Professor John Edward Hesketh
Professor of Mammalian Molecular Biology

  • Email: j.e.hesketh@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8744
  • Fax: +44 (0) 191 208 7424
  • Address: Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences
    University of Newcastle
    Medical School
    Framlington Place
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    NE2 4HH

Research Interests

RNA biology, cell organisation and intracellular trafficking, particularly spatial orgainisation of protein synthesis in eukaryotic cells and mRNA trafficking. Role of 3’ untranslated region (3’UTR) in regulation of gene expression. Role of trafficking in cell differentiation and polarisation, for example in epithelial cells. Manipulation of gene expression signals for use in recombinant protein production (in association with a spin-out company Unitargeting AS set up with colleagues in Universities of Barcelona and Bergen).

Molecular nutrition and nutrient-gene interactions with a focus on how genetic polymorphisms and dietary factors (particularly selenium) interact to underlie individual variation in dietary requirements and susceptibility to multifactorial disease. Selenium intake has been related to various diseases such as cancer, heart disease and our work is concerned with investigating whether a combination of low Se intake and genetic factors combine to influence disease susceptibility. Application of molecular and cell biology to the study of fundamental nutritional mechanisms. Participation in the EU-funded, European Network of excellence on Nutrgenomics (NUGO)

1. Intracellular trafficking and how protein synthesis is organised spatially in eukaryotic, particularly, mammalian cells; role of cytoskeleton, 3’untranslated regions (3’UTRs) of mRNA and signal sequences. Role of localisation events in cell function.

2. Post-transcriptional control of gene expression at level of mRNA localisation, translation and stability. Role of 3’UTRs (3’untranslated regions).

3. RNA localization signals and RNA-protein interactions.

4. Nutrient-gene interaction. Effects of nutrients on gene expression and influence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on nutrient requirements and susceptibility to disease. Identification of SNPs.

5. Selenium biochemistry and nutrition. Incorporation of Se into proteins. Effect of SNPs on Se requirements and susceptibility to cancer.

6. Cell factories for recombination protein production. Links with spin-out company Unitargeting AS in Norway.

Laboratory members (as of 08.09.06)
Hesketh lab group
Dr Catherine Meplan

Mr B. Burtle

Ms Norah Al-Souhibani
Mr Kunbo Fan
Ms Hannah Gautrey
Mr Mark Pearson
Mr Christopher Pedder