Professor Lu is the Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Oxford Branch. She is an elected Member of EMBO and elected Member of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Following her MSc in China, she received a research training fellowship from WHO and moved to the UK in 1986. She completed her PhD and postdoctoral training and established her own research group at the LICR in 1993. She became the Director of the LICR’s London Branch in 2004 and in 2007 she established LICR Oxford. She was elected supernumerary fellow at Magdalen College in 2013.
Professor Lu’s group has long standing research interests in tumour suppression. She was one of the first researchers to show that the tumour suppressor p53 responds to both oncogene activation and DNA damaging signals. Her group was one of the first to demonstrate how to selectively activate p53 to kill cancer cells, through identification and characterization of the evolutionarily conserved ASPP family of proteins.
Recently her group also identified ASPP2 protein as an important regulator of cell polarity. The current research interests of the group are cellular plasticity and cell death, two fundamental biological processes that are important in development, regenerative medicine and cancer. In particular the group is studying how signals from cell surface are integrated into transcriptional target selection and cell fate determination with an aim to selectively kill cancer cells and to prevent unwanted cell loss in degenerative diseases.
Lu M, Breyssens H, Salter V, Zhong S, Hu Y, Baer C, Ratnayaka I, Sullivan A, Brown NR, Endicott J, Knapp S, Kessler B, Middleton MR, Siebold C, Jones Y, Sviderskaya EV, Cebon J, John T, Caballero O, Goding CR, Lu X (2013). Restoring p53 function in human melanoma cells by inhibiting mdm2 and cyclin B1/cdk1 phosphorylated nuclear iASPP. Cancer Cell Volume 23, Issue 5, 618-633, 25 April 2013.
Wang Y, Wang XD, Lapi E, Sullivan A, Jia W, He YW, Ratnayaka I, Zhong S, Goldin RD, Goemans CG, Tolkovsky AM, and Lu X (2012). Autophagic activity dictates the cellular response to oncogenic RAS. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Aug 14;109(33):13325-30. Epub 2012 Jul 30.
Notari M, Hu Y, Koch S, Lu M, Ratnayaka I, Zhong S, Baer C, Pagotto A, Salter V, Candi E, Melino G and Lu X (2011). iASPP prevents premature cellular senescence and is required for normal epithelial stratification. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 4;108(40):16645-50. Epub 2011 Sep 19.
Slee EA, Benassi B, Goldin R, Zhong S, Ratnayaka I, Blandino G, Lu X (2010). Phosphorylation of Ser312 contributes to tumour suppression by p53 in vivo. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 19479-84.
Sottocornola R, Royer C, Vives V, Tordella L, Zhong S, Wang Y, Ratnayaka I, Shipman M, Cheung A, Ferretti P, Molnár Z, Lu X (2010). ASPP2 binds Par-3 and controls the polarity and proliferation of neural progenitors during CNS development. Dev. Cell 19: 126-37.