Oliver Yu, PhD

Adjunct Associate Professor

Plant Science & Technology

Contact Information

Email oliver.yu@conagen-inc.com
Phone 314-753-0042
Address Conagen, Inc., Bedford, MA


BS, Biophysics, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
PhD, Molecular Biology, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Postdoc., Biochemistry and Genetics, DuPont Crop Genetics, Wilmington, DE


Oliver Yu is currently the chief science officer of Conagen Inc, which is a synthetic biology company originally span off from the Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis. His research focuses on the enzymatic interactions between the key enzymes in the phenylpropanoid and terpenoid pathways and metabolic engineering of secondary metabolite production in industrial microbes.

Specifically, his group studies the mode of action of the key enzymes involved in the synthesis of flavonoids and terpenoids. They attempt to utilize metabolic channeling among the multi-enzyme complexes in different pathways to increase metabolic flux. To engineer targeted compounds in micro-organisms, genetic, biochemistry, and synthetic biology tools are employed in multi-discipline approaches.

The group is also specialized in understanding of modification enzymes of secondary metabolites in plants and fungi. We are investigating enzymes in glycosylation, methylation, hydroxylation, and other common modifications. These enzymes form diverse groups of large enzyme families, and their biological functions are directly related to many physiological responses in defense and symbiosis.