Professor Di Yu

Chair in Paediatric Immunotherapy

Child Health Research Centre
Faculty of Medicine

Professorial Research Fellow

Frazer Institute
Faculty of Medicine

Overview

Professor Di Yu is a Chair in Paediatric Immunotherapy, Professor of Immunology, Director of Ian Frazer Centre of Children's Immunotherapy Research, and Head of Systems and Translational T-cell Immunology Laboratory (STTIL) at the University of Queensland. He received his PhD from Australian National University in 2007 and postdoctoral training at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research from 2008-2010. Before joining the University of Queensland, he was a faculty member at Monash University from 2011-2016 and at Australian National University ANU from 2017-2019. By investigating T cell functional subsets in human health and disease, he innovates "systems immunology" approaches to monitor personal immune status and designs new strategies to treat autoimmune diseases, infection, and cancer by controlling immune pathways.

Professor Yu has authored over 100 publications of basic and translational research in immunology, including Nature, Nature Immunology, Nature Medicine, Immunity and Science Immunology. He is a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher and among the world's top experts in follicular helper T cells. In recognition of his ground-breaking research, he has received several major awards from Australian Academy of Science (AAS), Australia Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS), the Australia and New Zealand Society for Immunology (ASI), Australian National Health and Medical Research Councial (NHMRC) and International Cytokine & Interferon Society (ICIS). He is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS).

Research Impacts

Professor Yu has made major contributions to T-cell immunobiology. He was the first to identify the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets – follicular helper T (Tfh) and follicular cytotoxic T (Tfc) cells. By revealing their novel functions and regulation. His findings have profoundly influenced the prevention (vaccination), diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune, infectious diseases and cancer.

He discovered the major molecular mechanism in controlling the differentiation and function of Tfh cells, which include the master transcription factor Bcl6 (2009, Immunity) and Roquin-mediated posttranscriptional regulation (2007, Nature). He led the research to develop a method to monitor the activity of Tfh cells in humans (2013, Immunity). He identified the metabolic hormone leptin and the ferroptosis-regulated survival pathway as physiological regulators of Tfh cell function and modulating vaccine response (2021, Nature communications; Nature Immunology). More recently, he discovered the bioavailability of Tfh-derived IL-21 is essential to control the quality of antibody responses (2023, Science Immunology). Furthermore, he identified that CD8+ Tfc cells control HIV infection in Tfh cells and EBV infection in B cells (2016, Nature Immunology). Also known as precursor exhausted T cells, they respond to immune checkpoint therapy blocking PD-1/PD-L1.

Professor Yu has established a broad collaboration network with clinicians. He co-led the first open-labelled (2016, Nature Medicine) and subsequently randomised controlled clinical trial (2020, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases) for low-dose IL-2 therapy in lupus. He co-led the clinical study showing that allergen immunotherapy improves defective follicular regulatory T cells in patients with allergic rhinitis (2019, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology). More recently, he co-led a team to develop VEGF antibodies linked to exosomes derived from regulatory T-cells to treat choroidal neovascularization (Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2021)

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University

Publications

  • Chen, Xin, Tsvetkov, Andrey S., Shen, Han-Ming, Isidoro, Ciro, Ktistakis, Nicholas T., Linkermann, Andreas, Koopman, Werner J. H., Simon, Hans-Uwe, Galluzzi, Lorenzo, Luo, Shouqing, Xu, Daqian, Gu, Wei, Peulen, Olivier, Cai, Qian, Rubinsztein, David C., Chi, Jen-Tsan, Zhang, Donna D., Li, Changfeng, Toyokuni, Shinya, Liu, Jinbao, Roh, Jong-Lyel, Dai, Enyong, Juhasz, Gabor, Liu, Wei, Zhang, Jianhua, Yang, Minghua, Liu, Jiao, Zhu, Ling-Qiang, Zou, Weiping ... Tang, Daolin (2024). International consensus guidelines for the definition, detection, and interpretation of autophagy-dependent ferroptosis. Autophagy. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2024.2319901

  • Li, Yanhong, Sang, Yifei, Chang, Yunjian, Xu, Chunfang, Lin, Yikong, Zhang, Yao, Chiu, Philip C.N., Yeung, William S.B., Zhou, Haisheng, Dong, Ningzheng, Xu, Ling, Chen, Jiajia, Zhao, Weijie, Liu, Lu, Yu, Di, Zang, Xingxing, Ye, Jiangfeng, Yang, Jinying, Wu, Qingyu, Li, Dajin, Wu, Ligang and Du, Meirong (2024). A Galectin-9–Driven CD11c high Decidual Macrophage Subset Suppresses Uterine Vascular Remodeling in Preeclampsia. Circulation, 149 (21), 1670-1688. doi: 10.1161/circulationaha.123.064391

  • Ye, Tong, Jiao, Zhouguang, Li, Xin, He, Zhanlong, Li, Yanyan, Yang, Fengmei, Zhao, Xin, Wang, Youchun, Huang, Weijin, Qin, Meng, Feng, Yingmei, Qiu, Yefeng, Yang, Wenhui, Hu, Lingfei, Hu, Yaling, Zhai, Yu, Wang, Erqiang, Yu, Di, Wang, Shuang, Yue, Hua, Wang, Yishu, Wang, Hengliang, Zhu, Li, Ma, Guanghui and Wei, Wei (2023). Inhaled SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for single-dose dry powder aerosol immunization. Nature, 624 (7992), 630-638. doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06809-8

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Grants

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Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Publications

Book Chapter

Journal Article

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors: