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Yajuan (Julia) Zhu
Senior Lecturer
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Growing up in China, Dr. Zhu went to Zhejiang University for her undergraduate education. After spending four wonderful years in the beautiful city, Hangzhou, she graduated with Bachelor of Engineering in Biochemical Engineering and Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science. Realizing that she is more interested in biology, Dr. Zhu began her graduate study in Bioengineering in National University of Singapore. After receiving her MSc in 2005, she moved to the US to continue her graduate study and got her PhD in Cell Biology and Immunology from Yale University in 2011. Dr. Zhu has been working at SUTD since her graduation from Yale in 2011. Her research interests include immunology, bioengineering and tissue engineering.

Education Background

  • PhD Cell Biology & Immunology, Yale University, 2011
  • MSc Bioengineering, National University of Singapore, 2005
  • Combined BEng Biochemical Engineering and BEng Computer Science, 2002

Research Interests

The previous multidisciplinary training allows Dr. Zhu to stand at the interface of engineering and science and encourages her to re-evaluate some critical bioengineering problems from unique angles. Among these problems, Dr. Zhu is particularly interested in tissue engineering, the development of a new generation of in vitro Immune-Organ models. By precisely incorporating cells of immune systems into a bio-mimetic tissue-engineered organ construct, the in vitro tissue model would predict acute irritation, chronic inflammation or allergic responses on human tissues to any drug or xenobiotic. Eventually, Dr. Zhu would like to develop a high-throughput screening platform to best mimic the in vivo immune system and to reduce the use of animals in pharmaceutical screening market.

Dr. Zhu is also interested in pedagogy research which promotes active learning in students. She has multiple research grants which focus on developing innovative pedagogy tools at SUTD. For example, Dr. Zhu played a leading role in integrating Chemistry and Biology courses at SUTD which helped students achieve a greater depth of understanding in both subjects and stimulated multidisciplinary thinking. Some of her other research areas include flipped classroom, visual laboratory, and gamified laboratory etc.

Awards & Achievements

  • SUTD Excellent in Teaching Award, 2017
  • College Teaching Certificate, Yale University Teaching Center, 2010
  • Yale University Fellowship Award, 2005-2011
  • President’s Graduate Fellowship Award, National University of Singapore, 2004
  • NUS Research Scholarship, National University of Singapore, 2003-2005
  • Distinguished Bachelor Dissertation Award, Zhejiang University, 2002

Key Publications

  1. Tan, U-Xuan; Zhu, Yajuan; Lee, Chee Huei; Toh, Tin Lam; Sze, Guan Kheng; Tay, Shirley; Wong, Darren; Pey, Kin-Leong. (2017) Preliminary study of Integrated Physics and Mathematics Bridging Course. Proceedings of 2017 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON)
  2. Rai, Bina; Zhu, Yajuan (Julia). (2017) Teaching Tips: The Flipped Classroom. SUTD Pedagogy Newsletter
  3. Zhang W., Wearsch P. Zhu Y and Cresswell P. (2011) A role for UDP-glucose glycoprotein glucosyltransferase in expression and quality control of MHC class I molecules. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (PNAS) U.S.A., vol. 108, pp. 4956-61
  4. Zhu Y., Zhang W., Veerapen N., Besra G. and Cresswell P. (2010) Calreticulin controls the rate of assembly of CD1d molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum. J. Biol. Chem., vol. 285, pp. 38283-92
  5. Zhang X., Tee Y.H., Heng J.K., Zhu Y., Hu X., Margadant F., Ballestrem C., Bershadsky A., Griffiths G. and Yu H. (2010). Kinectin-mediated endoplasmic reticulum dynamics supports focal adhesion growth in the cellular lamella. J. Cell. Sci., Vol. 123, pp. 3901-12
  6. Toh Y.C., Ng S., Khong Y.M., Zhang X., Zhu Y., Lin P.C., Te C.M., Sun W. and Yu H. (2006). Cellular response to a nanofibrous environment. Nano Today, Vol. 1, pp. 34-43
  7. Zhu Y., Ng S., Khong Y.M., He L., Toh Y.C., Pan X., Chia X., Lin P.C., Sun W. and Yu H. (2006). Multi-dimensional imaging of cell- and tissue-engineered constructs, Chapter in Multi-Modality Microscopy, pp. 257-88, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.