Franck Pichaud Research Group

1992 Master Degree Biochemistry, Paris 6 University, France
1993 Diploma degree, Pasteur Institute and Paris 6 University, France
1997 PhD, Paris 6 University, France
Franck Pichaud
Tel: 020 7679 7817
Fax: 020 7679 7805
1993 MRT PhD scholarship
1997 ARC Post doctoral fellowship
1999-2001 HFSPO Post doctoral fellow
Previous Posts: 
1997-2000 HHMI Fellow with Claude Desplan, Rockefeller University, NYC, NY, USA
2000-2003 HFSP Fellow with Claude Desplan, NYU, NYC, NY, USA
2003- MRC Career Track Group Leader LMCB- UCL
2007- MRC Group leader LMCB-UCL
2013- Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology LMCB-UCL

Polarity & Morphogenesis

Understanding how a functional organ can be produced from a small group of precursor cells remains an outstanding question in cell and developmental biology. The developing compound eye of Drosophila melanogaster has long been a model of choice for addressing this question by dissecting the cellular, genetic and molecular pathways that govern cell specification, differentiation, and multicellular patterning during organogenesis.

Our work focuses on cell and tissue morphogenesis during fly retinal development, including the regulated changes in cell shape and cell packing that ultimately determine the shape and architecture of the compound eye. We are particularly interested in uncovering new principles and mechanisms that regulate the cell shape changes, cell-cell junction remodeling and polarized membrane growth that underlie photoreceptor morphogenesis and retinal patterning.

Lab Web page :

Lab Members: 
Amira Brigui
Mubarik Burki
Chiara Mencarelli
Francisca Nunes De Almeida
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    • Fichelson, P., Brigui, A., Pichaud, F. (2012). Orthodenticle and Kruppel homolog 1 regulate Drosophila photoreceptor maturation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(20), 7893-7898 doi:10.1073/pnas.1120276109. Author URL
    • Robertson, F., Pinal, N., Fichelson, P., Pichaud, F. (2012). Atonal and EGFR signalling orchestrate rok- and Drak-dependent adherens junction remodelling during ommatidia morphogenesis. Development 139(18), 3432-3441 doi:10.1242/dev.080762. Author URL


    • Pinal, N., Pichaud, F. (2011). Dynamin- and Rab5-dependent endocytosis is required to prevent Drosophila photoreceptor degeneration. J Cell Sci 124(Pt 9), 1564-1570 doi:10.1242/jcs.082115. Author URL


    • Richardson, E. C., Pichaud, F. (2010). Crumbs is required to achieve proper organ size control during Drosophila head development. Development 137(4), 641-650 doi:10.1242/dev.041913. Author URL
    • Walther, R. F., Pichaud, F. (2010). Crumbs/DaPKC-dependent apical exclusion of Bazooka promotes photoreceptor polarity remodeling. Curr Biol 20(12), 1065-1074 doi:10.1016/j.cub.2010.04.049. Author URL


    • Genevet, A., Polesello, C., Blight, K., Robertson, F., Collinson, L. M., Pichaud, F., Tapon, N. (2009). The Hippo pathway regulates apical-domain size independently of its growth-control function. J Cell Sci 122(Pt 14), 2360-2370 doi:10.1242/jcs.041806. Author URL
    • Hogan, C., Dupré-Crochet, S., Norman, M., Kajita, M., Zimmermann, C., Pelling, A. E., Piddini, E., Baena-López, L. A., Vincent, J. P., Hosoya, H., Itoh, Y., Pichaud, F., Fujita, Y. (2009). Characterization of the interface between normal and transformed epithelial cells. Nature Cell Biology 11(4), 460-467 doi:10.1038/ncb1853. Author URL


    • Mazzoni, E. O., Celik, A., Wernet, M. F., Vasiliauskas, D., Johnston, R. J., Cook, T. A., Pichaud, F., Desplan, C. (2008). Iroquois complex genes induce co-expression of rhodopsins in Drosophila. PLoS Biology 6(4), e97 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060097. Author URL Publisher URL


