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Prof Justin Hsuan
Division of Medicine, Royal Free Campus
Rowland Hill Street
  • Professor of Molecular Cell Biology
  • Inst for Liver and Digestive Hlth
  • Div of Medicine
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences
Research Summary

Centre for Molecular Cell Biology (CMCB): A primary research focus is cell signalling by phosphoinositide lipids, and specifically by the phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase type 2 alpha (PI4K2a) enzyme, which has multiple important cell functions. We discovered that this enzyme is localised to a minor fraction of the cell with raft-like properties, yet distinct from caveolae. Using membrane fractionation, protein micropurification and mass spectrometry we were the first to clone the two human type 2 PI4Ks. We subsequently identified the subcellular localization of PI4K2a in the endosomal system, its role in receptor trafficking, as well as its regulation by cholesterol. Most recently we have generated and characterised lines of transgenic mice lacking PI4K2a activity. This project revealed an unexpected role for this enzyme in neuronal function and neurological disease, and identifies for the first time that this enzyme is a potential therapeutic target in man. We have in this way rationalized the cell studies on endosomal trafficking with in vivo function, and generated a model of a late-onset neural degeneration with which to study disease and therapy.

Royal Free Centre for Biomedical Science (CBS): This centre was founded in 2004 to provide and support expert units in Advanced Microscopy, Proteomics and Transgenics and to facilitate access by investigators located on the Royal Free Campus. Major platforms include confocal microscopes, nanoLC-qTOF, Orbitrap, and MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometers, and plasmid micro-injection stages. All three units have generated mutiple new collaborations in translational biomedical research.

Teaching Summary
Undergraduate teaching at UCL has included: personal and academic tutor and practical supervisor (B21 Biochemistry; Part I Basic Medical Science; Part II Basic Medical Science), laboratory project supervisor (C21 Biochemistry; Molecular Medicine), lecturer (C22/C29 Protein Structure; iBSc Clinical Sciences). Postgraduate teaching has included MSc laboratory project supervisor, committee member (Four-year PhD in Biomedicine; MSc in Clinical and Experimental Medicine), PhD student primary and secondary supervisor, and lecturer (Medical Academic F2 Programme).
Academic Background
1986 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Biochemistry University of Bristol
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