Aiming Yu, Ph.D.

2130 Oak Park Research Building
2700 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 96817
Ph: 916-734-1566
Fax: 916-734-4418

Research Interests

Dr. Yu’s research interests include drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, noncoding RNAs, anticancer pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. The ultimate goal of his research is to translate noncoding RNAs to new therapies. Current efforts in his laboratory are directed to the investigation of (a) the mechanistic actions of microRNAs in the regulation of cellular processes including drug/xenobiotic/nutrient metabolism and disposition as well as tumor progression and metastasis, (b) novel RNA bioengineering technologies, and (c) recombinant RNAs for basic research and drug development.

Dr. Yu also directs the PK/PD Bioanalytical Core Facility that provides services in support of the clinical and preclinical drug development programs, and the Molecular Pharmacology Shared Resources at the NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Davis that supports high-quality collection, processing and analysis of clinical specimens and conducts preclinical modeling and evaluation of novel anticancer agents or combination.

Graduate Group Affiliations

See other publications on: PubMed | Google Scholar


  1. Traber G, Yu AM. "RNAi Based Therapeutics and Novel RNA Bioengineering Technology". J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther.384(1):133-154 (2023).
  2. Yu AM and Tu MJ. "Deliver the promise: RNAs as a new class of molecular entities for therapy and vaccination". Pharmacol Ther. 230:107967 (2022).
  3. Deng L, Petrek H, Tu MJ, Batra N, Yu AX, Yu AM. "Bioengineered miR-124-3p prodrug selectively alters the proteome of human carcinoma cells to control multiple cellular components and lung metastasis in vivo". Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B. 11(12):3950-3965 (2021).
  4. Petrek H, Ho PY, Batra N, Tu MJ, Zhang QY, Qiu JX, Yu AM. "Single bioengineered ncRNA molecule for dual-targeting toward the control of non-small cell lung cancer patient-derived xenograft tumor growth". Biochem Pharmacol. 189:114392 (2021).
  5. Choi YH, Zhang C, Liu Z, Tu MJ, Yu AX, Yu AM. "A novel integrated pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic model to assess combination therapy and determine in vivo synergism". J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 377(3):305-315 (2021). (Front Cover of the June 2021 Issue).
  6. Li PC, Tu MJ, Ho PY, Batra N, Tran MML, Qiu JX, Wun T, Lara PN, Hu X, Yu AX, Yu AM. "In vivo fermentation production of humanized noncoding RNAs for functional and experimental therapeutic studies". Theranostics. 11(10):4858-4871 (2021).
  7. Tu MJ, Duan Z, Liu Z, Zhang C, Bold RJ, Gonzalez FJ, Kim EJ, Yu AM. "MicroRNA-1291-5p sensitizes pancreatic carcinoma cells to arginine deprivation and chemotherapy through the regulation of arginolysis and glycolysis". Mol Pharmacol. 98(6):686-694 (2020).
  8. Yu AM, Choi YH, Tu MJ. "RNA drugs and RNA targets for small molecules: Principles, progresses, and challenges". Pharmacol Rev. 72(4):829-861 (2020).
  9. Umeh-Garcia M, Simion C, Ho PY, Batra N, Berg A, Carraway III K, Yu AM, Sweeney C. "A novel bioengineered microRNA-127 prodrug suppresses the growth and metastatic potential of triple negative breast cancer cells". Cancer Res. 80(3):418-429 (2020).
  10. Yi WR, Tu MJ, Liu Z, Zhang C, Batra N, Yu AX, Yu AM. "Bioengineered miR-328-3p modulates GLUT1-mediated glucose uptake and metabolism to exert synergistic antiproliferative effects with chemotherapeutics". Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B. 10(1):159-170 (2020).
  11. Petrek H, Batra N, Ho PY, Tu MJ, Yu AM. "Bioengineering of a single long non-coding RNA molecule that carries multiple small RNAs". Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 103(15):6107-6117 (2019).
  12. Xu J, Sun J, Ho PY, Ma W, Luo Z, Xie W, Yu AM, Li S. "Creatine Based Polymer for Codelivery of Bioengineered MicroRNA and Chemodrugs against Breast Cancer Lung Metastasis", Biomaterials. 210:25-40 (2019).
  13. Jilek JL, Zhang QY, Tu MJ, Ho PY, Duan Z, Yu AM. "Bioengineered Let-7c Loaded Lipopolyplex Inhibits Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Improves Overall Survival with Minimal Immunogenicity". Mol. Ther. Nucleic Acids. 14:498-508 (2019).
  14. Yu AM, Jian C, Yu AH, Tu MJ. "RNA Therapy: Are we using the right molecules?" Pharmacol Ther. 196:91-104 (2019).
  15. Tu MJ, Ho PY, Zhang QY, Jian C, Qiu JX, Kim EJ, Bold RJ, Gonzalez FJ, Bi H, Yu AM. "Bioengineered miRNA-1291 prodrug therapy in pancreatic cancer cells and patient-derived xenograft mouse models". Cancer Lett. 442:82-90 (2019).
  16. Ho PH, Duan Z, Batra N, Jilek JL, Tu MJ, Qiu JX, H Z, Wun T, Lara PN, DeVere White RW, Chen HW, Yu AM. "Noncoding RNA carrier (nCAR) enables high-success-rate, high-yield production of target RNAi agents in bacterial fermentation to modulate human cell transcriptome". J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 365(3):494-506 (2018).
  17. Jilek JL, Tian Y and Yu AM. "Effects of MicroRNA-34a on the Pharmacokinetics of Cytochrome P450 Probe Drugs in Mice". Drug Metab Dispos. 45(5):512-522 (2017).
  18. Yu AM, Tian Y, Tu MJ, Ho PY, Jilek JL. "MicroRNA pharmacoepigenetics: Posttranscriptional regulation mechanisms behind variable drug disposition and strategy to develop more effective therapy". Drug Metab Dispos. 44(3):308-319 (2016).
  19. Wang WP, Ho PY, Li MM, Chen QX, Addepalli B, Tu MJ, Limbach PA, Li MM, Wu WJ, Jilek JL, Qiu JX, Zhang HJ, Li T, Wun T, DeVere White R, Lam KS, Yu AM. "Bioengineering novel chimeric microRNA-34a for prodrug cancer therapy: High-yield expression and purification, and structural and functional characterization". J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 354(2):131-141 (2015).
  20. Chen QX, Wang WP, Zeng S, Uroyama S, Yu AM. "A general approach to high-yield biosynthesis of chimeric RNAs bearing various types of functional small RNAs for broad applications". Nucleic Acids Res, 43(7):3857-3869 (2015).


