Hijai Regina Shin completed her bachelor’s degree in Biology and her Ph.D in Molecular Biology in Seoul National University, South Korea. Her Ph.D. research focused on the epigenetic and transcriptional regulation of autophagy and lysosome functions.  Dr. Shin then joined the laboratory of Roberto Zoncu at the University of California Berkeley where she studied the mechanisms of nutrient sensing and cellular quality control, with emphasis on the signaling role of cholesterol and how it governs lysosome functions, cellular growth and metabolism. She gained expertise in techniques for the high-purity organelle immune-isolation and mass spectrometry-based analysis, along with an in-depth understanding of lipid metabolism. Moreover, in collaboration, she leveraged chemical biology approaches to develop new-generation inhibitors of the master growth regulator, mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 (mTORC1) kinase, which may find application in disease settings driven by aberrant mTORC1 or dysregulated autophagy.

     In 2024, Dr. Shin joined the faculty of Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern as an Assistant Professor. The Shin lab combines unique expertise in cell biology, biochemistry, chemical biology and organelle physiology to uncover new connections between cholesterol sensing, impact on organelle functions and regulation of gene expression programs. The lab aims to undercover how inter-organelle communication dictates downstream metabolic response following environmental changes, and how breakdown of this communication leads to cancer aggressiveness and the development of other age-related diseases.

Research Interest

  • atypical GPCR
  • Cancer biology
  • Cell signaling
  • Lysosome
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Organelle biology


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

NPC1-mTORC1 Signaling Couples Cholesterol Sensing to Organelle Homeostasis and Is a Targetable Pathway in Niemann-Pick Type C.
Davis OB, Shin HR, Lim CY, Wu EY, Kukurugya M, Maher CF, Perera RM, Ordonez MP, Zoncu R, Dev Cell 2021 Feb 56 3 260-276.e7
Pontin arginine methylation by CARM1 is crucial for epigenetic regulation of autophagy.
Yu YS, Shin HR, Kim D, Baek SA, Choi SA, Ahn H, Shamim A, Kim J, Kim IS, Kim KK, Won KJ, Baek SH, Nat Commun 2020 Dec 11 1 6297
The Lysosome at the Intersection of Cellular Growth and Destruction.
Shin HR, Zoncu R, Dev Cell 2020 Jul 54 2 226-238
ER-lysosome contacts enable cholesterol sensing by mTORC1 and drive aberrant growth signalling in Niemann-Pick type C.
Lim CY, Davis OB, Shin HR, Zhang J, Berdan CA, Jiang X, Counihan JL, Ory DS, Nomura DK, Zoncu R, Nat Cell Biol 2019 Oct 21 10 1206-1218
Covalent targeting of the vacuolar H+-ATPase activates autophagy via mTORC1 inhibition.
Chung CY, Shin HR, Berdan CA, Ford B, Ward CC, Olzmann JA, Zoncu R, Nomura DK, Nat Chem Biol 2019 Aug 15 8 776-785
Epigenetic and transcriptional regulation of autophagy.
Shin HR, Kim H, Kim KI, Baek SH, Autophagy 2016 Nov 12 11 2248-2249
AMPK-SKP2-CARM1 signalling cascade in transcriptional regulation of autophagy.
Shin HJ, Kim H, Oh S, Lee JG, Kee M, Ko HJ, Kweon MN, Won KJ, Baek SH, Nature 2016 Jun 534 7608 553-7

Honors & Awards

  • Association of FrontoTemporal Degeneration (AFTD)-Holloway Postdoctoral fellowship
  • AACR-Amgen Fellowship in Clinical/Translational Cancer Research
  • KOFWST Excellence Award for Young Scientist
  • AMOREPACIFIC Great Global Next Generation Research Award
  • S-Oil Excellent Dissertation award in Biology

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) (2012)