An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
Jianhua Yu

Jianhua Yu, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation
Research Focus
  • NK cell biology
  • Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) NK and CAR T cells
  • Oncolytic virus
  • Gene regulation and cell signaling in immune response and malignant transformation
  • Blood and marrow stem cell transplantation
  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Glioblastoma

Research Teams

  • Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation
Jianhua Yu, Ph.D., has joined City of Hope as a professor in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. He is a member of the Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute and founding director of the NK Cell Biology Research Program within the Center for T Cell Immunotherapy of the institute.
Yu’s research interests include NK cell biology, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) NK cells, CAR T cells, oncolytic virus, bispecific antibodies, natural product-based therapeutics and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. His lab focuses on both basic and translational research relevant to developing innovative cellular immunotherapy and oncolytic virotherapy for the treatment of cancers such as multiple myeloma, acute myeloid leukemia and glioblastoma.
Prior to joining City of Hope, Yu was a tenured professor in the Division of Hematology of the College of Medicine and the Comprehensive Cancer Center at The Ohio State University. Yu received his Ph.D. degree from Purdue University in 2003 and then moved to The Ohio State University for his postdoctoral training, where he subsequently accepted a junior faculty position and advanced through the tenure track.
Yu has authored or co-authored over 160 publications, many of the which are in high-impact journals, in the field of natural killer cell biology, cancer immunotherapy, oncolytic virotherapy, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, etc. Work from Yu and his colleagues has also resulted in about 10 patents (awarded or pending).
In 2015, Yu received The Jack Latham Memorial Award for Innovative Research from the American Association of Blood Banks and the Janet D. Rowley Medical Award from Gabrielle's Angel Foundation and FAME Faculty of the Year Award for researchers from College of Medicine at The Ohio State University. Yu is a scholar at several national research foundations including the National Blood Foundation Scholar and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1500 East Duarte Road

