Adjunct Associate Professor

Contact Information:

Senior Principal Investigator
Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory,
1 Research Link,
National University of Singapore, 117604

Lab webpage:


Research Areas

Drosophila melanogaster, Aedes Mosquito, Genetics, Development, vector control.

Research Interests

Stem cells, which can self-renew and generate differentiated daughters, are responsible for the generation of diverse cell types during development and the maintenance of tissue homeostasis in adulthood. My laboratory deploys two organisms, Drosophila melanogaster and Aedes mosquitoes, to study stem cell biology in vivo. Using the well-established genetic model organism Drosophila melanogaster, we study the underlying mechanisms regulating germline stem cells, neural stem cells and intestinal stem cells. By extrapolating these knowledges, we are interested in the genetic and molecular mechanisms that control mosquito germline and midgut development. The immediate aim of our research is to investigate the mechanisms underlying Drosophila and Mosquito germline and midgut development. The long-term goal is to develop germline- and midgut- associated intervention methods for Mosquito vector control.

Selected Publications

  1. Shan Z, Tu Y, Yang Y, Zeng W, Xu H, Long J, Zhang M, Cai Y* and Wen W*
    Phase transition-mediated Numb/Pon complex basal condensation during Drosophila neuroblast asymmetric division. Nature Communications. 2018 9:737

  2. Lou L, Siah CK and Cai Y* Engrailed acts with Nejire to control decapentaplegic expression in the Drosophila ovarian stem cell niche. Development. 2017, 144(18):3224-32

  3. Zhang F, Huang ZX, Bao H, Cong F, Wang H, Chai PC, Ge W, Somers WG, Yang Y, Cai Y* and Yang X* Phosphotyrosyl Phosphatase Activator facilitates Miranda localization through dephosphorylation in dividing neuroblasts. Development. 2016. 143(1):35-44

  4. Liu Z, Zhong, G, Chai P, Luo L, Liu S, Yang Y, Baeg G and Cai Y* Coordinated niche-associated signals promote germline homeostasis in the Drosophila ovary. J Cell Biol, 2015. 211:469-484

  5. Jia M, Shan Z, Yang Y, Liu C, Li J, Luo Z, Zhang M, Cai Y*, Wen W* and Wang W*
    The Structural basis of Miranda-mediated Staufen localization during Drosophila neuroblast asymmetric division. Nature Communications. 2015, 6:8381

  6. Luo L, Wang H, Fan C, Liu S and Cai Y* Wnt ligands regulate Tkv expression to constrain Dpp activity in the Drosophila ovarian stem cell niche. J Cell Biol. 2015, 209(4):595-608. Cover Image Article. Highlighted in “in this issue”

  7. Chai PC, Chia W* and Cai Y* Hh signaling acts with the temporal cascade to promote neuroblast cell cycle exit. PLoS Biology. 2013, 11: e1001494

  8. Liu M, Lim TM and Cai Y* Drosophila female germline stem cell lineage acts to spatially restrict DPP function within the niche. Science Signal. 2010, 3, ra57 2010. (Cover Image Article. Highlighted in Science Magazine online website, 2010 and Faculty of 1000 Biology, 2011)

  9. Wang L, Li Z and Cai Y* The JAK/STAT pathway positively regulates DPP signaling in the Drosophila germline stem cell niche. J Cell Biol. 2008, 180(4): 721-728

  10. Li Z, Wang L, Hays T, Cai Y* Dynein-mediated apical localization of crumbs transcripts is required for effective Crb activity in epithelial polarity. J Cell Biol. 2008, 180(1): 31-38

  11. Cai Y, Yu F, Lin S, Chia W*, Yang X* Apical complex genes control mitotic spindle geometry and relative size of daughter cells in Drosophila neuroblast and pI asymmetric divisions. Cell. 2003;112(1):51-62.

  12. Cai Y, Chia W, Yang X* A family of snail-related zinc finger proteins regulates two distinct and parallel mechanisms that mediate Drosophila neuroblast asymmetric divisions. EMBO J. 2001;20(7):1704-14.