Prof Buzz Baum


Personal Profile

Name: Buzz Baum Email:
Title: Prof Tel: 0044 20 7679 3040
Department: MRC/UCL Lab for Molecular Cell Bio Fax:
Position: Professor of Cell Biology Address: , , london,
Research Domain: Basic Life Sciences, Cancer, Personalised Medicine Web Page: Personal Web Page


Research Description

The shape of an animal cell is an important functional property that is determined through a dynamic interplay between intrinsic information and cues from the extracellular environment. In the Baum lab we are exploring the molecular, cellular and physical processes that give rise to the shape of isolated animal cells and cells in the context of an epithelium, and are interested in the morphological processes that go awry during cancer progression. To do so, we study developing flies, human and Drosophila cell culture systems as well as cancer patient tissue using an array of diverse techniques including classical cell biological, genetic and biochemical techniques alongside the latest high-content RNA interference (RNAi) screening, imaging, computational modeling, laser ablation, biophysical tools and micropatterning methodologies.

This research falls into three general areas, all of which focus on the cytoskeleton, the cell and its environment. First, we study how cytoskeletal organisation and dynamics are regulated to control normal and cancer cell shape, and use RNAi to identify conserved, coreregulators of these processes.

Second, we investigate cell rounding in mitosis at the molecular, cellular and physical level, and how this rounding contributes to spindle assembly and faithful division of the genetic material.

Third, we use the dorsal thorax of the fly as a model system to understand the orchestrated processes by which a developing tissue becomes well-ordered and refined, through changes in cell shape, changes in cell-cell junctional dynamics and through protrusion-mediated signalling.

Overall, our aim is to build up a picture of how the dynamic behaviour of individual cells contributes to tissue form and function in normal development and cancer progression.

Research Activities

Cell and tissue morphogenesis in development

Digital Biology

Physical cell

Systems morphogenesis

Education Description

Graduate teaching:

UCL Collaborators

Prof Bernard Buxton; Dr Peter Bentley; Dr Thomas Mrsic-Flogel; Dr Beau Lotto; Prof Adam Sillito; Prof Mark Lythgoe; Prof Steven Dakin

External Collaborators



    • Rosa A, Vlassaks E, Pichaud F, Baum B (2015). Ect2/Pbl Acts via Rho and Polarity Proteins to Direct the Assembly of an Isotropic Actomyosin Cortex upon Mitotic Entry. DEVELOPMENTAL CELL, 32(5), 604 - 616. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2015.01.012
    • Baum D, Baum B (2015). The world in a cell. NEW SCIENTIST, 225(3008), 28 - 29.
    • Wyatt TP, Harris AR, Lam M, Cheng Q, Bellis J, Dimitracopoulos A, Kabla AJ, Charras GT, Baum B (2015). Emergence of homeostatic epithelial packing and stress dissipation through divisions oriented along the long cell axis.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(18), 5726 - 5731. doi:10.1073/pnas.1420585112
    • Mao Y, Baum B (2015). Tug of war-The influence of opposing physical forces on epithelial cell morphology. DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 401(1), 92 - 102. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.12.030


    • Rohn JL, Patel JV, Neumann B, Bulkescher J, Mchedlishvili N, McMullan RC, Quintero OA, Ellenberg J, Baum B (2014). Myo19 Ensures Symmetric Partitioning of Mitochondria and Coupling of Mitochondrial Segregation to Cell Division. Current Biology, 24(21), 2598 - 2605. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.09.045
    • Sedwick C (2014). Buzz Baum: The art of cell shape. The Journal of Cell Biology, 206(3), 332 - 333. doi:10.1083/jcb.2063pi
    • Strandkvist C, Juul J, Baum B, Kabla AJ, Duke T (2014). A kinetic mechanism for cell sorting based on local variations in cell motility. INTERFACE FOCUS, 4(6), - . doi:10.1098/rsfs.2014.0013
    • Baum DA, Baum B (2014). An inside-out origin for the eukaryotic cell. BMC Biology, 12(1), 76 - 76. doi:10.1186/s12915-014-0076-2
    • Picone R, Baum B, McKendry R (2014). Plasma microcontact patterning (PμCP): a technique for the precise control of surface patterning at small-scale.. Methods Cell Biol, 119, 73 - 90. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-416742-1.00005-6
    • Lancaster OM, Baum B (2014). Shaping up to divide: coordinating actin and microtubule cytoskeletal remodelling during mitosis.. Semin Cell Dev Biol, 34, 109 - 115. doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2014.02.015
    • Protonotarios ED, Baum B, Johnston A, Hunter GL, Griffin LD (2014). An absolute interval scale of order for point patterns.. J R Soc Interface, 11(99), - . doi:10.1098/rsif.2014.0342


    • Araujo A, Baum B, Bentley P (2013). The role of chromosome missegregation in cancer development: a theoretical approach using agent-based modelling.. PLoS One, 8(8), e72206 - . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072206
    • Csikasz-Nagy A, Escudero LM, Guillaud M, Sedwards S, Baum B, Cavaliere M (2013). Cooperation and competition in the dynamics of tissue architecture during homeostasis and tumorigenesis. SEMINARS IN CANCER BIOLOGY, 23(4), 293 - 298. doi:10.1016/j.semcancer.2013.05.009
    • Harris AR, Bellis J, Khalilgharibi N, Wyatt T, Baum B, Kabla AJ, Charras GT (2013). Generating suspended cell monolayers for mechanobiological studies.. Nat Protoc, 8(12), 2516 - 2530. doi:10.1038/nprot.2013.151
    • Lancaster OM, Le Berre M, Dimitracopoulos A, Bonazzi D, Zlotek-Zlotkiewicz E, Picone R, Duke T, Piel M, Baum B (2013). Mitotic rounding alters cell geometry to ensure efficient bipolar spindle formation.. Dev Cell, 25(3), 270 - 283. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2013.03.014


    • Davidson LA, Baum B (2012). Making waves: the rise and fall and rise of quantitative developmental biology. DEVELOPMENT, 139(17), 3065 - 3069. doi:10.1242/dev.080093
    • Kunda P, Rodrigues NT, Moeendarbary E, Liu T, Ivetic A, Charras G, Baum B (2012). PP1-mediated moesin dephosphorylation couples polar relaxation to mitotic exit.. Curr Biol, 22(3), 231 - 236. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.12.016
    • Marinari E, Mehonic A, Curran S, Gale J, Duke T, Baum B (2012). Live-cell delamination counterbalances epithelial growth to limit tissue overcrowding.. Nature, 484(7395), 542 - 545. doi:10.1038/nature10984
    • Block J, Breitsprecher D, Kühn S, Winterhoff M, Kage F, Geffers R, Duwe P, Rohn JL, Baum B, Brakebusch C, Geyer M, Stradal TE, Faix J, Rottner K (2012). FMNL2 drives actin-based protrusion and migration downstream of Cdc42.. Curr Biol, 22(11), 1005 - 1012. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.03.064
    • Matthews HK, Delabre U, Rohn JL, Kunda P, Guck J, Baum B (2012). Changes in ect2 localization couple actomyosin-dependent cell shape changes to mitotic progression. Developmental Cell, 23(2), 371 - 383. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2012.06.003
    • Matthews HK, Baum B (2012). The metastatic cancer cell cortex: an adaptation to enhance robust cell division in novel environments?. Bioessays, 34(12), 1017 - 1020. doi:10.1002/bies.201200109
    • Harris AR, Peter L, Bellis J, Baum B, Kabla AJ, Charras GT (2012). Characterizing the mechanics of cultured cell monolayers.. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 109(41), 16449 - 16454. doi:10.1073/pnas.1213301109
    • Conte V, Ulrich F, Baum B, Muñoz J, Veldhuis J, Brodland W, Miodownik M (2012). A biomechanical analysis of ventral furrow formation in the Drosophila melanogaster embryo.. PLoS One, 7(4), e34473 - . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034473


    • Cohen M, Baum B, Miodownik M (2011). The importance of structured noise in the generation of self-organizing tissue patterns through contact-mediated cell–cell signalling.. J R Soc Interface, 8(59), 787 - 798.
    • Baum B, Georgiou M (2011). Dynamics of adherens junctions in epithelial establishment, maintenance, and remodeling.. J Cell Biol, 192(6), 907 - 917. doi:10.1083/jcb.201009141
    • Lancaster OM, Baum B (2011). Might makes right: Using force to align the mitotic spindle.. Nat Cell Biol, 13(7), 736 - 738. doi:10.1038/ncb0711-736
    • Rohn JL, Sims D, Liu T, Fedorova M, Schöck F, Dopie J, Vartiainen MK, Kiger AA, Perrimon N, Baum B (2011). Comparative RNAi screening identifies a conserved core metazoan actinome by phenotype.. J Cell Biol, 194(5), 789 - 805. doi:10.1083/jcb.201103168
    • Bai SW, Herrera-Abreu MT, Rohn JL, Racine V, Tajadura V, Suryavanshi N, Bechtel S, Wiemann S, Baum B, Ridley AJ (2011). Identification and characterization of a set of conserved and new regulators of cytoskeletal organization, cell morphology and migration. BMC BIOL, 9, - . doi:10.1186/1741-7007-9-54
    • Gautier JJ, Lomakina ME, Bouslama-Oueghlani L, Derivery E, Beilinson H, Faigle W, Loew D, Louvard D, Echard A, Alexandrova AY, Baum B, Gautreau A (2011). Clathrin is required for Scar/Wave-mediated lamellipodium formation. J CELL SCI, 124(20), 3414 - 3427. doi:10.1242/jcs.081083
    • Baum B (2011). Finding gold in yellowing papers.. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 12(4), 205 - . doi:10.1038/nrm3092
    • Cohen M, Baum B, Miodownik M (2011). The importance of structured noise in the generation of self-organizing tissue patterns through contact-mediated cell-cell signalling.. J R Soc Interface, 8(59), 787 - 798. doi:10.1098/rsif.2010.0488


    • Araujo A, Bentley PJ, Baum B (2010). Modelling the Role of Chromosome Missegregation in Cancer Therapies..
    • Brodland GW, Conte V, Cranston PG, Veldhuis J, Narasimhan S, Hutson MS, Jacinto A, Ulrich F, Baum B, Miodownik M (2010). Video force microscopy reveals the mechanics of ventral furrow invagination in Drosophila. P NATL ACAD SCI USA, 107(51), 22111 - 22116. doi:10.1073/pnas.1006591107
    • Sims D, Bursteinas B, Jain E, Gao QO, Baum B, Zvelebil M (2010). The FLIGHT Drosophila RNAi database 2010 update. FLY, 4(4), 344 - 348. doi:10.4161/fly.4.4.13303
    • Picone R, Ren X, Ivanovitch KD, Clarke JD, McKendry RA, Baum B (2010). A polarised population of dynamic microtubules mediates homeostatic length control in animal cells.. PLoS Biol, 8(11), e1000542 - . doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000542
    • Cohen M, Georgiou M, Stevenson NL, Miodownik M, Baum B (2010). Dynamic filopodia transmit intermittent Delta-Notch signaling to drive pattern refinement during lateral inhibition.. Dev Cell, 19(1), 78 - 89. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2010.06.006
    • Liu T, Rohn JL, Picone R, Kunda P, Baum B (2010). Tao-1 is a negative regulator of microtubule plus-end growth.. J Cell Sci, 123(Pt 16), 2708 - 2716. doi:10.1242/jcs.068726
    • King JS, Veltman DM, Georgiou M, Baum B, Insall RH (2010). SCAR/WAVE is activated at mitosis and drives myosin-independent cytokinesis.. J Cell Sci, 123(Pt 13), 2246 - 2255. doi:10.1242/jcs.063735
    • Georgiou M, Baum B (2010). Polarity proteins and Rho GTPases cooperate to spatially organise epithelial actin-based protrusions.. J Cell Sci, 123(Pt 7), 1089 - 1098. doi:10.1242/jcs.060772
    • Rohn JL, Baum B (2010). Actin and cellular architecture at a glance.. J Cell Sci, 123(Pt 2), 155 - 158. doi:10.1242/jcs.049759
    • Cully M, Genevet A, Warne P, Treins C, Liu T, Bastien J, Baum B, Tapon N, Leevers SJ, Downward J (2010). A Role for p38 Stress-Activated Protein Kinase in Regulation of Cell Growth via TORC1. MOL CELL BIOL, 30(2), 481 - 495. doi:10.1128/MCB.00688-09


    • Aghajanian J, Warrell J, Prince SJ, Li P, Rohn J, Baum B (2009). Patch-based Within-Object Classification.
    • Sims D, Duchek P, Baum B (2009). PDGF/VEGF signaling controls cell size in Drosophila.. Genome Biol, 10(2), R20 - . doi:10.1186/gb-2009-10-2-r20
    • Liu T, Sims D, Baum B (2009). Parallel RNAi screens across different cell lines identify generic and cell type-specific regulators of actin organization and cell morphology.. Genome Biol, 10(3), R26 - . doi:10.1186/gb-2009-10-3-r26
    • Kunda P, Baum B (2009). The actin cytoskeleton in spindle assembly and positioning.. Trends Cell Biol, 19(4), 174 - 179. doi:10.1016/j.tcb.2009.01.006
    • Conte V, Munoz JJ, Baum B, Miodownik M (2009). Robust mechanisms of ventral furrow invagination require the combination of cellular shape changes. PHYS BIOL, 6(1), - . doi:10.1088/1478-3975/6/1/016010
    • Asano Y, Jimenez-Dalmaroni A, Liverpool TB, Marchetti MC, Giomi L, Kiger A, Duke T, Baum B (2009). Pak3 inhibits local actin filament formation to regulate global cell polarity. HFSP J, 3(3), 194 - 203. doi:10.2976/1.3100548