Duarte, CA 91010

  • Xu B, Ma R, Russell L, Yoo JY, Han J, Cui H, Yi P, Zhang J, Nakashima H, Dai, H, Chiocca EA, Kaur B, Caligiuri MA, Yu J. An oncolytic herpesvirus expressing E-cadherin improves survival in mouse models of glioblastoma. Nature Biotechnology. 2019. 37 (1), 45–54. doi: 10.1038/nbt.4302.
  • Dong W, Wu X, Ma S, Wang Y, Nalin AP, Zhu Z, Zhang J, Benson DM, He K, Caligiuri MA* and Yu J*. The mechanism of anti-PD-L1 antibody efficacy against PD-L1 negative tumors identifies NK cells expressing PD-L1 as a cytolytic effector. Cancer Discovery. Cancer Discovery. July 24 2019 DOI:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-18-1259.
  • Wang Y-W, Zhang Y, Yi P, Dong W, Nalin AP, Zhang J, Zhu Z, Chen L, Benson DM, Mundy-Bosse BL, Freud AG, Caligiuri MA, Yu J. The IL-15-AKT-XBP1s signaling pathway contributes to effector functions and survival in human NK cells. Nature Immunology, 2019 Jan;20(1):10-17. doi: 10.1038/s41590-018-0265-1.
  • Wang Y, Chu J, Yi P, Dong W, Saultz JN, Wang Y, Wang H, Scoville SD, Zhang J, Wu LC, Deng Y, He X, Mundy-Bosse BL, Freud AG, Wang LS, Caligiuri MA, Yu J. SMAD4 promotes TGF-β-independent NK cell homeostasis and maturation and antitumor immunity. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2018 Nov 1;128(11):5123-5136.
  • Wang Y, Zhang Y, Hughes T, Zhang J, Caligiuri MA, Benson DM, Yu J. Fratricide of NK Cells in Daratumumab Therapy for Multiple Myeloma Overcome by Ex Vivo Expanded Autologous NK Cells. Clinical Cancer Research.  2018 Aug 15;24(16):4006-4017.
  • Deng Y, Wang F, Hughes T, Yu J. FOXOs in cancer immunity: knowns and unknowns. Seminars in Cancer Biology. 2018 Jun;50:53-64. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2018.01.005. Epub 2018 Jan 5.
  • Wang Y, Dong W, Zhang Y, Caligiuri M, Yu J. Dependence of innate lymphoid cell 1 development on NKp46. PLoS Biology. 2018 Apr 27;16(4):e2004867. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2004867. eCollection 2018 Apr.
  • Chen L, Mao H, Zhang J, Chu J, Devine S, Caligiuri MA, Yu J. Targeting FLT3 by chimeric antigen receptor T cells for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Leukemia. 2017, 31(8):1830-1834.
  • Zhao S, Zhang L, Han J, Chu J, Wang H, Chen X, Wang Y, Tun N, Lu L, Bai X, Martha Y, Devine S, He X, Yu J. Conformal nanoencapsulation of allogeneic T cells mitigates graft-versus-host disease and retains graft-versus-leukemia activity. ACS Nano. 2016, 10(6):6189-200. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.6b02206. PMID: 27224853.
  • Han J, Chen X, Chu J, Xu B, Meisen WH, Chen L, Zhang L, Zhang J, He X, Wang QE, Chiocca EA, Kaur B, Caligiuri MA, Yu J. TGFβ Treatment Enhances Glioblastoma Virotherapy by Inhibiting the Innate Immune Response. Cancer Research. 2015 Dec 15;75(24):5273-82.
  • Deng Y, Kerdiles Y, Chu J, Yuan S, Wang Y, Chen X, Mao H, Zhang L, Zhang J, Hughes T, Deng Y, Zhang Q, Wang F, Zou X, Liu C-G, Freud AG, Li X, Caligiuri MA, Vivier E, Yu J. Transcription factor Foxo1 is a negative regulator of natural killer cell maturation and function. Immunity.  2015 Mar 17;42(3):457-70. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2015.02.006.
  • Chu J, He S, Deng Y, Zhang J, Peng Y, Hughes T, Yi L, Wang QN, Kwon C-H, He X, Bai XF, Hofmeister CC, Yu J. Genetic modification of T cells redirected toward CS1 enhances eradication of myeloma cells. Clinical Cancer Research. 2014 Aug 1;20(15):3989-4000. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-2510.
  • Chu J, Deng Y, Benson DM Jr, He S, Hughes T, Zhang J, Peng Y, Mao H, Yi L, Ghoshal K, He X, Devine DM, Zhang X, Caligiuri MA, Hofmeister CC, Yu J. CS1-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered natural killer cells enhance in vitro and in vivo antitumor activity against human multiple myeloma. Leukemia. 2014. 28(4):917-27. doi: 10.1038/leu.2013.279. Epub 2013 Sep 26.
  • He S, Chu J, Wu LC, Mao H, Peng Y, Alvarez-Breckenridge CA, Hughes T, Wei M, Zhang J, Yuan S, Sandhu S, Vasu S, Benson DM Jr, Hofmeister C, He X, Ghoshal K, Devine SM, Caligiuri MA, Yu J. MicroRNAs activate natural killer cells through toll-like receptor signaling. Blood. 2013, 121(23):4663-4671. PMCID: PMC3674667.  Note: Commentary in Blood. 2013 Jun 6; 121(23):4612-3.
  • Yu J, Freud AG, Caligiuri MA. Location and cellular stages of NK cell development. Trends in Immunology. 2013 Sep; (13)00112-9.
  • Alvarez-Brackenridge CA*, Yu J*, Price R, Wojton J, Pradarelli J, Mao H, Wei M, Wang Y, He S, Hardcastle J, Fernandez S, Kaur B, Lawler SE, Vivier E, Mandelboim O, Moretta A, Caligiuri MA, Chiocca EA. NK cells impede glioblastoma virotherapy through NKp30 and NKp46 natural cytotoxicity receptors. Nature Medicine. 2012; 18(12):1827-34. *Co-first author.
  • Hsu S-H*, Wang B*, Kota J*, Yu J*, Costinean S, Kutay H, Yu L, Bai S, La Perle K, Chivukula RR, Mao H, Wei M, Clark KR, Mendell JR, Caligiuri MA, Jacob ST, Mendell JT, and Ghoshal K. Essential metabolic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic functions for miR-122 in mouse liver. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2012 Aug; 122(8):2871-83. *Co-first author.
  • Yu J*, Mitsui T, Wei M, Mao H, Butchar JP,  Shah MV, Zhang J, Mishra A, Alvarez-Breckenridge C, Liu X, Liu S, Yokohama A, Trotta R, Marcucci G, Benson DM Jr, Loughran TP Jr, Tridandapani S, Caligiuri MA*. NKp46 identifies an NKT cell subset susceptible to leukemic transformation in mouse and human. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2011 Apr; 121(4):1456–70. *Co-corresponding author.
  • Yu J*, Mao HC, Wei M, Hughes T, Zhang J, Park IK, Liu S, McClory S, Marcucci G, Trotta R, Caligiuri MA*. CD94 surface density identifies a functional intermediary between the CD56bright and CD56dim human NK cell subsets. Blood. 2010 Jan; 115(2):274-81. *Co-corresponding author. 
  • Yu J*, Ershler M, Yu L, Wei M, Hackanson B, Yokohama A, Mitsui T, Liu C, Mao H, Liu S, Liu Z, Trotta R, Liu CG, Liu X, Huang K, Visser J, Marcucci G, Plass C, Belyavsky AV, Caligiuri MA*. TSC-22 contributes to hematopoietic precursor cell proliferation and repopulation and is epigenetically silenced in large granular lymphocyte leukemia. Blood. 2009 May; 113(22):5558-67. *Co-corresponding author.
  • Yu J, Wei M, Becknell B, Trotta R, Liu S, Boyd Z, Jaung MS, Blaser BW, Sun J, Benson DM, Mao H, Yokohama A, Bhatt D, Shen L, Davuluri R, Weinstein W, Marcucci G, Caligiuri MA. Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine signaling: reciprocal antagonism regulates interferon-gamma production by human natural killer cells. Immunity. 2006 May; 24(5):575-90.
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