Professor Jun YU is Choh-Ming Li Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). She is currently the Director of Institute of Digestive Disease, Assistant Dean of Faculty of Medicine (mainland affair), Director of State Key Laboratory of Digestive Disease, and Director of Research Laboratory of Institute of Digestive Disease at CUHK.

Professor Yu obtained MD and PhD at Tongji Medical University in 1994. She then embarked on a gastrointestinal specialist at the Beijing University, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Magdeburg, Germany and CUHK, and worked as a senior research officer at the University of Sydney. She has joined CUHK in 2005 and become a Professor of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics in 2011. She now serves as

  • Council Member of American Gastrointestinal Association (AGA) Microbiome and Microbial Diseases (2018-present);
  • Associate Chairman of Cancer and Gut Microbiome of China Anti-Cancer Association;
  • Vice-Chairman of Digestive Committee of China Women Physicians Association;
  • Associate Chairman of HK Scientist Association.

Professor Yu is also a member of the editorial boards of over 10 International journals, such as Deputy Chief Editor of J Gastroenterol Hepatol, Associate Editor of Oncogene, Scientific Reports and Editor for Gut, etc.

Over the years, Professor Yu has made innumerous new findings in the areas of gastrointestinal cancers in relation to the genomic and epigenomic molecular mechanisms, cancer biomarkers, cancer therapy, fatty liver disease and liver cancer. She has discovered over 10 new genes that suppress stomach cancer and reveal the genomic and epigenomic alterations in EBV-associated stomach cancer for the first time by integrated genome sequencing. All these discoveries are crucial to understanding the pathogenetic mechanisms of stomach cancer.

Professor Yu has found the genes that facilitate and suppress colon cancer; discovered driver mutations for the implementation of personalized cancer therapy, the biclonal origin of colon cancer and survival associated mutation signature in colon cancer; pioneered the non-invasive diagnostic biomarkers for colon cancer. These findings open up a new class of molecular mechanisms and diagnosis for colon cancer pathogenesis and give hope to the rapid prevalence of colon cancer in Hong Kong in recent years.

Normally when they approach the doctor, it’s at a late stage. It has a low chance to be controlled, and the only way they can be cured is by surgery,」 Professor Yu explains. 「We need to identify the patients at an early stage, ideally through using screening or noninvasive methods as a diagnostic tool. 

On the other hand, Professor Yu has also demonstrated some major discoveries in the pathogenetic mechanisms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which will comprehensively depict the molecular landscape of NAFLD by using unbiased systems biology approaches, thereby finding out the preventative and curative treatments.

Professor Yu’s research interests focus on molecular pathogenesis, microbiome and diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets of gastrointestinal cancers. She has over 440 peer-reviewed publications (115 papers IF>10, ISI citation 22,274, h index=75), 25 granted patents on GI cancer biomarkers and treatment targets, and 20 additional patents filed. The China FDA has approved two licenced detection kits of stool biomarker miRNA92a for the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer and blood methylation DNA RNF180 for the diagnosis of gastric cancer in clinical use.

Professor Yu’s contributions to the advancement of medical sciences have been recognized with over 30 prestigious awards: The National Natural Science Award 2021; Top 10 People in Global Intestinal Bacteria Study-Enthusiasm Daily 2019 List; He Liang He Li Science and Technology Progress Award 2018; AGA Council Oncology Research Mentor Award 2017; The WuXi PharmaTech Life Science and Chemistry Award 2017; The National Natural Science Award 2016; The National Scientific and Technological Progress Award (Innovation Team) 2016; Croucher Senior Research Fellowship 2016; The National Science and Technology Progress Award 2012, to name but a few.