655 W. Baltimore Street
Education and Training
Shandong Medical University, China, MBBS (MD equivalent), 1997
Peking University Health Science Center, China, Master in Neurology, 2000
SUNY Stony Brook and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, PhD, 2006
Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2014
Dr. Yu's laboratory is interested in understanding the genetic, epigenetic and microenvironmental regulations of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) that lead to initiation of cancer metastasis in various organs. The overarching goal is to be able to utilize CTCs from blood samples of cancer patients as a non-invasive “liquid biopsy” to inform the prognostic and therapeutic interventions for metastasis.
Dr. Yu obtained her PhD in Genetics from SUNY Stony Brook under the guidance of Dr. Senthil Muthuswamy at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, investigating transcriptomic changes of mammary epithelial cells during three-dimensional morphogenesis growing in Matrigel in comparison to monolayer cultures. She subsequently obtained training in the field of CTCs and cancer metastasis in the laboratory of HHMI investigator Dr. Daniel Haber at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School. She established her independent laboratory in 2014 at University of Southern California and obtained tenure promotion as Associate Professor in 2021. Since January 2023, she became an Associate Professor at Department of Pharmacology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.
Circulating tumor cells, Cancer metastasis, Brain metastasis, Breast cancer, Liquid Biopsy
Teng T, Kamal M, Iriondo O, Amzaleg Y, Luo C, Thomas A, Lee G, Hsu C, Nguyen JD, Kang I, Hicks J, Smith A, Sposto R, Yu M. N-Acetyl-L-cysteine promotes ex vivo growth and expansion of single circulating tumor cells by mitigating cellular stress responses. Molecular Cancer Research, 2021; 19 (3): 441-450.
Klotz R, Thomas A, Teng T, Iriondo O, Li L, Restrepo-Vasslli S, Han J, Wang A, Izadian N, Mackay M, Moon BS, Ganesan SK, Lee G, Kang DS, Walmsley CS, Press M, Lu W, Lu J, Juric D, Bardia A, Hicks J, Salhia B, Smith A, Yu M. Circulating tumor cells exhibit metastatic tropism and reveal brain metastasis drivers. Cancer Discovery. 2020; 10(1):86-103.
Kamal M, Saremi S, Klotz R, Iriondo O, Amzaleg Y, Chairez Y, Tulpule V, Lang JE, Kang I, Yu M. PIC&RUN: An integrated assay for the detection and retrieval of single viable circulating tumor cells. Scientific Reports. 2019;9 (1):17470.
Ortiz V, Yu M. Analyzing Circulating Tumor Cells One at a Time. Trends in Cell Biology. 2018, 28(10):764-775.
Iriondo O, Liu Y, Lee G, Elhodaky M, Jimenez C, Li L, Lang J, Wang P, Yu M. TAK1 mediates microenvironment-triggered autocrine signals and promotes triple-negative breast cancer lung metastasis. Nature Communications. 2018 May 18;9(1):1994.
Jordan NV, Bardia A, Wittner BS, Benes C, Ligorio M, Zheng Y, Yu M, Sundaresan TK, Licausi JA, Desai R, O'Keefe RM, Ebright RY, Boukhali M, Sil S, Onozato ML, Iafrate AJ, Kapur R, Sgroi D, Ting DT, Toner M, Ramaswamy S, Haas W, Maheswaran S, Haber DA. HER2 expression identifies dynamic functional states within circulating breast cancer cells. Nature. 2016, 537(7618):102-106.
Aceto N, Bardia A, Miyamoto DT, Donaldson MC, Wittner B, Spencer JA, Yu M, Pely A, Engstrom A, Zhu H, Brannigan BW, Kapur R, Stott SL, Shioda T, Ramaswamy S, Ting DT, Lin CP, Toner M, Haber DA, Maheswaran S. Circulating tumor cell clusters are oligoclonal precursors of breast cancer metastasis. Cell. 2014, 158(5):1110-22.
Yu M, Bardia A, Aceto N, Bersani F, Madden MW, Donaldson MC, Desai R, Zhu H, Comaills V, Zheng Z, Stojanov P, Brachtel E, Sgroi D, Kapur R, Shioda T, Ting DT, Ramaswamy S, Getz G, Iafrate JA, Benes C, Toner M, Maheswaran S, Haber DA. Ex vivo culture of circulating breast tumor cells for individualized testing of drug susceptibility. Science. 2014, 345(6193):216-20.
Yu M*, Bardia A*, Wittner BS, Stott SL, Smas ME, Ting DT, Isakoff SJ, Ciciliano JC, Wells MN, Shah AM, Concannon KF, Donaldson MC, Sequist LV, Brachtel E, Sgroi D, Baselga J, Ramaswamy S, Toner M, Haber DA, Maheswaran S. Circulating breast tumor cells exhibit dynamic changes in epithelial and mesenchymal composition. Science. 2013, 339(6119): 580-584. *Equal contributions.
Yu M*, Ting DT*, Stott SL, Wittner BS, Ozsolak F, Paul S, Ciciliano JC, Smas ME, Winokur D, Gilman AJ, Ulman MJ, Xega K, Contino G, Alagesan B, Brannigan BW, Milos PM, Ryan DP, Sequist LV, Bardeesy N, Ramaswamy S, Toner M, Maheswaran S, Haber DA. RNA sequencing of circulating tumor cells implicates non-canonical WNT signaling in pancreatic cancer metastasis. Nature. 2012, 487(7408): 510-3. *Equal contributions.
Yu M, Lin G, Arshadi N, Kalatskaya I, Xue B, Haider S, Nguyen F, Boutros PC, Elson A, Muthuswamy LB, Tonks NK, Muthuswamy SK. Expression profiling during mammary epithelial cell 3D morphogenesis identifies PTPRO as a novel regulator of morphogenesis and ErbB2 mediated transformation. Mol. Cell Biol. 2012, 32(19):3913-24.
Yu M, Stott S, Toner M, Maheswaran S, Haber DA. Circulating tumor cells: approaches to isolation and characterization. J Cell Biol. 2011, 192(3): 373-82.
Yu M, Smolen GA, Zhang J, Wittner B, Schott BJ, Brachtel E, Ramaswamy S, Maheswaran S, Haber DA. A developmentally regulated inducer of EMT, LBX1, contributes to breast cancer progression. Genes Dev. 2009, 23(15):1737-42.
Additional Publication Citations
Awards and Affiliations
2005 Kevin King/John Miller Travel Scholarship Awards, SUNY Stony Brook
2011 Cancer Center Retreat Poster award, MGH Cancer Center
2013 American Cancer Society - MGH Institutional Research Grant Award, MGH
2014 Career Transition Award (K22), National Cancer Institute (NCI)
2014 Ming Hsieh Institute for Engineering Medicine for Cancer Award, USC
2015 Marni Levine Memorial Research Career Development Award, STOP CANCER Foundation
2015 Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation Faculty Fellowship Award, Baxter Foundation
2015 Pew-Stewart Scholar for Cancer Research, Pew Charitable Trusts
2015 Career Catalyst Research Grant (Awarded but declined), Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation
2015 “40 Under Forty” Award, Stony Brook University
2015 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2), NIH
2016 Wright Foundation Pilot Grant Award, Wright Foundation
2017 Finalist, Agilent Early Career Professor Award, Agilent
2017 Keynote speaker, The 4th Thomas Ashworth CTC and liquid biopsy symposium
2018 Elected Vice Chair (2020) and Chair (2022) for GRC Liquid Biopsy for Cancer
2018 Pilot Grant award, Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI)
2018 Richard N. Merkin Assistant Professorship, Richard N. Merkin Foundation
2019 The USC Broad Innovation Grant Award, USC Stem Cell Institute
2019 Breast Cancer Research Program Era of Hope Scholar Award, Department of Defense
2019 Keynote speaker, UCLA Molecular Biology Institute Retreat
2020 Keynote speaker, SelectBio Circulating Biomarkers Conference
Grants and Contracts
1R01CA252752-01 (PI: Yu)
Mechanisms of SEMA4D mediated breast cancer to brain metastasis
BC190453 Era of Hope Scholar Award (PI: Yu)
Understanding and targeting breast cancer metastasis-initiating circulating tumor cells and niches
2014 - 2021 Assistant Professor, Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine & Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Southern California
2021 - 2023 Associate Professor, Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, & Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Southern California
2023 –present Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology & Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Lab positions available
Postdoctoral Fellow position in Cancer Research
Understanding the mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis
The Min Yu Lab at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore has openings for 2 Postdoctoral Fellows. We study the molecular mechanisms underlying breast cancer metastasis. We seek to understand mechanisms that promote circulating tumor cell survival and adaptation in secondary organs to form metastasis. We utilize common breast cancer cell lines, patient-derived circulating tumor cells and tumor tissues, with in vitro and in vivo studies and state-of-the-art technologies, including single cell multi-omics and spatial transcriptomics, to evaluate epigenetic and microenvironmental regulations during the metastatic process. Ongoing projects focus on brain metastasis, bone metastasis, tumor microenvironment induced long term effect, as well as the interplay of hormone receptors (ER and AR). Our long-term goal is to identify critical mechanisms that can be targeted for suppressing and treating metastasis. We strive to foster a lab environment that is inspiring, innovative, and critical, as well as supportive, collegial, and inclusive.
The ideal candidate should have a relevant technical expertise and strong communication and writing skills.
Candidates should have earned a PhD degree (or equivalent) in biology, genetics, molecular cell biology, biomedical sciences, biomedical engineering, computational biology or a related field. The ideal candidate preferably has experience in cancer biology, molecular biology, epigenetics and/or analysis of large datasets. We particularly encourage applications from any underrepresented or minority group.
Qualified applicants should send a letter describing their current and future research interests, their CV, and names and contact details for two references to Min.Yu@som.umaryland.edu.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Minorities, women, protected veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.