Julie Yu, PhD

Staff Scientist


After receiving my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Brown University, I moved to California to enjoy the perfect weather and the fine food. To support this, I taught middle school math and science in East Palo Alto and then K-12 science at the Tech Museum in San Jose. Along the way, I met the great folks at the Exploratorium Teacher Institute, who helped me teach science the way I’d really learned it—by doing things and experimenting with my own hands. Teaching science reminded me of how much I liked learning science, so I decided to go back to school and learn biology to complement my training in the physical sciences. I enrolled in graduate school at UC, Berkeley and, after gaining intimate knowledge of viruses, stem cells, and how to win at foosball, I received a PhD in chemical engineering with a minor in molecular and cell biology. I joined the TI staff as a postdoc after being awarded a NSF Discovery Corps Fellowship and have managed to stay on as a staff scientist. In my spare time I still think about science, but usually in the kitchen, where I’m focused on my favorite synthesis of chemistry and biology - cooking and eating.


Re-Engineering Your Science Curriculum