    • Bialucha, C. U., Ferber, E. C., Pichaud, F., Peak-Chew, S. Y., Fujita, Y. (2007). p32 is a novel mammalian Lgl binding protein that enhances the activity of protein kinase Czeta and regulates cell polarity. The Journal of Cell Biology 178(4), 575-581 doi:10.1083/jcb.200612022. Author URL
    • Corrigall, D., Walther, R. F., Rodriguez, L., Fichelson, P., Pichaud, F. (2007). Hedgehog signaling is a principal inducer of Myosin-II-driven cell ingression in Drosophila epithelia. Developmental Cell 13(5), 730-742 doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2007.09.015. Author URL
    • Sprecher, S. G., Pichaud, F., Desplan, C. (2007). Adult and larval photoreceptors use different mechanisms to specify the same Rhodopsin fates. Genes and Development 21(17), 2182-2195 doi:10.1101/gad.1565407. Author URL
    • Walther, R. F., Pichaud, F. (2007). Immunofluorescent staining and imaging of the pupal and adult Drosophila visual system. Nature Protocols 1, 2635-2642 doi:10.1038/nprot.2006.379. Author URL


    • Leulier, F., Ribeiro, P., Palmer, E., Tenev, T., Takahashi, K., Robertson, D., Zachariou, A., Pichaud, F., Ueda, R., Meier, P. (2006). Systematic in vivo RNAi analysis of putative components of the Drosophila cell death machinery. Cell Death and Differentiation 13(10), 1663-1674 Author URL
    • Pinal, N., Goberdhan, D. C., Collinson, L., Fujita, Y., Cox, I. M., Wilson, C., Pichaud, F. (2006). Regulated and polarized Ptdlns(3,4,5)P3 accumulation is essential for apical membrane morphogenesis in photoreceptor epithelial cells. Curr Biol 16(2), 140-149 doi:10.1016/j.cub.2005.11.068. Author URL


    • Wu, S., Mehta, S. Q., Pichaud, F., Bellen, H. J., Quiocho, F. A. (2005). Sec15 interacts with Rab11 via a novel domain and affects Rab11 localization in vivo. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 12(10), 879-885 Author URL


    • Cook, T., Pichaud, F., Sonneville, R., Papatsenko, D., Desplan, C. (2003). Distinction between color photoreceptor cell fates is controlled by Prospero in Drosophila. Developmental Cell 4(6), 853-864 Author URL
    • Tahayato, A., Sonneville, R., Pichaud, F., Wernet, M. F., Papatsenko, D., Beaufils, P., Cook, T., Desplan, C. (2003). Otd/Crx, a dual regulator for the specification of ommatidia subtypes in the Drosophila retina. Developmental Cell 5(3), 391-402 Author URL
    • Wernet, M. F., Labhart, T., Baumann, F., Mazzoni, E. O., Pichaud, F., Desplan, C. (2003). Homothorax switches function of Drosophila photoreceptors from color to polarized light sensors. Cell 115(3), 267-279 Author URL


    • Bessa, J., Gebelein, B., Pichaud, F., Casares, F., Mann, R. S. (2002). Combinatorial control of Drosophila eye development by eyeless, homothorax, and teashirt. Genes and Development 16(18), 2415-2427 Author URL
    • Pichaud, F., Desplan, C. (2002). Cell biology: a new view of photoreceptors. Nature 416(6877), 139-140 Author URL
    • Pichaud, F., Desplan, C. (2002). Pax genes and eye organogenesis. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 12(4), 430-434 Author URL


    • Pichaud, F., Desplan, C. (2001). A new visualization approach for identifying mutations that affect differentiation and organization of the Drosophila ommatidia. Development 128(6), 815-826 Author URL
    • Pichaud, F., Treisman, J., Desplan, C. (2001). Reinventing a common strategy for patterning the eye. Cell 105(1), 9-12 Author URL


