The Kimata group is a diverse team of talented individuals from around the world, dedicated to advancing our understanding of the cell cycle and development. We welcome enthusiastic students and postdocs who share our passion and are interested in joining our team.

Yuu Kimata / 木全谕宇, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor/Principal Investigator

Yuu's passion for the cell cycle began during his PhD studies at Kyoto University in Japan, where he worked under the supervision of Prof. Mitsuhiro Yanagida. There, he studied the functions of the Anaphase Promoting Complex (APC/C), one of the master regulators of the cell cycle, in the fission yeast S. pombe. After completing his PhD in 2004, he joined Dr Hiro Yamano's lab at the Marie Curie Research Institute in the UK, where he investigated the catalytic mechanism of the APC/C using cell-free, in vitro reconstituted systems such as Xenopus egg extracts. Following a brief second postdoctoral stint with Prof. David Glover, Yuu was awarded a Cancer Research UK Career Development Fellowship, which enabled him to establish his own lab at the Department of Genetics at Cambridge University in 2011. Together with his lab members, Yuu investigated the role of the APC/C in the regulation of the centrosome in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. After seven years of research at Cambridge, he took up an assistant professorship at the School of Life Science and Technology at ShanghaiTech University in 2018, where he continues to pursue his passion for understanding the mechanisms of cell cycle control in multicellular organisms, including humans.

When he's not in the lab, Yuu enjoys playing basketball and exploring his interests in art, fashion, travel, and personal development. He also has a passion for learning languages and is currently studying Chinese to improve his communication skills.

Maïté Leturcq, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Maïté (pronounced like "mighty") is a talented postdoctoral researcher from France who has made significant contributions to the Kimata lab since joining in 2019. With a background in Biochemistry and a PhD under Prof. Lefebvre at the University of Sciences and Technologies of Lille, she has specialized in Glycobiology and studied the roles of O-GlcNAcylation in the control of the cell cycle in human cells. Her research has focused on investigating the function and dynamics of O-GlcNAcylation on the Minichromosome Maintenance (MCM) helicase complex, a large protein complex essential for the initiation step of DNA replication.

As the most experienced member of the Kimata lab, Maïté has taken on a secondary supervisor role, helping Yuu in the lab and playing a leading role in the human cell project. She is known for being nice, kind, and collaborative, and is one of the most helpful and approachable people in the lab. In her free time, Maïté enjoys anime, music, and exploring new cultures.

Yusanjiang Abula (Yusa), MA.
Research Assistant

Yusanjiang obtained his Master's degree in Medical Biotechnology from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, where he participated in studies related to Immunology and Cellular Biology. In August 2018, he joined the Kimata lab as a Research Assistant to further develop his research skills. Alongside helping Dr Kimata with lab management and administration work, Yusanjiang has been actively involved in assisting other lab members with their work on human cell culture and Drosophila research.

Qian Zhang /张倩 (Amanda)
4th-year PhD student

Qian (Amanda) is a fourth-year PhD student at the Kimata lab. She graduated from China Pharmaceutical University with a major in pharmacy and joined the lab in 2019. Her research focuses on identifying the developmental roles of the SnoN/Ski family of oncoproteins in Drosophila, particularly their relevance to cell cycle control and the regulation of TGF-β family signaling pathways. Additionally, she has been investigating the role of protein degradation in controlling the centrosome during asymmetric cell division of Drosophila neural stem cells (Meghini et al., 2023). As the most senior student in the lab, she has become an expert in Drosophila experiments and is a dedicated and skilled experimentalist.

Jin Man / 满金 (Jane)
2nd-year PhD student

Jane graduated from East China University of Science and Technology and joined the Kimata Lab in 2020. She took over the CCR screen project from Luke and has been working on this project. currently, she is focusing on the role of CDK1 in the coordination between cell cycle and cell differentiation, together with June.

Xue Xia /夏雪 (June)
3rd-year Master student

June graduated from Anhui Agricultural University with a bachelor's degree in Applied Biological Science and joined the Kimata Lab at ShanghaiTech University in March 2021. She is involved in two different projects in the lab. In the first project, she collaborates with Luke and Jane to investigate the roles of cell cycle regulators in cell fate determination during Drosophila eye development. In the second project, she studies the mechanisms of tumor regression and post-tumor tissue reformation using the Drosophila adult midgut as a model.

Zhaoru Zhang /张昭如 (Ruby)
2nd-year Master student

Ruby obtained her biology degree from Hua Zhong Agricultural University and is currently pursuing her second-year master's degree. She has been working closely with our expereinced postdoc Maite, as well as our research assistant Yusanjiang, and former team member Nick, and has been showing great potential as a new scientist. Ruby is currently leading a project that investigates a new function of CDK4/6 in cultured human cells.

Beyond her research, Ruby enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and playing soccer, and she strongly believes in the power of restful sleep. We are thrilled to have her as a part of our team and eagerly anticipate the contributions she will make to our ongoing research projects.

Xinyue Wu /吴欣月(Luna)
1st-year Master student

1st-year master student
Luna graduated from Nanjing Forestry University and joined the Kimata Lab at Shanghai Tech University in March 2023. She is currently working with Maïté, Ruby and Yusanjiang to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in the quiescence versus proliferation decision and the G0 state establishment in human cells.
Besides her study and research, Luna loves Japanese anime and takes it as opportunity to learn Japanese.


Fangxia Wang /王芳霞 (Faye)
1st-year Master student

Faye graduated from the Animal Science program at Southwest University and joined the Kimata Lab at ShanghaiTech University for her master's degree in 2023. She is currently working with Jane and June on studying the role of the cell cycle regulator CDK1 in coordinating cell cycle progression and differentiation using the fruit fly eye as a model. Her research focuses on identifying the signaling pathways involved in CDK1's specific functions. In her free time, Faye enjoys fitness, badminton, and self-studying various musical instruments.


Ran Hong /冉虹 (Rena)
1st-year Master student

Rena, who graduated from Chongqing University, joined Kimata Lab in March 2023. She is currently collaborating with senior students Jin and Xue to investigate the role of CDK1 kinase in the early differentiation of Drosophila eye discs, using the eye disc as a model. Rena's dedication to her work and her keen interest in developmental biology make her a valuable member of our team.


Yang Li / 李洋 (Lewis)
1st-year Master student

Liyang joined our lab in March 2023 after receiving his Bachelor's degree from Dalian Ocean University. He is passionate about the field of developmental biology and has a strong desire to contribute to cutting-edge research in the area of cell cycle regulation.

As a member of our team, Liyang is responsible for designing and conducting experiments related to the development of the CDK1 sensor and live imaging methods for Drosophila eye imaginal discs. The CDK1 sensor is an essential tool for visualizing CDK1 activity, while live imaging techniques provide powerful insights into the development of eye imaginal discs. We are thrilled to have Liyang as a member of our lab and look forward to seeing the exciting contributions he will make to our ongoing research projects.


Former Lab Members

Wei Guan (Nick)
graduated in 2022

Nick graduated from Henan Polytechnic University, majoring in Biotechnology. He joined the lab in April 2020. He worked on the development of multiple protein targeting systems in human cells, in cooperation with Maite and Yusanjiang.
Nick graduated in 2022 and is currently working at a biotech company.

Xian Shu (Susan)
graduated in 2022

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 concerned 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. She is currently working at a biotech company.

Rusong Ding (Luke)
graduated in 2021

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. He graduated in 2021 and is currently working in a biomedical company.

Shiyao Zhang (William).
graduated in 2021

He joined Kimata's lab in 2019 but he decided to pursue computer science. He graduated in 2021 and is currently pursuing his PhD at Queen Mary University in London, United Kingdom.

Yaqi Sun (Rin)
Graduated in 2021

Rin is an undergraduate student in the Biomedical Engineering course at ShanghaiTech University. She is interested in bioinformatics and investigated 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 graduated from ShanghaiTech in 2021 and has recently been enrolled in the PhD programme at Kyoto University in Japan.
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)
graduated in 2021

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. Tiger conducted his final year project in the Kimata lab, investigating the cell cycle control of Drosophila adult brain and gut, with Susan.
He graduated in 2020 and is currently pursuing his PhD in biology at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
Outside the lab Tiger enjoys travelling and music.

Kangyi Mei (Coney)
undergraduate student/lab intern

Coney was 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.

Chen Yang (Burty)
graduated in 2020

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.