Skip to content

Michael (Seungju) Yu

Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Molecular Pharmaceutics

Drug Delivery, Tissue Engineering, Regenerative Medicine, Biopolymers, Collagen, Peptide

Yu Photo


Biological Chemistry Program


B.S. Korea University

Ph.D. University of Massachusetts at Amherst



My research interests lie in the development of protein/peptide-based materials and molecular probes that are either inspired by or derived from biological systems. With particular emphasis on applying principles of protein folding and assembly to bio and nano-technology, my research group has been working on a range of research topics from new diagnostic/therapeutic molecules and natural tissue scaffolds to self-assembled nanostructures and piezoelectric fibers. My research group (recently relocated from Johns Hopkins to University of Utah, now occupying state-of-art Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building) has developed a new peptide probe-based technology for targeting collagens. This work is considered a breakthrough in collagen detection (published in over 25 peer-reviewed journals in the last 5 years, including PNAS, JACS, and Nature Commnun.) for its ability to specifically bind to collagens denatured by proteinase or by mechanical damage both in vitro and in vivo. The most exciting discovery in our research since coming to the University of Utah is finding out that collagen hybridizing peptide can be conjugated to drug molecules small or large and have it delivered to pathologic tissues.


  1. JL Kessler, G Kang, Z Qin, H Kang, F Whitby, T Cheatham, C Hill, Y Li, and SM Yu (2021) “Peptoid residues make diverse hyperstable collagen triple helices” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 143, 29, 10910–10919.
  2. Kessler, Y Li, J Fornetti, AL Welm, and SM Yu (2020) “Enrichment of collagen fragments using dimeric collagen hybridizing peptide for urinary collagenomics” Journal of Proteome Research, 29, 2926-2932.
  3. K Arlotta, BH San, H Mu, SM Yu*, and S Owen* (2020) “Localization of Therapeutic Fab-CHP Conjugates to Sites of Denatured Collagen for the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis” Bioconjugate Chemistry, 31, 1960-1970. [*Co-corresponding authors]
  4. L Bennink, B Kim, BH San, I Shin, D Yoon, Y Li and SM Yu (2018) “Visualizing collagen proteolysis by peptide hybridization: from 3D cell culture to in vivo imaging” Biomaterials, 183, 67-76.
  5. BH San, J Hwang, S Sampath, Y Li, LL Bennink, and SM Yu (2017) "Self-assembled water-soluble nanofibers displaying collagen hybridizing peptides" J. Am. Chem. Soc., 139, 16640-49.
  6. Jl Zitnay JL, Y Li Y, Z Qin, BH San, B Depalle, SP Reese, MJ Buehler, SM *Yu, and JA *Weiss (2017) “Molecular level detection and localization of mechanical damage in collagen enabled by collagen hybridizing peptides.”  Nature Communications, 8, 14913. (*co-corresponding authors) PMC3443117.
  7. J Hwang, Y Huang, TJ Burwell, NC Peterson, J Connor, SJ Weiss, SM Yu, and Y Li (2017). “In Situ Imaging of Tissue Remodeling with Collagen Hybridizing Peptides.” ACS Nano, doi: 10.1021/acsnano.7b03150.
  8. H Wahyudi, AA Reynolds, Y Li, SC Owen, and SM Yu (2016) “Targeting collagen for diagnostic imaging and therapeutic delivery” J. Control. Release, 240, 323. PMC4936964 (invited review paper).
  9. Y Li, CA Foss, DD Summerfield, JJ Doyle, CM Torok, HC Dietz, MG Pomper and SM Yu (2012) “Targeting Collagen Strands by Photo-Triggered Triple Helix Hybridization.” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 109, 14767. PMC3443117.
Last Updated: 9/7/22