Dr. Yun Wah Lam received his PhD training in the lab of Dr. Davina Opstelten at the University of Hong Kong. After receiving his PhD in 1997, he joined the group of Prof. Angus Lamond in Dundee, Scotland, where he developed an interest in the relationship of the architecture of mammalian cell nucleus and the regulation of gene expression. Lam uses live-cell imaging techniques and classical biochemical approaches to study protein localization and interactions in the cell nucleus. In parallel, he is involved in an international effort to map the human nucleolus proteome. Recently, in collaboration with Jens Andersen (Odense) and Matthias Mann (Munich), he adopted the technique of SILAC (Stable Isotope Labeling with Amino acids in Cell culture) to quantify, by mass spectrometry, the global dynamics of the human nucleolar proteome in response to changes in metabolic conditions. The resulting paper, having received over 100 citations in 24 months, was featured as the "ScienceWatch hot paper" in The Scientist magazine (March 2007). Lam was the recipient of the second prize of the Roche "Imagining the future" contest in 2006. He joined City University of Hong Kong in 2007.
Proteomics allow the large-scale identification of proteins in complex biological systems, but it often only produces static snapshots of proteomes that fail to describe and explain the dynamic nature of cellular behaviours. In contrast, modern cell imaging techniques allow the quantitative analysis of the spatial and temporal distribution of biomolecules in living cells, but only a relatively small number of proteins can be studied in one experiment. Our lab strives to bring together these two powerful methodologies to tackle fundamental biological questions. To this end, we perform quantitative mass spectrometry to measure the flux of a large number of proteins through subcellular spaces and to track the proteomic changes within cellular complexes through time. In parallel, we record these dynamic cellular behaviours in live cells using time-lapse fluorescence microscopy. From these two angles, we aim at building coherent pictures of intracellular events under different growth and metabolic conditions. This lab aims to apply this dual approach to a range of topics, from basic cell biology to environmental sciences.