Alvin Yu

Postdoctoral Scholar
Department of Chemistry
University of Chicago

Alvin earned his B.S. in Physics from Caltech in 2011 and received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University in 2017. At John Hopkins, his research focused on the mechanisms of how neurons sense chemical signals at the synapse during glutamate receptor activation using classical molecular dynamics simulations. Alvin joined the Voth group in January 2018.

Research Interests:

 Alvin is interested in using multi-scale methods, statistical mechanics, and simulations to quantitatively understand biological, soft matter phenomena. He is currently studying TRIM5alpha, which binds to and encapsulate the HIV capsid, and properties of the viral capsid through coarse-grained and all-atom simulation.


  1. Yu A, and Lau AY. Glutamate and glycine binding in NMDA receptors Structure 2018
  2. Yu A, Salazar H, Plested AJR, and Lau AY. Neurotransmitter funneling optimizes glutamate receptor kinetics, Neuron 97, 139-149, 2018
  3.  Yu A, and Lau AY. Energetics of glutamate binding to an AMPA receptor, J. Phys. Chem. B 121 (46), pp 10436-10442, 2017
  4. Yu A, Alberstein R, Thomas A, Zimmet A, Grey R, Mayer ML and Lau AY. Molecular lock regulates binding of glycine to a primitive NMDA receptor Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113(44):E6786-E6795, 2016
  5.  Yu A, Wied T, Belcher J, and Lau AY. Computing conformational free energies of iGluR ligand binding domains. In: Popescu GK, editor. Ionotropic glutatmate receptor technologies. New York: Humana Press; 2015