The Kimata group consists of talents from the world. We are constantly looking for passionate students and postdocs who are interested in the cell cycle and development.

Yuu Kimata, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor/Principal Investigator

Yuu developed his interest in the cell cycle during this PhD at Kyoto University in Japan. Under the supervision of Prof. Mitsuhiro Yanagida, Yuu studied the functions of one of the master cell cycle regulators, the ubiquitin ligase Anaphase Promoting Complex (APC/C) in a unicellular model organism, the fission yeast S. pombe. After the completion of his PhD, in 2004 he joined Dr Hiro Yamano's lab at Marie Curie Research Institute in the UK and investigated the catalytic mechanism of the APC/C using cell-free in vitro reconstituted systems, such as Xenopus egg extracts. After the short second postdoctoral research with Prof. David Glover, Yuu obtained Cancer Research UK Career Development Fellowship and set up his own lab at the Department of Genetics at Cambridge University in 2011. With his lab members Yuu started investigating the roles of the APC/C in the regulation of the centrosome in a multicellular model, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. After 7 years of research at Cambridge, in 2018 he took up Assistant Professor position at the School of Life Science and Technology at ShanghaiTech University. Since Yuu is continuing pursuing his strong interest in understanding the cell cycle control mechanism in multicellular organisms, including humans.
Outside the lab, Yuu enjoys playing basketball and are interested in art, fashion, travelling and self development. He also likes learning language and is currently learning Chinese to be a better communicator.

Maïté Leturcq, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate/Lab Meeting Organiser

Maïté (pronounced like "mighty") is a postdoctoral researcher from France. She studied Biochemistry and completed her PhD under Prof. Lefebvre at the University of Sciences and Technologies of Lille. During her PhD, she studied Glycobiology (Sugar biology) and investigated the roles of O-GlcNAcylation in the control of the cell cycle in human cells. In particular, she investigated the function and the dynamics of O-GlcNAcylation on Minichromosome Maintenance (MCM) helicase complex, the large protein complex essential for the initiation step of DNA replication.
She joined the Kimata lab as a postdoc in 2019. As the most experienced member, she also acts as a secondary supervisor, helping Yuu, in the lab and has been playing a leading role in the human cell project.
Although she is French, she is nice, kind and collaborative. She is one of the most helpful and the nicest of people in the world. She likes anime and music.

Yusanjiang Abula, MA.
Research Assistant

Yusanjiang obtained his Master's degree in Medical Biotechnology from Wageningen University in Netherlands. During his study, he participated in studies related to Immunology and Cellular Biology. In August 2018, he joined the Kimata lab as Research Assistant to further develop his research skills. While helping Dr Kimata with lab management and administration work, Yusanjiang is also working with other lab members to assist their work with human cell culture and Drosophila.

Qian Zhang (Amanda)
2nd-year PhD student/Social Event Organiser

Qian (Amanda) graduated from China Pharmaceutical University, majoring in pharmacy, and joined the Kimata lab in 2019.
Her work is to identify the developmental roles of the SnoN/Ski family of oncoproteins in Drosophila, in particular, their relevance to cell cycle control and the regulation of TGF-β family signalling pathways. She is the most senior student in the Kimata lab. She is an avid experimentalist who has nailed Drosophila experiments.

Rusong Ding (Luke)
4th year Master student/Lab Spokesman

Luke is one of the first students who joined the Kimata lab after its relocation to ShanghaiTech. He graduated from East China Normal University. In the lab Luke is leading the CCR screen project, working with June, Jane and Rin. while he enjoys science, his interest is not restricted to research; He is an avid language learner and reader and is an outstanding singer and a performer. He is extremely friendly and outgoing, so reasonably he serves as a lab spokesman, helping promote our lab! Some of his activities you can find in the News section.

Jin Man (Jane).
1st-year PhD student

Jane graduated from East China University of Science and Technology. I joined Kimata Lab in 2020, and mainly work on projects about the universal mechanisms which coordinates the cell cycle and cell differentiation with Luke.

Xian Shu (Susan)
4th-year Master student

Susan completed her Bachelor degree in the joint programme of Jishou University and Sun Yat-sen University,spending two years at each. In 2019 she was enrolled in the joint programme of the China Academic of Science and ShanghaiTech University and in 2020 she joined the Kimata lab, currently pursing her Master's degree.
Her project concerns the cell cycle control in the adult brain, focusing on the molecular mechanism controlling the proliferatio f neurons and neural stem cells by using the Drosophila brain as a model system.

Wei Guan (Nick)
3rd year Master student

Nick graduated from Henan Polytechnic University, majoring in Biotechnology. He joined the lab in April 2020. He is currently working on the development of multiple protein targeting systems in human cells, in cooperation with Maite and Yusanjiang.

Xue Xia (June)
2nd-year Master student

Xia Xue (June) graduated from Anhui Agricultural University with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Biological Science and joined Yuu Kimata’s lab at ShanghaiTech University in March 2021. In the Kimata lab she works in two different projects. In one project, collaborating with Luke and Jane, she is investigating the roles of cell cycle regulators in cell fate determination during Drosophila eye development. In the other project she is studying the mechanisms of tumour regression and post-tumour tissue reformation using the Drosophila adult midgut as a model.

Yaqi Sun (Rin)
Final year undergraduate student

Rin is an undergraduate student in the Biomedical Engineering course at ShanghaiTech University. She is interested in bioinformatics and is currently investigating the roles of cell cycle proteins in cell fate determination in the Drosophila eye imaginal disc, applying her skills into the analysis of gene expression with Luke and Jane.
Rin是生物医学工程专业的本科生,最近在学习生物信息方面的研究方法。很高兴能够加入Yuu’s Lab,这里有活跃的气氛,成员们也非常友好。

Yi Duan (Tiger)
Final year undergraduate student

Tiger is an undergraduate student majoring in BioMedical Engineering(Bioinformatics) in Shanghaitech University. He attended Yuu's Molecular and Cell Biology course in his course programme. During this course he became fascinated by the precision and beauty of the world inside the cell and later decided to join Kimata's lab. Currently, Tiger is doing his final year project in the Kimata lab, investigating the cell cycle control of Drosophila adult brain and gut, with Susan.
Outside the lab Tiger enjoys travelling and music.

Kangyi Mei (Coney)
3rd year undergraduate student/lab intern

Coney is a second-year undergraduate student at ShanghaiTech, majoring in Life Science. In the summer of 2021, she joined Kimata lab and is collaborating with Amanda to uncover the physiological role and the regulatory mechanism of the SnoN/Ski oncogene during Drosophila development.

Shiyao Zhang (William).
Joint Master's student

Former Lab Members

Chen Yang (Burty)
Undergraduate (ShanghaiTech)

Burty joined the Kimata lab as internship and later conducted his final year project, investigating the role of SnoN in Drosophila development in the collaboration with Amanda.

He graduated ShanghaiTech in 2021 and is currently pursuing his PhD at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Yidong Yang (Eden).
Master student (ShanghaiTech)
Alexis Braun PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate (11/2015 - 10/2017)
Joint Postdoc with David Glover's lab (11/2017 - present)

Alexis joined the Kimata lab in November 2015. Prior to this she completed her PhD in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, with Dr Isabel Palacios. She focused on understanding cell fate specification in the follicular epithelium of Drosophila melangaster during oogenesis, using transcriptional profiling and CRISPR/Cas9 genomic editing. Alexis is an expert in CRISPR-mediated genome editing and has brought the new technology to our research. Her primary focus is investigating the tumourigenic mechanism associated with APC/C-specific E2 enzyme, Vihar/UbcH10.

Since November 2017 she has been a joint postdoc with Professor David Glover's group and has started investigating the role of the centrioles in he Drosophila oocyte development whilst continuing working of Vih.

