Yu CAI, Ph.D, Senior Principal Investigator

Yu Cai obtained his B.Sc (1993) from Xiamen University, China and Ph.D (2003) from Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) (in Bill Chia/Xiaohang Yang lab), National University of Singapore, Singapore. He spent one year in the same lab as a postdoc before joining Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) as a Young Investigator (YI) in 2004. Currently, he is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Department of Biological Sciences, NUS, Singapore.

You may wish to contact Dr Yu CAI at:

Tel: (65) 6872 7000 ,6874 6279 (DID) or 6872 7419 (lab) Email: caiyu@tll.org.sg

For information on PhD studies at TLL, click HERE


Research Interests: Stem cells, which can self-renew and generate differentiated daughters, are responsible for the generation of diverse cell types during development and the maintenance of tissue homeostasis in adulthood. My laboratory deploys two organisms, Drosophila melanogaster and Aedes mosquitoes, to study stem cell biology in vivo. Using the well-established genetic model organism Drosophila melanogaster, we study the underlying mechanisms regulating germline stem cells, neural stem cells and intestinal stem cells. By extrapolating these knowledge, we are interested in the genetic and molecular mechanisms that control mosquito germline and midgut development. The immediate aim of our research is to investigate the mechanisms underlying Drosophila and Mosquito germline and midgut development. The long-term goal is to develop germline- and midgut- associated intervention methods for Mosquito vector control.

Current Projects: Drosophila melanogaster

  1. germline stem cells (GSCs) – to understand how the GSC niche is established; how its activity is spatially restricted to maintain germline homeostasis; and how germline response to the niche activity.
  2. neural stem cells – to investigate the molecular mechanisms of asymmetric cell divisions.
Aedes aegypti
  1. Germline – to study genetic and molecular mechanisms regulating mosquito germline development.
  2. Midgut – to study mosquito midgut development and understand its role in pathogen transmission.
  3. Tools – to establish genetic tools for mosquito research.
  4. Control – to develop novel gene drive system for vector control; to develop control methods targeting various developmental stages including eggs, larvae and adult.

Image 1: A Drosophila germarium stained with Tkv (red), Vasa (green), α-Spectrin (blue) and Hoechst (white)

Image 2: an Aedes Mosquito ovariole stained with Vasa (green) and Hoechst (white).