Yunjie Xu received a BSc in chemistry and a supplementary BSc in applied mathematics from Xiamen University and a PhD in physical chemistry from University of British Columbia. She then worked as a research associate at the National Research Council in Ottawa and also as an NSERC and a Killam postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta. Xu began her independent academic career in 2003 at the University of Alberta and quickly rose to full professor in 2010. She became a Tier I (senior) Canada Research Chair in Chirality and Chirality Recognition in 2011.
Xu has published over 120 papers in journals such as Science, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Physical Review Letters, and The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. The Xu research group is recognized internationally for its significant and original contributions to the characterization of intermolecular interactions responsible for chirality recognition and chirality transfer. Her work targets the design of new spectroscopic tools and development of better approaches to extract structural and dynamical information of chiral systems. Such information is essential for chemical and pharmaceutical industries where chirality plays an important role. She was named a Mercator Fellow (University of Freiburg) in 2015 and her past awards include Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award in 2007, Smiths Detection Spectroscopy Award in 2007, and the International Dr. Barbara Mez-Starck Prize in 2014, among others.