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



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. 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
  2. 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
  3. Satellite DNA. Yamashita, YM. 2022. Semin Cell Dev Biol 128, 1.
    doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2022.05.002PMID:35577697
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Centrosome-centric view of asymmetric stem cell division. Chen, C, Yamashita, YM. 2021. Open Biol 11, 200314.
    doi: 10.1098/rsob.200314PMID:33435817
  10. 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




Photo credit: Courtesy of the University of Michigan