Yukiko Yamashita

Yukiko Yamashita

Professor of Biology; Core Member, Whitehead Institute; Co-Chair, Biology Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Yukiko Yamashita studies two fundamental aspects of multicellular organisms: how cell fates are diversified via asymmetric cell division, and how genetic information is transmitted through generations via the germline.





Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research


Donna Hicks



Assistant Phone


  • PhD, 1999, Kyoto University
  • BS, Biology, 1994, Kyoto University

Research Summary

Two remarkable feats of multicellular organisms are generation of many distinct cell types via asymmetric cell division and transmission of the germline genome to the next generation, essentially in eternity. Studying these processes using the Drosophila male germline as a model system has led us to venture into new areas of study, such as functions of satellite DNA, a 'genomic junk,' and how they might be involved in speciation.


  • Tsuneko and Reiji Okazaki Award, 2016
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Investigator, 2014
  • MacArthur Fellow, 2011
  • Women in Cell Biology Early Career Award, American Society for Cell Biology, 2009
  • Searle Scholar, 2008

Recent Publications

  1. The retrotransposon R2 maintains Drosophila ribosomal DNA repeats. Nelson, JO, Slicko, A, Yamashita, YM. 2023. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 120, e2221613120.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.2221613120PMID:37252996
  2. Analysis of Gene Expression Patterns and RNA Localization by Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization in Whole Mount Drosophila Testes. Fingerhut, JM, Yamashita, YM. 2023. Methods Mol Biol 2666, 15-28.
    doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-3191-1_2PMID:37166654
  3. Derepression of Y-linked multicopy protamine-like genes interferes with sperm nuclear compaction in D. melanogaster. Park, JI, Bell, GW, Yamashita, YM. 2023. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 120, e2220576120.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.2220576120PMID:37036962
  4. Fusome topology and inheritance during insect gametogenesis. Diegmiller, R, Imran Alsous, J, Li, D, Yamashita, YM, Shvartsman, SY. 2023. PLoS Comput Biol 19, e1010875.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1010875PMID:36821548
  5. Emergent dynamics of adult stem cell lineages from single nucleus and single cell RNA-Seq of Drosophila testes. Raz, AA, Vida, GS, Stern, SR, Mahadevaraju, S, Fingerhut, JM, Viveiros, JM, Pal, S, Grey, JR, Grace, MR, Berry, CW et al.. 2023. Elife 12, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.82201PMID:36795469
  6. Ribosomal DNA Instability as a Potential Cause of Karyotype Evolution. Li, D, Gandhi, D, Kumon, T, Yamashita, YM. 2022. Mol Biol Evol 39, .
    doi: 10.1093/molbev/msac221PMID:36223491
  7. Nonrandom sister chromatid segregation mediates rDNA copy number maintenance in Drosophila. Watase, GJ, Nelson, JO, Yamashita, YM. 2022. Sci Adv 8, eabo4443.
    doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abo4443PMID:35895823
  8. Satellite DNA. Yamashita, YM. 2022. Semin Cell Dev Biol 128, 1.
    doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2022.05.002PMID:35577697
  9. The regulation and potential functions of intronic satellite DNA. Fingerhut, JM, Yamashita, YM. 2022. Semin Cell Dev Biol 128, 69-77.
    doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2022.04.010PMID:35469677
  10. Stem cell niche signaling goes both ways. Raz, AA, Yamashita, YM. 2021. Dev Cell 56, 2267-2268.
    doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2021.08.003PMID:34428394




Photo credit: Courtesy of the University of Michigan