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Torcato Martins PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate (03/2014-08/2015)
Marie Curie Fellow (09/2015-01/2017)

After his PhD study on Polo kinase with Prof Claudio Sunkel at Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular (IBMC), he joined the lab of Dr Paulo Pereira to work on the interplay between TGF-b signalling pathway and nucleolus taking place during the development of Drosophila melanogaster. Equipped with the experience in two different fields of the cell cycle and developmental biology and the expertise in Drosophila genetics, Torcato joined the Kimata lab in March 2014 and has been the main force of the lab since. Torcato has been involved in a couple of projects including the investigation of the role of the APC/C-Nek2 axis in Wg signalling regulation and the centrosomal function of the APC/C. Torcato was selected as a Marie Curie Fellow in 2015 and has worked on his independent project on the understanding of the molecular mechanism of the cell cycle exit while contributing to the main projects in the Kimata lab.

In 2017 he has moved to Professor Sara Bray's lab at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and has been developing his own project with the aim to start his own lab soon.

Francesco Meghini
Postdoctoral Research Associate (10/2016-07/2017)
PhD Student (10/2012 - 09/2016).

After completion of his master study in Pisa, Italy, Francesco joined the Kimata lab in September 2012. He has been performing biochemical and cell-based screens to identify and analyse centrosomal APC/C substrates to gain insight into the molecular mechanism that regulates centrosome duplication cycle during the cell cycle.


Giulia Botti
ERASMUS Visiting Master Student (04/2016 - 09/2016).

Giulia was a visiting master student from the University of Bologna and she has been testing Biomolecular Fluorescence Complementation (BiFC) to investigate the regulation of the interaction between APC/C components. She has also been collaborating with Torcato to

Francesca Florio
ERASMUS Visiting Master Student (04/2015 - 09/2015).

Francesca investigated the functions and regulation of a centrosomal kinase Nek2 in wing, eye and brain development.

Gitte Warnack
Research assistant (11/2011 - 08/2015)

As the first member of the Kimata lab, Gitte has been working with Yuu since November 2011. Performing Drosophila work and molecular biology experiment, she has been assisting work of other lab members.

Xavier Tait PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate (05/2012 - 02/2015)

After his undergraduate study in Paris, Xavier moved to the UK to complete his PhD with Prof. Andrew Fry at the University of Leicester where he worked on a novel centrosomal protein Poc1 in human cultured cells. Bringing his knowledge on the centrosome and his skills in the cultured cell system to the Kimata lab, he has been investigating the physical interaction functional interactions between the APC/C and centrosome components.


Ala Alenazi
M.Phil student (01/2014 - 12/2014)

Ala has recently joined the Kimata group after her MA training at Imperial College London. Cooperating with Torcato she has been investigating the cell cycle exit during neurogenesis in Drosophila. Ala moved to Prof. Christine Watson's lab in the Department of Pathology to complete her PhD programme.

Chin Yap
M.Phil Student (09/2013 - 07/2014)

After his undergraduate studies at Imperial College London, Chin has joined the Kimata lab to work on Drosophila Vihar protein (UbcH10/Ube2c in humans) and its link to centrosome deregulations and tumorigenesis. After successfully obtaining his M.Phl, Chin has gone back to Singapore and has become a high school teacher, which is his dream profession.

Valentina Fajner
ERASMUS Visiting Master Student (04/2013 - 09/2013)

Valentina is a successor of Ilaria, who came to our lab to conduct her thesis research project from Univerity of Bologna. Working with Nadia, she studied asymmetric cell division and cell cycle exit in Drosophila neuroblasts. Valentina has now been pursuing her PhD at IFOM in Milan.

Nadia Ranieri PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate (02/2012- 08/2013)
Sang Chan
Research Assistant (05/2012 - 01/2013)
Ilaria Volpi MSc
ERASMUS Visiting Master Student (04/2012 - 09/2012)

Ilaria came to our lab to conduct her thesis research project from Univerity of Bologna in Italy. She investigated the role of F-box proteins, substrate receptor subunits of the SCF ubiquitin ligase complex. Since October 2013 she has been pursuing her PhD at University of Dundee.