Yukiko Yamashita

Yamashita joined the LSI in January 2007 as an assistant research professor and assistant professor in the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology at the Medical School.  Yamashita received both her BS and PhD in Biophysics from Kyoto University in Japan, and completed postdoctoral training in Margaret Fuller's laboratory at Stanford University.

In this era of post-genome projects, when we are supposed to be provided with all of the genetic information that creates and sustains life, we are still so far from understanding it, and we are left with so many genes with "unknown" function.  Why so?  We believe it is because we are far away from appreciating processes and strategies of life.  As a result, those genes that regulate such unknown processes/strategies are left without being assigned to any functions.

Our laboratory's philosophy in scientific pursuit is to take leads starting from any observations that do not fall into existing paradigm.  We take curious observations that cannot be easily explained by known mechanisms and processes as hints given by nature, and try to understand underlying reasons that can explain such curious observations.  In that we can never predict what we might find, scientific pursuit is nothing but an adventure, and we immensely enjoy the process of scientific discoveries/adventures.



  • BS, Biology, Kyoto University, Japan, 1994
  • PhD, Biophysics, Kyoto University, Japan, 1999
  • Postdoc at Stanford University, CA 2001-2006

Honors and Awards

  • 2016 The 2nd Tsuneko and Reiji Okazaki Award, Nagoya University, Japan
  • 2016 Rackham Faculty Recognition Award, University of Michigan
  • 2013 Dean's Basic Science Research Award, University of Michigan Medical School
  • 2012 Keck Foundation Award
  • 2011 MacArthur Foundation Award
  • 2009 Women in Cell Biology (WICB) Career Recognition Award (the Junior Award) from the American Society for Cell Biology
  • 2008 Searle Scholar
  • 2008-2010 March of Dimes, Basil O'Conner Starter Scholar Award