    • Mollereau, B., Wernet, M. F., Beaufils, P., Killian, D., Pichaud, F., Kühnlein, R., Desplan, C. (2000). A green fluorescent protein enhancer trap screen in Drosophila photoreceptor cells. Mech Dev 93(1-2), 151-160 Author URL
    • Pichaud, F., Casares, F. (2000). homothorax and iroquois-C genes are required for the establishment of territories within the developing eye disc. Mech Dev 96(1), 15-25 Author URL



    • Frendo, J. L., Delage-Mourroux, R., Cohen, R., Pichaud, F., Pidoux, E., Guliana, J. M., Jullienne, A. (1998). Calcitonin receptor mRNA expression in TT cells: effect of dexamethasone. Mol Cell Endocrinol 139(1-2), 37-43 Author URL
    • Frendo, J. L., Delage-Mourroux, R., Cohen, R., Pichaud, F., Pidoux, E., Guliana, J. M., Jullienne, A. (1998). Calcitonin receptor mRNA is expressed in human medullary thyroid carcinoma. Thyroid 8(2), 141-147 Author URL


    • Delage-Mourroux, R., Frenkian, M., Pichaud, F., Frendo, J. L., Pidoux, E., Jullienne, A. (1997). Isoforms of type-I 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase mRNA. Adv Exp Med Biol 433, 391-394 Author URL
    • Delage-Mourroux, R., Pichaud, F., Frendo, J. L., Pidoux, E., Guliana, J. M., Moukhtar, M. S., Jullienne, A. (1997). Cloning and sequencing of a new 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase related mRNA. Gene 188(1), 143-148 Author URL
    • Pichaud, F., Delage-Mourroux, R., Frenkian, M., Frendo, J. L., Roux, S., de Vernejoul, M. C., Jullienne, A. (1997). Type-I 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase: role in macrophage/osteoclast differentiation. Adv Exp Med Biol 433, 399-402 Author URL
    • Pichaud, F., Delage-Mourroux, R., Pidoux, E., Jullienne, A., Rousseau-Merck, M. F. (1997). Chromosomal localization of the type-I 15-PGDH gene to 4q34-q35. Hum Genet 99(2), 279-281 Author URL
    • Pichaud, F., Roux, S., Frendo, J. L., Delage-Mourroux, R., Maclouf, J., de Vernejoul, M. C., Moukhtar, M. S., Jullienne, A. (1997). 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 induces NAD(+)-dependent 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase in human neonatal monocytes. Blood 89(6), 2105-2112 Author URL
    • Roux, S., Pichaud, F., Quinn, J., Lalande, A., Morieux, C., Jullienne, A., de Vernejoul, M. C. (1997). Effects of prostaglandins on human hematopoietic osteoclast precursors. Endocrinology 138(4), 1476-1482 doi:10.1210/endo.138.4.5070. Author URL


    • Roux, S., Quinn, J., Pichaud, F., Orcel, P., Chastre, E., Jullienne, A., De Vernejoul, M. C. (1996). Human cord blood monocytes undergo terminal osteoclast differentiation in vitro in the presence of culture medium conditioned by giant cell tumor of bone. J Cell Physiol 168(3), 489-498 doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4652(199609)168:33.0.CO;2-L. Author URL


    • Pichaud, F., Frendo, J. L., Delage-Mourroux, R., de Vernejoul, M. C., Moukhtar, M. S., Jullienne, A. (1995). Sequence of a novel mRNA coding for a C-terminal-truncated form of human NAD(+)-dependent 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase. Gene 162(2), 319-322 Author URL


    • Frendo, J. L., Pichaud, F., Mourroux, R. D., Bouizar, Z., Segond, N., Moukhtar, M. S., Jullienne, A. (1994). An isoform of the human calcitonin receptor is expressed in TT cells and in medullary carcinoma of the thyroid. FEBS Lett 342(2), 214-216 Author URL