• 2014 - present: Associate Professor, Department of Biology,  School of Sciences and Humanities, Nazarbayev University, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

  • 2001–2015: Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas (*2011-2015 by affiliation)

  • 1996–2001: Postdoctoral fellow with Prof. R. A. Anderson Department of Pharmacology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Research topic: “Molecular basis of phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinase specificity”.

  • 1996–2001: Postdoctoral fellow with Prof. M. N. Hall Biozentrum of the University of Basel and with Prof. M. Waterfield at the Ludwig Institute in London. Research topic: “The TOR signaling pathway and regulation of growth control”


  • 1989–1993    Graduate Education: Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Basel, Switzerland

Ph.D.in Biochemistry, Adviser Prof. M. N. Hall. Grade “Summa cum laude”.

  • 1984–1989    Undergraduate Education: University of Basel, Switzerland, Biozentrum


Citations: 4663 (Google Scholar, April 2020); h-index: 21 

Google Scholar profile

Peer-reviewed publications and book chapters

  1. Wagner, P., Kunz, J., Koller, A., and Hall, M.N. (1990) Active transport of proteins into the nucleus. FEBS Lett. 275, 1-5. 

  2. Kunz, J., Henriquez, R., Schneider, U., Deuter-Reinhard, M., Movva, N.R., and Hall, M.N. (1993) Target of rapamycin in yeast, TOR2, is an essential phosphatidylinositol kinase homolog required for G1 progression.  Cell 73, 585-596. Link1 Link2

  3. Kunz, J., and Hall, M.N. (1993) CsA, FK506, and rapamycin: More than just immunosuppression. Trends in Biochem. Sci. 18, 334-338. 

  4. Heitman, J., Koller, T., Kunz, J., Henriquez, R., Movva, R.N., and Hall, M.N. (1993) The immunosuppressant FK506 inhibits amino acid import in Saccharomyces cerevisae.  Mol. Cell. Biol. 13, 5010-5019. 

  5. Helliwell, S., Wagner, P., Kunz, J., Henriquez, R., Deuter-Reinhart, M., and Hall, M.N. (1994) TOR1 and TOR2 are structurally and functionally similar but not identical phosphatidylinositol kinase homologues in yeast.  Mol. Biol. Cell 5, 105-118. 

  6. Schmidt, A., Kunz, J., and Hall, M.N. (1996) TOR2 is required for the organization of the actin cytoskeleton in yeast.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 93,13780-13785. 

  7. Kunz J. (1997) Unravelling immunosuppressive drug action through yeast genetics. XII. Merck Symposium, Blackwell Wissenschaft, Berlin. pp. 57-64. (Book chapter)

  8. Schmidt, A., Beck, T., Koller, A., Kunz, J., and Hall, M.N. (1998) The TOR nutrient signalling pathway phosphorylates NPR1 and inhibits turnover of the tryptophan permease. EMBO J. 17, 6924-6931. 

  9. Anderson, R.A., Boronenkov, I., Doughman, S., Kunz, J., and Loijens, J. (1998) PIP kinases: A multifaceted family of lipid kinases. J. Biol. Chem. 274: 9907-9910. 

  10. Arneson, L.S., Kunz, J., Anderson, R.A., and Traub, L.M. (1999) Coupled inositide phosphorylation and phospholipase D activation initiates clathrin-coat assembly on lysosomes. J. Biol. Chem. 274, 17794-17805. 

  11. Kunz, J., Wilson, M. P., Kisseleva, M., Hurley, J. H., Majerus, P. W., and Anderson, R. A. (2000). The activation loop of phosphatidylinositolphosphate kinases determines signaling specificity. Mol Cell 5, 1-11. 

  12. Kunz, J., Deuter-Reinhard, M., and Hall, M. N. (2000). FAP1, a homologue of human transcription factor NF-X1, competes with rapamycin for binding to FKBP12 in yeast. Mol Microbiol. 37, 1480-1493. 

  13. Kunz, J., Schneider, U., Stevenson, I., Schmidt, A., and Hall, M. N. (2000). HEAT repeats mediate plasma membrane localization of Tor2 in yeast. J. Biol. Chem. 275, 37011-37020. 

  14. Kunz, J., Fuelling, A., Kolbe, L., and Anderson, R. A. (2002), Stereo-specific substrate recognition of phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinases is swapped by changing a single amino acid residue. J. Biol. Chem. 277, 5611-5619

  15. Fadri, M., Daquinag, A., Wang, S., Xue, T., and Kunz, J. (2005) The pleckstrin homology domain proteins Slm1 and Slm2 are required for actin cytoskeleton organization in yeast and bind phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate and TORC2. Mol. Biol Cell 16: 1883-900. 

