Yukiko Yamashita

Yukiko Yamashita

Professor of Biology; 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.





Laura Resteghini



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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Regulation of Nucleolar Dominance in Drosophila melanogaster. Warsinger-Pepe, N, Li, D, Yamashita, YM. 2020. Genetics 214, 991-1004.
    doi: 10.1534/genetics.119.302471PMID:32122935
  5. When the Family Treasure Is a Doormat. Yamashita, YM. 2020. Dev Cell 52, 3-4.
    doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2019.12.013PMID:31951554
  6. Mechanisms of rDNA Copy Number Maintenance. Nelson, JO, Watase, GJ, Warsinger-Pepe, N, Yamashita, YM. 2019. Trends Genet 35, 734-742.
    doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2019.07.006PMID:31395390
  7. Germline stem cell homeostasis. Nelson, JO, Chen, C, Yamashita, YM. 2019. Curr Top Dev Biol 135, 203-244.
    doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2019.04.006PMID:31155359
  8. Satellite DNA-containing gigantic introns in a unique gene expression program during Drosophila spermatogenesis. Fingerhut, JM, Moran, JV, Yamashita, YM. 2019. PLoS Genet 15, e1008028.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008028PMID:31071079
  9. The modular mechanism of chromocenter formation in Drosophila. Jagannathan, M, Cummings, R, Yamashita, YM. 2019. Elife 8, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.43938PMID:30741633
  10. Cell biology of stem cells: studying stem cells at the level of cell biology and studying cell biology using stem cells. Yamashita, YM. 2018. Mol Biol Cell 29, 2912.
    doi: 10.1091/mbc.E18-09-0596PMID:30475100



Photo credit: Courtesy of the University of Michigan