Yun-Ju Lai 800

Yun-Ju Lai, Ph.D., MS, RN

Assistant Professor

HSS 295


Neuroscience, oncology, post-stroke depression, and inflammation.

Research Interests

Mind and body connection in stroke population.
Inflammatory response in COVID-19


Ph.D., Cizik School of Nursing, UT-Health Science Center, Houston, TX, 2019 
B.S.N., Cizik School of Nursing, UT-Health Science Center, Houston, TX, 2015
M.S., Life Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan, 2002


Yun-Ju Lai, Ph.D., MA, RN, an assistant professor in the Solomont School of Nursing, researches the relationship between optimism, inflammation and stroke recovery. She was recognized in an award-winning interview in the 2020 International Stroke Conference, as well as reported by CNN, “Another win for optimism! Recovery after stroke.” Her study showed that optimism might reduce stroke severity and inflammation; thus, boosting morale may be an ideal way to improve mental health and recovery after a stroke. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, her postdoctoral research at Academia Sinica in Taiwan focused on the role of inflammation in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using RNAseq analysis, she identified SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 transcriptome and further used the information to identify potent inhibitors that can block SARS-CoV-2 viral entry and replication. She has filed a patent and the manuscript is in submission. She will continue to use computer programming to study SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis to identify a new therapeutic strategy to fight against COVID-19. She received her Ph.D. degree from Cizik School of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and was the recipient of the American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship.