Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Birthplace: Bristol, England
PhD – 2008-2012 (University of Aberdeen, UK)
MSc – 2007 (University of Aberdeen, UK)
BSc (Hons) – 2004-2007 (University of Birmingham, UK)
Deciphering the molecular signalling networks that regulate skeletal muscle growth, atrophy and regeneration represents a key goal in musculoskeletal research – not least because of the therapeutic potential these pathways may hold in the treatment of diseases such as muscular dystrophy, sarcopenia and cachexia. My research interests lye in identifying and understanding such pathways and examining their function in relevant physiological and pathophysiological settings in vivo.
Skeletal muscle is an excellent system to model tissue regeneration, thanks to a potent population of resident adult stem cells (satellite cells). Understanding the cell autonomous regulation of satellite cell function and heterogeneity (orchestrated by signalling pathways, chromatin modification or miRNAs) as well as the interactions between these cells, their niche and other muscle-resident progenitor populations is of particular interest. As is understanding the extent to which muscle stem cells contribute to skeletal muscle homeostasis in normal physiological settings outside of disease and models of gross injury (e.g. cardiotoxin).
Following completion of undergraduate studies at The University of Birmingham, Robert moved to The University of Aberdeen in 2007 to begin his masters studies in Physiology. Robert’s MSc research focused on human population genetics, where he investigated the association between the single nucleotide polymorphism ACTN3 R577X, skeletal muscle function and falls in two large cohorts of elderly women (Judson et al., 2010). In 2008 Robert was awarded a prestigious Oliver Bird Rheumatism Program studentship and completed his PhD studies at the same institute in the Musculoskeletal Research Group under the supervision of Dr Henning Wackerhage and Prof Cosimo de Bari. Here, Robert investigated Hippo signalling and the function of Yes-Associated Protein (Yap) in skeletal muscle, myogenesis and satellite cells where he gained considerable experience and expertise with variety of in vitro (Watt & Judson et al., 2010), ex vivo (Judson et al., 2012) and in vivo(Judson et al., 2013, Owen et al., 2012) models of mammalian tissue growth, differentiation, regeneration and disease. This project involved several collaborative trips to Prof Pete Zammit’s lab (King’s College London) where Robert became familiar with working with single myofibre cultures and retroviral gene delivery methods ex vivo.
Robert joined the Rossi lab in November 2012 and will be continuing his work investigating the molecular networks that underpin skeletal muscle phenotypes and stem cell function in vivo, with a particular emphasis on understanding the collaborative interactions that occur between multiple progenitor populations during tissue regeneration – a subject of a recent review article (Judson et al., 2013)
Life outside the lab:
Outside of science Robert is an avid sportsman participating in a variety of outdoor activities such as running, skiing, soccer, climbing and hiking.
Wackerhage H, Del Re DP, Judson RN, Sudol M, Sadoshima J. (2014) The Hippo signal transduction network in skeletal and cardiac muscle. Science Signaling. Aug 5;7(337):re4
Tremblay AM, Missiaglia E, Galli GG, Hettmer S, Urcia R, Carrara M, Judson RN, Thway K, Nadal G, Selfe JL, Murray G, Calogero RA, De Bari C, Zammit, Delorenzi M, Wagers AJ, Shipley J, Wackerhage H, Camargo FD. (2014) The Hippo Transducer YAP1 Transforms Activated Satellite Cells and Is a Potent Effector of Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma Formation. Cancer Cell. 2014 Jul 30. pii: S1535-6108
Judson, R.N., Zhang, R.H. and Rossi, F.M. (2013). Tissue-resident mesenchymal stem progenitor cells in skeletal muscle: collaborators or saboteurs? FEBS J_IN PRESS
Robert N Judson, Stuart R Gray, Claire Walker, Andrew Carroll, Cecile Itzstein, Arimantas Lionikas, Peter S Zammit, Cosimo De Bari and Henning Wackerhage (2013) Constitutive expression of Yes-associated protein (Yap) in adult skeletal muscle fibres induces muscle atrophy and dystrophy.. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e32700. Epub 2012 Feb 28.
Judson, Robert N., Tremblay, Annie M., Knopp, Paul, White, Robert B., Urcia, Roby, De Bari, Cosimo., Zammit, Peter S., Camargo, Fernando D, Wackerhage, Henning (2012) The Hippo pathway member Yap plays a key role in influencing fate decisions in muscle satellite cells. Journal of Cell Science. Advance Online Publication October 4, 2012, doi:10.1242/jcs.109546
Carl Owen, Alicja J Czopek, Abdelali Agouni, Louise Grant, Robert Judson, Olga Göransson, Andy Welch, Kendra K. Bence, Barbara B. Kahn, Benjamin G. Neel, Nimesh Mody, Mirela Delibegovic. (2012) Adipocyte-specific protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B deletion increases lipogenesis, adipocyte cell size and is a minor regulator of glucose homeostasis. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e32700. Epub 2012 Feb 28.
Watt, K., Judson, R.N., Medlow, P., Reid, K., Kurth, T., Burniston, J., Ratkevicius, A., De Bari, C. and Wackerhage, H. (2010) Yap is a novel regulator of C2C12 myogenesis. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 393, 619-624.
Judson, R.N., Wackerhage, H., Hughes, A., Mavroeidi, A., Barr, R., Macdonald, H., Ratkevicius, A., Reid, D. and Hocking, L. (2010) The Functional ACTN3 577X Variant Increases the Risk of Falling in Older Females: Results From Two Large Independent Cohort Studies. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. Jan;66(1):130-5
Robert Judson, (2012) The role of Yes-associated protein (YAP) in skeletal muscle satellite cells and myofibres. The University of Aberdeen