Wai Haung Yu, PhD

Profile Headshot


Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology (in the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's

Dr. W. Haung (Ho) Yu received his PhD from the University of Toronto in Pharmacology, specializing in mechanisms of disease and metal binding proteins in Alzheimer's disease. During his PhD, he held several fellowships including the Alzheimer Society of Canada Doctoral fellowship, Ontario Graduate Studentship and was recipient of the first Sherman Award in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto. His work at UofT led to 12 publications including articles published in Journal of Neuroscience, Nature Cell Biology and others. After completing his degree, he moved to New York where he did his postdoc at New York University and Nathan Kline Institute while holding a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Posdoctoral Fellowship where his work focused on identifying the pathogenesis of protein clearance in Alzheimer's disease, in particular, defects in the autophagic-lysosomal system in the laboratory of Dr. Ralph Nixon. This work is considered amongst the most seminal research in the field and has received several thousand citations and led to many of the hallmarks methods for monitoring autophagy.

At Columbia University, Dr. Yu's lab continues to work on the protein clearance mechanism in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and tauopathies (FTD, PSP, CBD) identifying defects in intracellular and extracellular protein quality control and developing small moelcule therapies to reverse the pathogenic process. This work has been funded by NIH, Tau Consortium, ADDF, CurePSP, Alzheimer Association, Brightfocus and other translational funding mechanisms.

In addition to his research, Ho is active in the Advocacy and Outreach field, as co-founder of braiNY, the Greater New York City Chapter for the Society for Neuroscience, which received the Chapter of the Year award in 2013 and continues to serve the general public offering programs on neuroscience education and policy, as well as organizing public health and career advancement forums within this umbrella organization. As a member of the Society for Neuroscience's Government and Public Affairs Committee, Ho has also been active in engaging our local and federal politicians to support science research and education funding of NIH and NSF.

Email: why2102@cumc.columbia.edu


  • Cantonese

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • PhD, MSc, Pharmacology/Neuroscience, University of Toronto