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.





Donna Hicks



  • 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. Satellite DNA. Yamashita, YM. 2022. Semin Cell Dev Biol , .
    doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2022.05.002PMID:35577697
  2. The regulation and potential functions of intronic satellite DNA. Fingerhut, JM, Yamashita, YM. 2022. Semin Cell Dev Biol , .
    doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2022.04.010PMID:35469677
  3. 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
  4. Defective Satellite DNA Clustering into Chromocenters Underlies Hybrid Incompatibility in Drosophila. Jagannathan, M, Yamashita, YM. 2021. Mol Biol Evol 38, 4977-4986.
    doi: 10.1093/molbev/msab221PMID:34302471
  5. me31B regulates stem cell homeostasis by preventing excess dedifferentiation in the Drosophila male germline. Jensen, L, Venkei, ZG, Watase, GJ, Bisai, B, Pletcher, S, Lee, CY, Yamashita, YM. 2021. J Cell Sci 134, .
    doi: 10.1242/jcs.258757PMID:34164657
  6. Molding immortality from a plastic germline. Raz, AA, Yamashita, YM. 2021. Curr Opin Cell Biol 73, 1-8.
    doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2021.04.010PMID:34091218
  7. Centrosome-centric view of asymmetric stem cell division. Chen, C, Yamashita, YM. 2021. Open Biol 11, 200314.
    doi: 10.1098/rsob.200314PMID:33435817
  8. Alstrom syndrome gene is a stem-cell-specific regulator of centriole duplication in the Drosophila testis. Chen, C, Yamashita, YM. 2020. Elife 9, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.59368PMID:32965218
  9. mRNA localization mediates maturation of cytoplasmic cilia in Drosophila spermatogenesis. Fingerhut, JM, Yamashita, YM. 2020. J Cell Biol 219, .
    doi: 10.1083/jcb.202003084PMID:32706373
  10. A kinesin Klp10A mediates cell cycle-dependent shuttling of Piwi between nucleus and nuage. Venkei, ZG, Choi, CP, Feng, S, Chen, C, Jacobsen, SE, Kim, JK, Yamashita, YM. 2020. PLoS Genet 16, e1008648.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008648PMID:32168327




Photo credit: Courtesy of the University of Michigan