Dr Yun Yun Gong


I am an associate professor on international food safety. I am interested in assessing the impact of food chemical contaminants (specifically mycotoxins) on human health, and developing effective intervention to protect public health from these toxic chemicals.

My training background is in the field of Medicine and Public Health. Aflter obtaining a PhD in food toxicology, I worked in the School of Medicine in Leeds as an Reserach Fellow since 2000.  I was a Visiting Scientist in the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) during Jan-May 2013. Between 2013-2016, I worked in the Queen's University of Belfast as a Reader on nature toxins epidemiology. I returned to Leeds in the School of Food Science and Nutrition from 2016 to continue my research on mycotoxins and human health. 

I have been a working group memeber for international agents including the IARC, the European Food Safety Authority. I am holding an honorary leadership position in the Chinese Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA).

As a passionate and experienced research on global health, I have led a number of international collaborative research projects studying exposure to food mycotoxins and child health. These work demonstrated the toxins detrimental effect on child nutrition and health, providing scientific evidence for policy decision on mycotoxin reduction and control in Africa and China. My research has been generously funded by the Royal Society UK, The National Institute of Environment Health Sciences (NIEHS) USA, and charities including The Bill and Melina Gates Fundation, the Wellcome Trust and the Sir Halley Stewart Trust. In the past 20 years' research, I have established a strong research network with scientrists worldwide including the Tanzania TFDA, The South Africa MRC, the Gambia MRC, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the IARC and the China CFSA.


  • School International Lead

Research interests

  • Exposure biomarkers to assess dietary exposure to food born natural toxins such as mycotoxins.
  • Epidemiology studies to investigate the impact of exposure to mycotoxins on human health, in high risk regions (e.g. sub-Sahara Africa) with a focus on cancer, child malnutrition, and reproductive function.
  • Laboratory in vitro study to understand the mechanism of mycotoxins on human health.
  • Evaluate interventions to mitigate mycotoxins, using sustainable methods such as post-harvest storage improvement and public education.
  • Dietary exposure and cancer.

Some of my recent research projects:

  • BBSRC GCRF collective fund: “Agricultural and Food-system Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy (GCRF-AFRICAP)  (Co-I)
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Understanding mechanisms and identifying biomarkers for the relationship between aflatoxin exposure and child stunting (PI)
  • Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA): Aflatoxin exposure and associated immune function damage in young children (Co-I)
  • WHO: Biomarker diagnosis of a recent aflatoxicosis outbreak in Tanzania (PI)
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Mycotoxins as a Risk Factor in Childhood Growth Impairment Worldwide (Co-I)
  • Leverhulme - Royal Society Africa Award: Evaluation of Dietary Exposure to Mycotoxins in Young Children (PI)
  • Developing scientific reports on aflatoxin impact on human health and delivered workshops to the East Africa Community (EAC), providing scientific guidance on food policy and regulations.
  • Literature Reviewing "Norovirus transmission in food handlers and its prevention" for the FSA UK https://www.food.gov.uk/science/research-reports/ssresearch/foodsafetyss/research-on-preventing-the-spread-of-norovirus


  • PhD in food toxicology
  • Master in Epidemiology
  • Bachelor in Medicine

Professional memberships

  • UK Toxicology Society
  • UK Environmental Mutagen Society
  • World Mycotoxin Society
  • Nutrition Society UK

Research groups and institutes

  • Food Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Obesity, Cancer and Metabolic Disease
  • Human Nutrition and Lifestyle Intervention
  • Food Safety, Security and Sustainability

Current postgraduate research students

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships.