Faculty Educator of the Month: May 2013

Dihua Yu, M.D., Ph.D.

Dihua Yu, M.D., Ph.D., Distinguished Teaching Professor; Hubert L. & Olive Stringer Distinguished Chair in Basic Science; Deputy Chair, Tenured Professor, and Biologist in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology; and Faculty Member at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston (GSBS), has been named the May 2013 Faculty Educator of the Month.

Dr. YuIn 2012, Dr. Yu received the rare honor of being awarded the title Distinguished Teaching Professor. This exclusive designation reflects the numerous educational contributions she has made over the course of her career, as awardees in The University of Texas System must display excellence in direct teaching, curriculum development and trainee evaluation, counseling and mentoring, educational administration, or scholarship and research.

Among Dr. Yu’s important educational efforts have been her contributions at the GSBS, where she served as Director of the Cancer Biology Program from 2005 to 2011. She currently is a member of the Executive Committee of the program, and she teaches the GSBS courses Cancer Cell Signaling and Cancer Biology. Furthermore, she is a member of the Review Committee for the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences Predoctoral Training Program at the GSBS.

At MD Anderson, Dr. Yu has had a broad spectrum of experience as an educator. For example, she is a faculty mentor for the TRIUMPH translational research postdoctoral fellow training program, Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas Graduate Training Program, and Julia Jones Matthews Cancer Research Scholar Program. Also, Dr. Yu is a member of the Executive Committee for the Cancer Biology Program and the National Institutes of Health-funded Surgical Oncology Fellow Research Program. Dr. Yu also has been a speaker on a long list of topics.

Dr. Yu has been active in personal training, as well. Specifically, she has chaired or served on 66 supervisory committees, 58 advisory committees, and 52 examining committees. In addition, she has been a research or faculty mentor for 69 postdoctoral research fellows, Ph.D. thesis advisor for 20 graduate students, mentor for 4 clinical residents and fellows, and mentor for 81 tutorial students at the GSBS.

Outside of MD Anderson and the GSBS, Dr. Yu’s educational work has included participation in an internship and two training programs at Rice University and instruction in three courses on cancer metastasis at universities in the People’s Republic of China. She also has served on advisory, supervisory, and examining committees and directly supervised undergraduate, graduate, and medical students throughout the world.

In addition to being named a Distinguished Teaching Professor, Dr. Yu has received numerous honors for her educational and scientific pursuits. In particular, she received The Distinguished Faculty Research Mentor Award at MD Anderson in 2012, the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award from The University of Texas System, and The 2012 Dallas/Fort Worth Living Legend Faculty Achievement Award in Basic Research. Dr. Yu also is an elected member of The University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education (2011), elected fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011), and a recipient of the BPW/Texas Award from the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women (2010). She was named Hubert L. & Olive Stringer Distinguished Chair in Basic Science in 2009 and was twice reappointed as a faculty member with the highest commendation at the GSBS (2007-2011 and 2012-2017).

Dr. Yu received her M.D. degree from Capital University of Medicine in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, in 1982 and her Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology and Cancer Biology from the GSBS in 1991. She went on to complete a fellowship in the Department of Tumor Biology at MD Anderson in 1991, as well. In addition, Dr. Yu has participated in the MD Anderson Faculty Leadership Academy (2006-2007).

Upon completion of her graduate training in 1991, Dr. Yu received her first National Institutes of Health grant and was promoted to Instructor in the Department of Tumor Biology in 1992. After a national search, she was recruited as the top candidate to be an Assistant Professor and Assistant Biologist in the departments of Surgical Oncology and Cancer Biology in 1994. She was promoted to Associate Professor and Associate Biologist in the departments of Surgical Oncology and Molecular and Cellular Oncology in 1998 and Professor and Biologist in 2002. Dr. Yu was named Deputy Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology in 2009.

Additionally, Dr. Yu has been Co-director of the Cancer Center Support Grant Program on Cell Biology and Signal Transduction since 2006, the Center for Biological Pathways since 2008, and the shRNA Core Facility since 2010. Also, she was appointed to the GSBS faculty in 1994, was named Co-director of the Cancer Center Support Grant Cell Biology and Signal Transduction Program in 2006, and served as Director of Research for the Division of Surgery from 2001 to 2006.

Dr. Yu has been a principal investigator, mentor, or project leader for 77 funded research projects at MD Anderson. Furthermore, she holds 12 patents and 1 technological license. Dr. Yu also has served on many study sections for a long list of funding agencies.

Currently, Dr. Yu is editor of the journals Oncology Report and Frontiers in Bioscience, foreign editor for the Chinese Journal of Pathology, and an associate editor for Cancer Research and Molecular Cancer. She also serves on the editorial boards of several other publications. Over the course of her career, Dr. Yu has written more than 105 articles published in peer-reviewed journals, 26 invited articles, 17 editorials, 15 book chapters, and 1 book.