The initiation and progression of many complex diseases, such as metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer, are associated with chronic low-grade inflammation, which is often triggered and/or maintained by inappropriate activation of the nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat related family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome. Our long-term and broad research goals are to investigate the molecular mechanisms of NLRP3 inflammasome activation and chronic inflammation and to identify new molecular therapeutics/nutraceuticals to suppress such inflammation.

Our current research can be summarized in three areas: 

  1. Develop molecular therapeutics/nutraceuticals to suppress chronic inflammation in obesity, aging, and other complex diseases.
  2. Investigate the molecular mechanisms of NLRP3 inflammasome activation and chronic inflammation.
  3. Assess the involvement of immune cell-derived exosomes in chronic inflammation.

We have employed state-of-the-art molecular and biochemical techniques, omics approaches, in vitro cell culture, and in vivo mouse models to establish a highly integrative and comprehensive research program.

Jiujiu Yu Associate Professor

Lab Members

Tony Delaney, Research Technologist II

Baolong Liu, Postdoctoral Fellow
Research: Dietary vesicle-like nanoparticles; Mechanisms of NLRP3 inflammasome activation; macrophage-derived exosomes; obesity

Baolong joined the lab in August of 2017.

Outside of work, he is always up for trying new things and loves to learn. When not cheering on FC Barcelona soccer, his new hobby is playing the harmonica.

Xingzhi (Alan) Li, PhD Student
Research: Dietary vesicle-like nanoparticles; fatty liver disease

Alan joined the lab in August of 2020.

When not in the lab, Alan enjoys reading science fiction novels and going to the movies. Recently, he has been studying how to drive a small robotic arm with a raspberry pi (card-type microcomputer).

Linh Nguyen, PhD Student
Research: Dietary vesicle-like nanoparticles; endogenous extracellular vesicles; liver diseases 

Linh joined the lab in August of 2022. She is from Vietnam, holds a master's degree in Korea, and now studies in the U.S. as a PhD student.

Such a long academic journey helps her to travel the world, soak up different cultures, meet new faces, and shake their hands. 

Han Yu, PhD Student
Research: Dietary vesicle-like nanoparticles; aging; autoinflammatory disease

Han joined the lab in January of 2021.

Outside of the lab, Han enjoys traveling, adventure, and exploring new places. She also spends time indulging in photography, painting, and other forms of art.

 In the News

 Selected Publications


Chen X, Liu B, Li X, An T, Zhou Y, Li G, Wu-Smart J, Alvarez S, Naldrett M, Eudy J, Kubik G, Wilson R, Kachman S, Cui J, Yu J*. Identification of anti-inflammatory vesicle-like nanoparticles in honey. J Extracell Vesicles. 2021 Jan 31; 10:e12069. doi: 10.1002/jev2.12069.

Liu B, Yu J*. Anti-NLRP3 inflammasome natural compounds: an update. Biomedicines 2021, 9(2):136. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9020136.

Liu B, Li X, Yu H, Shi X, Zhou Y, Alvarez S, Naldrett MJ, Kachman SD, Ro SH, Sun X, Chung S, Jing L, Yu J*. Therapeutic potential of garlic chive-derived vesicle-like nanoparticles in NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory diseases. Theranostics 2021; 11(19):9311-9330. doi: 10.7150/thno.60265.

Khanam A, Yu J, Zempleni J. Class A scavenger receptor-1/2 facilitates the uptake of bovine milk exosomes in murine bone marrow-derived macrophages and C57BL/6J mice. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2021 Sep 1;321(3):C607-C614. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00222.2021.


Liu, B, Lu Y, Chen X, Muthuraj PG, Li X, Pattabiraman M, Zempleni J, Kachman SD, Natarajan SK, Yu J*. Protective Role of Shiitake Mushroom-Derived Exosome-like Nanoparticles in D-Galactosamine and Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Acute Liver Injury in Mice. Nutrients 2020 Feb 13;12(2). doi: 10.3390/nu12020477.


Chen X, Zhou Y, Yu J*. Exosome-like Nanoparticles from Ginger Rhizomes Inhibited NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation. Mol Pharm. 2019 June 3;16(6):2690-2699. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.9b00246.