Dihua Yu


Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center


Hubert L. & Olive Stringer Distinguished Chair in Basic Science


Capital Medical University, Beijing, P. R. C.          M.D.        1982        Medicine
Capital Medical University, Beijing, P. R. C.           M.S.        1985        Neuro-Cardio Physiology
Univ. of Texas Health Science Ctr., Houston, TX Ph.D.       1991        Molecular Cancer Biology


1991                Upjohn Award, Travel Award from AACR
1992                First Place Winner on Scientific Presentation, The Fourth SCBA International Symposium and Workshop in Singapore.
1996                Overseas-Scholar Award from the National Natural Science Foundation of P. R. China.
1999                Research Award from Texas Business and Professional Woman Organization
2000                E.N. Cobb Faculty Scholar Award for Research and Education Excellence, U.T. MDACC
2001                Health Science Center Honors Convocation Recipient
2004-2006       Dean’s Excellence Award, Recipient of Honors Convocation of the U. T. Health Science Center
2007 & 2013    Faculty Educator of the Month, U.T. MDACC
2010                Texas Business and Professional Woman Award, Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women
2011                Elected Academy Member, the University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education
2011                Elected AAAS Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
2012-               University Distinguished Teaching Professor, U.T.  MDACC
2012                Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, The University of Texas System
2012                The Distinguished Faculty Research Mentor Award, UT MDACC
2012                The Dallas/Fort Worth Living Legend Faculty Achievement Award in Basic Research, UT MDACC
2013                Achievement Award, Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America (SCBA)
2014-               Awarded Sowell-Huggins Professorship in Cancer Research, UT-GSBS
2016                The I. J. Fidler Innovator Award in Metastasis Research, Metastasis Research Society
2017                Impact Award, Breast Cancer Society, Taiwan.



Following are highlights of some of Dr. Yu’s specific experience in, and contributions to, cancer prevention and cancer immunology studies. Aiming at early intervention of the transition of non-invasive DCIS to invasive breast cancer (IBC), Dr. Yu’s team studied key drivers of this deadly transition and found that 14-3-3ζ cooperates with ErbB2 to promote the transition; and co-targeting 14-3-3zeta and ErbB2 effectively intervened DCIS progression to IBC (Cancer Cell, 2009). Next, they revealed that 14-3-3ζ also turns off TGF-β's tumor suppressor function in non-malignant breast epithelial cells and turns on its metastasis promoter function in cancer cells; and targeting 14-3-3ζ inhibited breast cancer progression (Cancer Cell, 2015). In 2009, I built a multidisciplinary team of experts from various institutions (MDACC, Duke U., Rice U., & George Mason U.) which were funded by a S. G. Komen Promise grant (PI: D. Yu, ended Sept., 2015) to identify targetable molecular alterations in early-stage ER- breast lesions, and test targeted agents on prevention of ER- disease in preclinical models. These findings led to a phase II clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier: NCT01471106) that was successfully completed in 2017. For cancer immunology research, they found that combinatorial treatment (Herceptin and a PI3K/Akt inhibitor) activated CD8+ T-cells in HER2+ breast cancer cells, and anti-CTLA-4 antibody further enhanced the antitumor activity of this combination (Cancer Res., 2012). Recently, the research team discovered that EZH2 can promote brain metastasis via inducing brain infiltration of immunosuppressive neutrophils that inhibit CD8+ T cell function, which could be clinically targeted for brain metastasis treatment using anti-PD-L1 and anti-CTLA-4 antibodies (Science Transl. Med. 5/2020). This PREVENT Concept proposal builds on these prior works and experience.



List of published work in Google Scholar: