NIAMS Muscle Biologist Yu Mourned
Dr. Leepo Cheng Yu, a long-time muscle biologist and lab chief in the NIAMS intramural research program, died of cancer on Apr. 28. She was at home, surrounded by family, and with a clear view of her treasured garden.
During her 36 years at NIH, Yu studied the molecular structure, organization, binding and kinetics of muscle proteins. As an expert on the molecular architecture of muscle fibers, she was prized as a collaborator.
In 2009, NIAMS recognized her scientific contributions by hosting a research symposium in her honor titled “Structural Basis of Muscle Contraction.”
Yu was so popular among her peers that a professional rendezvous during a scientific conference could include up to 10 unexpected guests. Close colleagues learned to compensate for this “Leepo Effect” by adding five extra places when making dinner reservations.
Those outside the scientific community know Yu as an accomplished performer of Chinese opera.
Born in China in 1939, Yu moved to the U.S. to advance her education in physics. She earned an undergraduate degree from Brown University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Maryland.
Yu is survived by her husband Victor, son Albert, brother Ta-Pei Cheng and a host of friends and collaborators.