Yongjun is a staff scientist and group leader for the Next Generation Sequencing Library Technology Development Group in Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at BC Cancer. Under the direction of GSC’s management, he and his team are committed to advancing the frontier of genomic technology and developing applications in cancer research. His team works closely with the centre’s production teams and collaborators.
He completed a degree in veterinary medicine in 1987 and obtained a Master degree in animal virology in 1990. In 1993, he started a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto Department of Medical Genetics & Microbiology to develop a canine adenoviral vector-based recombinant rabbis vaccine. In 1996, he worked as research associate in the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Clinical Pathology, Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Science Centre studying the Human hematopoietic microenvironment to understand the genes involved in hematopoiesis. There, he made significant contributions to one of the first Canadian Human gene therapy clinical trials. In 2002, he moved to Vancouver as a Research Scientist at InterOmex Biopharmaceuticals Inc., where he developed yeast two-hybrid libraries from Human T cells for the identification of interactions with transcriptional activator proteins using the repressed transactivator (RTA) yeast two-hybrid system.
He started working at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre in 2004, serving as Assistant Production Coordinator, and Library Core Production Coordinator, and Library Technology Development Group Leader. He contributed to the success of several international genomic projects including The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), and his team established and piloted the laboratory process for the successful Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) project at BC Cancer. He has been involved in over 100 peer-reviewed publications and 2 book chapters. His co-authored paper received 2012 Jeremy Jass Prize for Research Excellence in Pathology, and as a member, the clinical genomics team received 2014 BC Health Gold Apple Award (Excellence in BC Health Care). His current efforts are focusing on developing next-generation sequencing libraries from more challenging and low input materials such as circulating DNA (ctDNA), FFPET (Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded tissue) and single cells, as well as protocols for clinically accredited sequencing.
Yongjun (YJ) leads a group of talented molecular biologists and technologists to evaluate, optimize, develop and validate new methodologies and applications for GSC’s next generation sequencing platform. His team has contributed to the success of many large genomics projects including, for example, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), Medulloblastoma Advanced Genomics International Consortium (MAGIC) and Personalized OncoGenomics (POG) program. Since joining the GSC in 2004, YJ's work has contributed to over 90 scientific and technical publications primarily in the field of cancer research, as well as a broad area of other research. The current focus of his group is developing methods to sequence genome and transcriptome from more challenging and low input materials such as circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), FFPET (Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded tissue) and single cells, as well as protocols for clinically accredited sequencing. The group is also interested in developing custom solutions via collaboration to support projects in biological research including cancer.