email@example.com
Hong joined the Yu lab as a visiting researcher in March 2012. She obtained her M.D. in China and received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Medicine. She is now a Ph.D. student at China Medical University. Her interests in the laboratory include strategies to eradicate HIV-1, with a focus on the HIV-1 reservoir in HAART-treated patients from acute or chronic phase infection. She has found living in Boston amazing, and she is trying to explore and enjoy more of the city as she has recently moved to Cambridge.
Patrick Burke | firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick is from outside of New Haven, CT and graduated from Boston College with a BS in Biology and a minor in Computer Science. After graduation, he spent two years working as a technician under the tutelage of Dr. Xu Yu at the Ragon Institute. He then moved on to study medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine. After Pat’s third year, he was awarded a DDCF Clinical Mentorship grant to return to Dr. Yu’s lab for a year, where he currently studies the effects of a group of immunoregulatory receptors found in the adaptive immune system and their role in HIV infection. In addition to enjoying tennis and skiing, he is obsessed with outer space and has aspirations to visit it one day.
Amy Shaw | email@example.com
Amy received her BS in Microbiology and Immunology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Miami in 2012. She joined the Xu lab in early summer 2012, where she works as a research technician and as a Yu lab manager. She currently works with Maria Buzon, conducting experiments to better understand the HIV-1 reservoir. When not at work, Amy enjoys going on nature walks with her dog, cooking new recipes, and going to Dave Matthews Band shows.
Taylor Hickman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Taylor graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BS in Biochemistry in 2012. She joined the Xu Yu lab in the summer of 2012 as a research technician studying the role of dendritic cells in HIV infection, and as a Yu lab manager. In her spare time, Taylor enjoys running and listening to country music.
Jordi Negron | email@example.com
Jordi joined Dr. Xu Yu’s Lab in the summer of 2013 after graduating from Brown University with an ScB in Chemical Biology. As a Research Technician, he studies the role of CD8 T cells in HIV infection through flow cytometry analysis. Outside of the lab, Jordi likes learning about other cultures and languages; this leads him to take trips around town looking for new areas to explore or to ask people at the Ragon what it is like living in different countries.
Xiaodong Li | firstname.lastname@example.org
Xiaodong joined the Yu Lab as a visiting student in August 2013. She is a graduate student in the Master’s/Ph.D. Combined Program at the Plant Virus Laboratory in Shenyang Agricultural University. She is from China and plans to learn the most cutting-edge virology techniques at the Ragon Institute. She has really enjoyed her first trip to the U.S. and finds living in Boston wonderful.