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Contact Information

Johnny Ngsee, Ph.D.
613-562-5800 x2251

Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of Ottawa
451 Smyth Road, RGN 2442
Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1H 8M5

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Johnny Ngsee

Affiliate Investigator, Neuroscience
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Associate Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of Ottawa

Research Interests

Dr. Ngsee is performing research on vesicle trafficking and its role in neurodegenerative diseases. He is currently focused on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS; commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”), a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by death of motor neurons. Cellular processes associated with familial ALS genes are diverse, suggesting the etiology is multifactorial involving multiple biological processes. Dr. Ngsee’s research focuses on VAPB (VAMP-associated protein B), a gene mutated in an autosomal dominant, slow progressing form of ALS. His recent study showed that mutant VAPB blocks protein trafficking in a membrane compartment derived from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) called the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC). Mutant VAPB primarily affects retrograde cargoes from ERGIC. Nuclear envelope proteins also utilize this transport route and loss of VAPB disrupts their delivery that leads to progressive deterioration of the nuclear envelope. His goals are to define the cellular consequences of this nuclear envelope defect, characterize the biological processes affected by the defect at ERGIC that could contribute to motor neuron death, and explore treatment strategies that could mitigate the adverse effects of mutant VAPB.

Brief Biography

1972-76                 B.Sc. (Honours) in Physiology, University of British Columbia
1976-78                 M.Sc. in Physiology, University of British Columbia, Dr. Nadine Wilson
1981-86                 Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of British Columbia, Dr. Michael Smith  

Research Experience:
1986                      Postdoctoral fellow, Pathology, University of British Columbia, Dr. Shirley Gillam
1987-93                 Postdoctoral fellow, Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University, Dr. Richard H. Scheller
1993-present         Senior Scientist/ Associate Professor, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa

Selected Publications

Pabba, M., A. Y. C. Wong, N. Ahlskog, E. Hristova, D. Biscaro, W. Nassrallah, J. K. Ngsee, M. Snyder, J. C. Beique, and Bergeron, R. NMDA receptors are upregulated and trafficked to the plasma membrane following sigma-1 receptor activation in the rat hippocampus. J. Neurosci. 34, 11325-11338 (2014). 

Tran, D., A. Chalhoub, A. Schooley, W. Zhang, and J.K. Ngsee. A mutation in VAPB that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also causes a nuclear envelope defect. J. Cell Sci. 125, 2831-2836 (2012). 

Venderova, K., G. Kabbach, E. Abdel-Messih, Y. Zhang, R.J. Parks, Y. Imai, S. Gehrke, J.K. Ngsee, M.J. Lavoie, R. Slack, Y. Rao, Z. Zhang, B. Lu, M.E. Haque, and D.S. Park. Leucine-rich repeat kinase interacts with Parkin, DJ-1 and PINK-1 in a Drosophila melanogaster model of Parkinson's disease. Hum Mol Genet. 18, 4390-4404 (2009). 

Prosser, D.C., D. Tran, P.Y.Gougeon, C. Verly, and J.K. Ngsee. FFAT rescues VAPA-mediated inhibition of ER-to-Golgi transport and VAPB-mediated ER aggregation. J. Cell Sci. 121, 3052-3061 (2008). 

Hutt, D. M., Baltz, J. M., and Ngsee, J. K. 2005. Synaptotagmin VI and VIII and Syntaxin 2 are Essential for the Mouse Sperm Acrosome Reaction. J. Biol. Chem. 280: 20197-20203

Diseases, conditions and populations of interest

Research and clinical approaches