You-Ying Chau


Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile

Current Research Interests

Adipose tissue origins, heterogeneity, functions, and regulatory mechanisms

My research in a nutshell

My lab is interested in adipose tissue function, heterogeneity, and their developmental origins.  Focusing on adipose progenitors/stem cells (APs), we are investigating the functional heterogeneity APs between different depots and their unique gene expression pathways during normal development as well as in diseased conditions (e.g. obesity). We also study the interactions of APs with their neighbouring cells including vasculatures and immune cells. 

Research Interests

Obesity is one of the leading health concerns of the 21st century. Despite the obesity epidemic, our understanding of the regulation of fat mass is limited. Fat mass in our body often exists as multiple 'fat depots'. It has been posited that each fat depot could be considered as a seperate mini-organ. One area in the field of adipose tissue that has remained unclear till our work was the developmental origin of adipose tissue. My findings on visceral white adipose progenitors and origins have come through studying the Wilms Tumour gene, Wt1. We have shown that visceral ('bad') and subcutaneous ('good') white adipose tissues (WAT) have different developmental origins. Wt1 marks a novel population of adipose progenitors in the visceral WAT and mesothelium is a novel source of visceral fat.

The research in my group is directed toward further understanding the origins and heterogeneity of adipose tissue and elucidating the molecular mechanisms that regulate fat mass and contribute to the development of obesity and obesity associated diseases. We focus on characterising fat progenitors/stem cells and the molecular processes that control the proliferation, differentiation, and function of these cells. We combine mouse/human genetics and use primary cell culture, genomic and proteomic approaches to study the events from normal adipose tissue development to obesity.

Research students

Current students:

  • Louise Cleal (PhD student)
  • Teodora Aldea (PhD student)   
Previous students
  • Sophie McHaffie (PhD student)
  • Tanguy Bleaut (MSc rotation student)

Positions available

I am interested in recruiting enthusiastic PhD and postdoctoral candidates who are passionate about science to join our group. Please get in touch via email if you are interested. 


We are currently having an exciting 4 years PhD project (Precision Medicine) advertised. For details and application, please go to the website (or email me directly




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