Professor Bruce Kemp

Pehr Edman Fellow St. Vincent’s Institute, Unit Head Protein Chemistry & Metabolism

Areas of expertise: Protein phosphorylation, instrasteric regulation, peptide substrates and inhibitors, AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK), Protein Phosphorylation

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-6735-5082


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

Bruce graduated (B. AgSc Hon University of Adelaide) and a PhD in Biochemistry (Flinders University) 1975. He undertook postdoctoral studies at UC Davis California in Edwin G Krebs (Nobel laureate) laboratory. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Howard Florey Institute 1979-84 and NHMC Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Repatriation General Hospital 1985-88. He was Deputy Director of the St Vincent’s Institute 1989-2003. His primary research focus is in protein chemistry and metabolism. His recent research has been concerned with the structure and function of the metabolic regulatory enzyme AMPK and its signaling pathways. His laboratory at the St Vincent’s Institute employs a wide range of techniques from protein crystallography and biochemistry through to genetically modified mouse models to understand the role of protein kinases in controlling exercise capacity and metabolism. Bruce is the Pehr Edman Fellow at the St Vincent’s Institute and Professorial Associate (honorary) in the University of Melbourne Department of Medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital. He and his colleagues have published over 390 papers including Science (9), Nature (5), Nature Medicine (3), Nature Structural Biology (1), Nature Communications (2) and Cell Metabolism (5).

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Select publications

  1. Kemp BE, Oakhill JS. Metabolism: Energy sensing through a sugar diphosphate. Nature. 2017 Aug 3;548(7665):36-37. doi: 10.1038/nature23099. Epub 2017 Jul 19. PubMed PMID: 28723890.

  2. Langendorf CG, Scott JW, Kemp BE. Fake Inhibitors: AMPK Activation Trumps Inhibition.Cell Chem Biol. 2017 Jul 20;24(7):775-777. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2017.07.005. PubMed PMID: 28732195.

  3. Dite TA, Ling NXY, Scott JW, Hoque A, Galic S, Parker BL, Ngoei KRW, Langendorf CG, O'Brien MT, Kundu M, Viollet B, Steinberg GR, Sakamoto K, Kemp BE, Oakhill JS. The autophagy initiator ULK1 sensitizes AMPK to allosteric drugs. Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 18;8(1):571. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00628-y. PubMed PMID: 28924239.

  4. Galic S, Loh K, Murray-Segal L, Steinberg GR, Andrews ZB, Kemp BE. AMPK signaling to acetyl-CoA carboxylase is required for fasting- and cold-induced appetite but not thermogenesis. Elife. 2018 Feb 13;7. pii: e32656. doi: 10.7554/eLife.32656. PubMed PMID: 29433631

  5. Langendorf CG, Oakhill JS, Kemp BE. Visualizing AMPK Drug Binding Sites Through Crystallization of Full-Length Phosphorylated α2β1γ1 Heterotrimer. Methods Mol Biol. 2018; 1732:15-27. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7598-3_2. PubMed PMID: 29480466

  6. Ngoei, K.R.W., C.G. Langendorf, N.X.Y. Ling, A. Hoque, S. Varghese, M.A. Camerino, S.R. Walker, Y.E. Bozikis, T.A. Dite, A.J. Ovens, W.J. Smiles, R. Jacobs, H. Huang, M.W. Parker, J.W. Scott, M.H. Rider, R.C. Foitzik, B.E. Kemp, J.B. Baell, and J.S. Oakhill, Structural Determinants for Small-Molecule Activation of Skeletal Muscle AMPK alpha2beta2gamma1 by the Glucose Importagog SC4. Cell Chem Biol, 2018. 25(6): p. 728-737 e9.

  7. Dite, T.A., C.G. Langendorf, A. Hoque, S. Galic, R.J. Rebello, A.J. Ovens, L.M. Lindqvist, K.R.W. Ngoei, N.X.Y. Ling, L. Furic, B.E. Kemp, J.W. Scott, and J.S. Oakhill, AMP-activated protein kinase selectively inhibited by the type II inhibitor SBI-0206965. J Biol Chem, 2018. 293(23): p. 8874-8885.

  8. Lepropre, S., S. Kautbally, M. Octave, A. Ginion, M.B. Onselaer, G.R. Steinberg, B.E. Kemp, A. Hego, O. Wera, S. Brouns, F. Swieringa, M. Giera, V.M. Darley-Usmar, J. Ambroise, B. Guigas, J. Heemskerk, L. Bertrand, C. Oury, C. Beauloye, and S. Horman, AMPK-ACC signaling modulates platelet phospholipids content and potentiates platelet function and thrombus formation. Blood, 2018.