  1. JP Patent No. 2016-569679, Issued on February 17, 2022.
  2. US Patent No. 11,041,201, Issued on June 22, 2021.
  3. European Patent No. 3150980, Granted on May 20, 2020.
  4. US Patent No. 10,619,156, Issued on April 14, 2020.

Graduate Courses

  • VMB253 Drug Metabolism and Disposition
  • PTX201 Principles of Pharmacology and Toxicology I
  • BCB299 Research
  • PTX299 Research
  • GGG299 Research
  • BIM299 Research

Undergraduate Courses

  • BCM199 Special Study
  • CHE199 Special Study


Dr. Aiming Yu, PI DM/PK/PD, anticancer pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, RNA technology and therapy
Dr. Meijuan Tu, Project Scientist DM/PK/PD, anticancer pharmacology and therapy
Dr. Neelu Batra, Specialist Cancer research, RNA technology and therapy
Dr. Su Guan, Specialist Bioanalysis, DM/PK/PD, molecular pharmacology and anticancer therapy
Mr. Gavin Traber, GSR (BMCDB) RNA technology and therapy, cancer metabolism, lung cancer
Ms. Colleen Yi, GSR (IGG) RNA technology, gene regulation, GI malignancies
Mr. Joseph Cronin, GSR (PTX) Anticancer pharmacology and therapy, GI malignancies
Ms. Yimei Wang, GSR (PTX) DM/PK/PD, anticancer pharmacology and therapy
Mr. Nathan Magee, UG Biochemistry and molecular medicine
Mr. Frank Mao, UG Biochemistry and molecular medicine
Ms. Rima Vyas, UG RNA technology and molecular medicine

Recent Alumni (partial list)

Linglong Deng (2019-2021) Resident, Wuhan University Zhongnan Hospital, China
Young Hee Choi (2019-2020) Professor, Dongguk University, Korea
Zhenzhen Liu (2018-2020) Faculty, Yangtze University, China
Chao Zhang (2018-2019) Manager, Sciex China
Xin Li (2016-2018) Faculty, Guangzhou Medical University, China
Alice C. Rodrigues (Oct. 2016) Associate Professor, University of São Paulo, Brazil
Qianyu Zhang (2015-2018) Faculty, Chongqing University, China
Hannah Petrek (2015-2019) Clinical Scientist, Genentech, CA
Ye Tian (2014-2015) Associate Professor, Northwestern Polytechnical University, China
Weipeng Wang (2013-2014) Professor, Soochow University, China
Joseph L. Jilek (2014-2018) Study Director at Labcorp Drug Development, Madison, WI
Chao Jian (2014-2017) Physician, Wuhan University Zhongnan Hospital, China
Pui Yan Ho (2013-2018) Clinical Scientist, Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA
Qiuxia Chen (2012- 2015) Senior Biologist, Hitgen Inc., China
Meimei Li (2011-2014) Faculty, Guangzhou Medical University, China