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Institute of Dentistry - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Dr Hong Wan, BDS, MSc, PhD, FHEA


Reader in Oral Cell Biology

Telephone: +44 (0) 207 882 7139
Room Number: Blizard Building


1978-83  BDS, School of Stomatology, West China University of Medical Sciences, Sichuan University,  China.

1983-85  General Dentist, Zhongshan Hospital, Shanghai First Medical University, Shanghai, China.

1985-88  MSc in Prosthodontics, School of Stomatology, West China University of Medical Sciences, Sichuan  University, China.

1988-91 Lecturer in Prosthetic Department, School of Stomatology, West China University of Medical Sciences, Sichuan University, China.

1991-95  PhD in Department of Clinical Engineering, University of Liverpool.

1996-99 Postdoctoral research fellow (Wellcome Trust funded), St. George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London.

1999-2003   Postdoctoral research associate (Wellcome Trust funded), St. John’s Institute of Dermatology, St Thomas’ Hospital, UK.

2004-2006  MRC fellow (funded by a MRC Career Development Fellowship for Stem Cell Research), Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, QMUL.

2007-present  Non-clinical senior lecturer, Institute of Dentistry, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, QMUL.


Centre: Centre for Oral Immunobiology and Regenerative Medicine


Giving lectures / seminars to the 1st year BDS undergraduates, postgraduates of MSc Experimental Oral Pathology, and biomedical life science students, on topics in biochemistry, histology, membrane biology, cell adhesion and migration, research in vesiculobullous diseases. 

Teaching students on MSc Experimental Oral Pathology on the lab practical in immunofluorescence and western blotting. 

Supervising 3rd year BDS students on SSC and students of SBS 206 Project Skills in the Life Sciences on the dissertations. 


Research Interests:

Dr Wan’s research focuses on cell-cell junctions in health and disease. Cell-cell junctions are multiprotein adhesion complexes located on the plasma membrane of the cell and play an essential role in cell adhesion and the maintenance of tissue integrity. These junctions crosstalk one another and coordinate with a diversity of cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, morphogenesis, as well as cell motility. Alterations of these junctions can lead to a broad spectrum of human diseases, including cancer and vesiculobullous conditions. Increasing evidence indicates that many components of these junctions also participate in cell signalling and are acting as sensors to the environmental biochemical and mechanical cues.

Her recent studies have identified Desmoglein-3 (Dsg3) acting as an anti-stress protein via regulating the mechanosensor YAP, cancer suppressor p53, as well as AP-1 transcription factor, that have a direct impact on the cell fate decision. These findings underscore the unprecedented role of Dsg3 in the control of higher-ordered network essential for tissue regeneration and homeostasis beyond cell-cell adhesion. Elucidation of the underlying molecular basis is crucial to understand the pathogenesis of the associated disorders such as cancer and pemphigus autoimmune disease in which Dsg3 is altered.

Dr Wan’s research approach is mainly based on in vitro studies with both gain and loss of function strategies in conjunction with the pharmacological interventions in keratinocyte cells derived from both the skin and oral mucosal membrane. The ultimate goal of her research is to translate the significant findings to clinical research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of related diseases.


Key Publications

Ahmad US, Parkinson EK, Wan H. Desmoglein-3 induces YAP phosphorylation and inactivation during collective migration of oral carcinoma cells. Mol Oncol. 2022 Apr;16(8):1625-1649. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.13177. Epub 2022 Mar 1. 

Huang Y, Jedličková H, Cai Y, Rehman A, Gammon L, Ahmad US, Uttagomol J, Parkinson EK, Fortune F, Wan H. Oxidative Stress-Mediated YAP Dysregulation Contributes to the Pathogenesis of Pemphigus Vulgaris. Front Immunol. 2021 Apr 19;12:649502. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.649502. eCollection 2021. 

Rehman A, Cai Y, Hünefeld C, Jedličková H, Huang Y, Teck Teh M, Sharif Ahmad U, Uttagomol J, Wang Y, Kang A, Warnes G, Harwood C, Bergamaschi D, Kenneth Parkinson E, Röcken M, Wan H. The desmosomal cadherin desmoglein-3 acts as a keratinocyte anti-stress protein via suppression of p53. Cell Death Dis. 2019 Oct 3;10(10):750. doi: 10.1038/s41419-019-1988-0. 

Louise Brown, Ahmad Waseem, Isa, N. Cruz, Jaroslaw Szary, Emina Gunic, Tanima Mannan, Min Yang, Ferran Valderrama, Edel A. O’Toole and Hong Wan. Desmoglein 3 promotes cancer cell invasion through regulating AP-1 and PKC dependent-Ezrin activation. Oncogene. 2014 May 1;33(18):2363-74. doi: 10.1038/onc.2013.186. Epub 2013 Jun 10.

Tsang SM, Brown L, Lin K, Liu L, Piper K, O'Toole EA, Grose R, Hart IR, Garrod DR, Fortune F, Wan H (2012) Non-junctional human desmoglein 3 acts as an upstream regulator of Src in E-cadherin adhesion, a pathway possibly involved in the pathogenesis of pemphigus vulgaris. J Pathol 227: 81-93. 


All publications


Supervising the project research students at all levels, including PhD, MSc Experimental Oral Pathology / Regenerative Medicine, iBSc Oral Biology. 

So far I have successfully supervised 7 PhDs and more than 22 MSc / iBSc students. 

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