  16. Hiesinger, R., Fayyazuddin, A.,Mehta, S. Q., Rosenmund, T., Schulze, K., Zhai, R. G., Verstreken, P., Cao, Y., Zhou, Y., Kunz, J., and Bellen, H. (2005) The v-ATPase V0 Subunit a1 Is Required for a Late Step in Synaptic Vesicle Exocytosis in Drosophila. Cell 121: 607-620. 

  17. Kumar V, Zhang X, Swank M, Kunz J., and Wu G.Y. (2005). Regulation of dendritic morphogenesis by Ras-PI3K-Akt-mTOR and Ras-MAPK signaling pathways. J Neurosci. 25:11288-99

  18. Daquinag, A., Fadri, M., Jung, S.Y., Qin, J., and Kunz, J. (2006). The yeast PH domain proteins Slm1 and Slm2 are targets of sphingolipid signaling during the response to heat stress. Mol. Cell. Biol. 27: 633 – 650. Epublished 17 Nov 2006.

  19. Lee, S.-H., Kunz, J., Lin, S.-H., and Yu-Lee, L.-Y. (2007). 16-kDa Prolactin Inhibits Endothelial Cell Migration by Downregulating the Ras-Tiam1-Rac1-Pak1 Signaling Pathway. Cancer Res. 67(22):11045-53

  20. Chao WT and Kunz J. (2009). Focal adhesion disassembly requires clathrin-dependent endocytosis of integrins. FEBS Lett. 583:1337-43. 

  21. Chao, W.T., Daquinag, A., Ashcroft, F., and Kunz, J. (2010). Type I phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinase I alpha regulates directed cell migration by modulating Rac1 membrane targeting and activation. J. Cell Biol. 190(2):247-62. Featured by Editor as “Editor’s choice” in the 2010 August issue of Sci. STKE; cited as recommended reading by "Faculty of 1000.

  22. Chao, W.T., Ashcroft, F., Daquinag, A., Vadakkan, T. Wei, Z., Zhang. P, Dickinson, M.E., and Kunz, J. (2010). Type I phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinase I beta regulates focal adhesion disassembly by promoting beta1 integrin endocytosis. Mol. Cell Biol. 30(18):4463-79. Epub 2010 Jul 12. Featured by Editor as “Spotlight” in the 2010 September issue of MCB.

  23. Zhubanchaliyev, A., Temirbekuli, A. Kongrtay, K., Corvin-Wanshura, L. and Kunz, J. (2016). Targeting mechanotransduction at the transcriptional level: YAP and BRD4 are novel therapeutic targets for the reversal of liver fibrosis. Frontiers Pharmacology, 7: 462.  01 December, https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2016.00462 

  24. Myngbay, A., Bexeitov, Y., Adilbayeva, A.,  Assylbekov, Z.,  Yevstratenko, B.P.,  Aitzhanova, R.M., Matkarimov, B., Adarichev, V.A., Kunz, J. (2019). CTHRC1: a new candidate serum biomarker for improved rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. Frontiers in Immunology, 10:1353. 12 June, https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.01353  

Research Grant Support (Current)


ORAU Research Project Grant (Role: PI)

Phosphoinositide phosphate signaling networks: A novel therapeutic opportunity in breast cancer. 

Dates of Project: 10/01/2016-09/30/2020

Total Funding: $400,000


ORAU Research Project Grant (Role: Co-PI)

Autoimmune mechanisms of Brucellosis-induced Spondyloarthritis 

Dates of Project: 1/01/2017-12/31/2017

Total Funding: $120,000


Ministry of Education and Science, Republic of Kazakhstan (Role: Co-PI)

The Kazakhstan Soil Microbiome: Characterization of Agricultural Challenges and Opportunities

Dates of Project: 4/1/15-03/31/17

Total Funding: $65,000/yr


Social Policy Fund Nazarbayev University (Role : PI)

Targeting the phosphoinositide signaling cascade in cancer metastasis

Dates of Project: 10/15/15-09/30/16

Total Funding: $10,000


Group Leader

  • Location: 53 Kabanbay Batyr Ave., Nur-Sultan, 010000
  • Office : Block 7, Room e520 (7.e520)
  • Phone: +7 (702) 411 04 63
  • Email: Jeannette.kunz@nu.edu.kz


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