Dr William Hughes

Lab Head - Phospholipid and Cell Biology

Senior Research Fellow

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Conjoint Senior Lecturer, St Vincent’s Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney
Will is a cell biologist - despite formal training in microbiology, molecular biology and genetics and the guidance of a pharmacologist father who advised “any career but science”. His research explores the spatial and temporal dynamics of cellular signal transduction and vesicle trafficking.

He and his group are using a variety of imaging techniques to identify and characterize the molecules that control the last few steps of exocytotic vesicle trafficking. They have particularly focused on understanding how the final fusion step is regulated, and have developed new techniques to image and analyze this process.

Research Interests

Cell biology
Vesicle Trafficking

Awards and Honours

2011 - ‘Next Step Initiative’ Award, Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Australia
2010 - Emerging leaders Exchange Program, Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Australia
2002 - Howard Florey Centenary Fellowship
2002 - Royal Society Travelling Fellowship


1998 - PhD, University of Leicester - UK
1992 - MSc, University of Leicester - UK
1989 - BSc Hons, University of Bristol - UK

Selected Publications

Kee, A.J., Yang, L., Lucas, C.A., Greenberg, M.J., Martel, N., Leong, G.M., Hughes, W.E., Cooney, G.J., James, D.E., Ostap, E.M., Han, W., Gunning, P.W., Hardeman, E.C. (2015).  An actin filament population defined by the tropomyosin tpm3.1 regulates glucose uptake.  Traffic 16(7), 691-711

Robinson, J.W., Leshchyns'ka, I., Farghaian, H., Hughes, W.E., Sytnyk, V., Neely, G.G., Cole, A.R. (2014).  PI4KIIα phosphorylation by GSK3 directs vesicular trafficking to lysosomes.  Biochem J. 464(1), 145-56

Herrmann, D., Conway, J.R., Vennin, C., Magenau, A., Hughes, W.E., Morton, J.P., Timpson, P.  (2014).  Three-dimensional cancer models mimic cell-matrix interactions in the tumour microenvironment.  Carcinogenesis.  (8), 1671-9

Burchfield, J. G., Lu, J., Fazakerley, D. J., Tan, S. X., Ng, Y., Mele, K., Buckley, M. J., Han, W., Hughes W. E., James, D.E. (2013). Novel Systems for Dynamically Assessing Insulin Action in Live Cells Reveals Heterogeneity in the Insulin Response. Traffic, 14, 259-273

Rezatofighi, S. H. Gould, S., Hartley, R., Mele, K., Hughes, W. E. (2012). Application of the IMM-JPDA filter to multiple target tracking in total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy images. Med. Image Comput. Assist. Interv, 15, 357-64

Burchfield, J. G., Lopez, J. A., Hughes, W. E. (2012) Using Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRFM) to Visualize Insulin Action. In ‘Visualization Techniques: From Immunohistochemistry to Magnetic Resonance Imaging’.  Neuromethods, 70, 97-109

Rowland, A. F., Larance, M., Hughes, W. E., James, D. E. (2011) Identification of RhoGAP22 as an Akt-Dependent Regulator of Cell Motility in Response to Insulin.  Molecular and Cellular Biology, 31, 4789-4800

Dr William Hughes