  9. Madiraju, A.K., Y. Qiu, R.J. Perry, Y. Rahimi, X.M. Zhang, D. Zhang, J.G. Camporez, G.W. Cline, G.M. Butrico, B.E. Kemp, G. Casals, G.R. Steinberg, D.F. Vatner, K.F. Petersen, and G.I. Shulman, Metformin inhibits gluconeogenesis via a redox-dependent mechanism in vivo. Nat Med, 2018. 24(9): p. 1384-1394.

  10. Loh, K., S. Tam, L. Murray-Segal, K. Huynh, P.J. Meikle, J.W. Scott, B. van Denderen, Z. Chen, R. Steel, N.D. LeBlond, L.A. Burkovsky, C. O'Dwyer, J.R.C. Nunes, G.R. Steinberg, M.D. Fullerton, S. Galic, and B.E. Kemp, Inhibition of Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase-3-Hydroxy-3-Methylglutaryl Coenzyme A Reductase Signaling Leads to Hypercholesterolemia and Promotes Hepatic Steatosis and Insulin Resistance. Hepatol Commun, 2019. 3(1): p. 84-98.

  11. Shamshoum, H., K.D. Medak, L.K. Townsend, K.E. Ashworth, N.D. Bush, M.K. Hahn, B.E. Kemp, and D.C. Wright, AMPK beta1 activation suppresses antipsychotic-induced hyperglycemia in mice. FASEB J, 2019. 33(12): p. 14010-14021.

  12. Hussain, N., S.J. Chuang, M. Johanns, D. Vertommen, G.R. Steinberg, B.E. Kemp, and M.H. Rider, Effects of PKB/Akt inhibitors on insulin-stimulated lipogenesis and phosphorylation state of lipogenic enzymes in white adipose tissue. Biochem J, 2020. 477(8): p. 1373-1389.
  13. Xy Ling, N., C.G. Langendorf, A. Hoque, S. Galic, K. Loh, B.E. Kemp, A.L. Gundlach, J.S. Oakhill, and J.W. Scott, Functional analysis of an R311C variant of Ca(2+) -calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase-2 (CaMKK2) found as a de novo mutation in a patient with bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord, 2020.

Accolades and awards

  • Selwyn Smith Prize for Medical Research, 1988
  • Pharmacia-L.K.B. Medal and Travelling Fellowship Award, 1990
  • The Wellcome Australia Medal for Medical Research and Technology Development, 1990
  • The Wellcome Rapid Diagnostics Award, 1991
  • Lemberg Medal. Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1996
  • Max Planck Award 2000.
  • Fellow of Australian Academy Science 2000.
  • Fellow of Royal Society (London) 2002.
  • Federation Fellow, 2003
  • Centenary Medal (Australia) 2003
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2006.
  • The Leach lecture medal; Protein Structure and Function Conference 2016
  • Officer of the Order of Australia 2019

Appointments and affiliations

Scholarships and Fellowships:

  • Commonwealth Postgraduate Scholarship, 1971-1974
  • CSIRO Postdoctoral Studentship, 1974-1975
  • National Heart Foundation Fellow, 1976-1977
  • Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship, 1978-1979
  • National Health Medical Research Fellowship 1985-2003
  • Federation Fellow CSIRO MHT (2004-2008)
  • National Health Medical Research Fellowship 2009-2019

Editorial roles

  • Cellular Signalling-founding (1988-)
  • Biochim Biophys Acta (1992-97)
  • Biochemistry Journal (1994-96)
  • Journal Biological Chemistry (1998-2003)
  • Circulation Research Guest Editor 2007-8 Cardiac AMP-Activated Protein Kinase in Health and Disease.

Public engagement

  • Member, Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Member, Australian Society for Medical Research
  • Member, Australian Society for Microbiology
  • Member, American Society for the Advancement of Science
  • Member, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Member, Lorne Protein Structure Function Workshop Committee
  • Member, St. Vincent's Hospital Human Ethics Committee, (Professional Secretariat 1989-1996)
  • Author of the St. Vincent’s Hospital Campus Scientific Code of Conduct
  • Company Secretary, St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Ltd. ACN 004 705 640 (1990-2003), St. Vincent's Institute Finance Committee (1990-2003)
  • Member, NH&MRC Regional Grants Interview Panel (Adelaide, 1990, Sydney 1991-94, Brisbane 1995, Sydney 1996-98, Regional Chair 1997-98)
  • NH&MRC Assigners Panel (1994-98)
  • Member, NH&MRC Program Interview Panel (Melbourne 1991, Sydney 1998)
  • ARC Centre of Excellence Review Committee (past)
  • Various Institute Research Promotion Committees/Assessor
  • Grants referee, various State Cancer Councils, Hospitals, Foundations.
  • Board Member, Genomic Disorders Research Centre, Fitzroy, Melbourne (1997-2003)
  • Scientific Advisory Board for National Serology Reference Laboratory (NSRL), NSRL Management Committee (1998- 2007)
  • Scientific Advisory Boards, Bresagen 1993-2003) (South Australia), Mercury Therapeutics 1999-2015 (Boston, USA)


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