Dr X. Robin Du

Senior Research Associate (Yang Lab)
Level 3 East, Bioscience South E26
(+61 2) 9385 8112
(+61 2) 9385 1483


Professional Experience

  • 2007-current: Postdoctoral Research Associate/Research Fellow, School of BABS

Research Contribution

Impaired intracellular cholesterol transport can cause pathological states such as atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Niemann Pick type C (NPC) diseases. Since I started graduate training in 2003 in the Brown Laboratory, my research interest has been in cholesterol homeostasis and trafficking. My early research focused on the elucidation of unknown factors involved in cellular cholesterol homeostasis, and made two important findings in relation to cholesterol trafficking to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the role of cholesterol in membrane expansion. These findings led to two important publications (Du et al, JBC, 2004; Du et al. MBoC, 2006).

In the Yang Laboratory, my current research interests focus on how mammalian cells sort and transport cholesterol between different organelles. Particularly, I am interested in a still-mysterious cell biological process: how cholesterol is delivered from late endosome/lysosome (LE/Ly) to other organelles. Since 2007, I have been focusing on the identification and characterisation of cytoplasmic factors that may mediate cholesterol efflux from LE/Ly. We have identified oxysterol binding protein-related protein 5 (ORP5) as a novel protein involved in endosomal cholesterol trafficking (Du et al, JCB, 2011). This finding suggests for the first time that a cytosolic sterol carrier works in concert with a membrane protein called NPC1 to accomplish cholesterol transport between LE/Ly and the ER. We have also demonstrated that Vps27/Hrs, a key protein initiating the endosomal complex required for transport (ESCRT) pathway, is required for endosomal cholesterol transport to the ER (Du et al, Cell Reports, 2012).


Click here for Dr Du's publications list