    • Georgiou M, Marinari E, Burden J, Baum B (2008). Cdc42, Par6, and aPKC regulate Arp2/3-mediated endocytosis to control local adherens junction stability.. Curr Biol, 18(21), 1631 - 1638. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.09.029
    • Baum B, Settleman J, Quinlan MP (2008). Transitions between epithelial and mesenchymal states in development and disease. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 19(3), 294 - 308. doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2008.02.001
    • Dobbelaere J, Josue F, Suijkerbuijk S, Baum B, Tapon N, Raff J (2008). A genome-wide RNAi screen to dissect centriole duplication and centrosome maturation in Drosophila. PLOS BIOL, 6(9), 1975 - 1990. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060224
    • Kunda P, Pelling AE, Liu T, Baum B (2008). Moesin controls cortical rigidity, cell rounding and spindle morphogenesis during mitosis. Current Biology, 18(2), 91 - 101. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.12.051
    • Basanta D, Miodownik M, Baum B (2008). The evolution of robust development and homeostasis in artificial organisms. PLoS Computational Biology, 4(3), e1000030 - . doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000030
    • Settleman J, Baum B (2008). Cell shape and tissue morphogenesis. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 19(3), 213 - 214. doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2008.02.002
    • Kunda P, Rohn JL, Baum B (2008). Cell shape: taking the heat. Current Biology, 18(11), R470 - R472. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.04.032
    • Baum B, Cherbas L (2008). Drosophila cell lines as model systems and as an experimental tool.. Methods Mol Biol, 420, 391 - 424. doi:10.1007/978-1-59745-583-1_25


    • Jovceva E, Larsen MR, Waterfield MD, Baum B, Timms JF (2007). Dynamic cofilin phosphorylation in the control of lamellipodial actin homeostasis. Journal of Cell Science, 120(11), 1888 - 1897. doi:10.1242/jcs.004366


    • Baum B (2006). Left-right asymmetry: actin-myosin through the looking glass.. Curr Biol, 16(13), R502 - R504. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.06.011
    • Sims D, Bursteinas B, Gao Q, Zvelebil M, Baum B (2006). FLIGHT: database and tools for the integration and cross-correlation of large-scale RNAi phenotypic datasets.. Nucleic Acids Res, 34(Database issue), D479 - D483. doi:10.1093/nar/gkj038
    • Zihni C, Mitsopoulos C, Tavares IA, Baum B, Ridley AJ, Morris JDH (2006). Prostate-derived sterile 20-like kinase 1-alpha induces apoptosis: JNK- and caspase-dependent nuclear localization is a requirement for membrane blebbing. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 282(9), 6484 - 6493. doi:10.1074/jbc.M608336200
    • Echeverri CJ, Beachy PA, Baum B, Boutros M, Buchholz F, Chanda SK, Downward J, Ellenberg J, Fraser AG, Hacohen N, Hahn WC, Jackson AL, Kiger A, Linsley PS, Lum L, Ma Y, Mathey-Prevot B, Root DE, Sabatini DM, Taipale J, Perrimon N, Bernards R (2006). Minimizing the risk of reporting false positives in large-scale RNAi screens. Nature Methods, 3(10), 777 - 779. doi:10.1038/nmeth1006-777


    • Baum B, Kunda P (2005). Actin nucleation: spire - actin nucleator in a class of its own.. Curr Biol, 15(8), R305 - R308. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2005.04.004


    • Craig G, Baum B (2004). Rnai in a postmodern post-genomic era.. Oncogene Reviews, Nov, - .
    • Rosenblatt J, Cramer LP, Baum B, McGee KM (2004). Myosin II-dependent cortical movement is required for centrosome separation and positioning during mitotic spindle assembly.. Cell, 117(3), 361 - 372. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(04)00341-1
    • Baum B (2004). Tissue morphogenesis: Crowd control.. Current Biology, 14(17), R716 - R718.
    • Rosenblatt J, Cramer LP, Baum B, McGee K (2004). Myosin-II dependent cortical movement is required for centrosome separation and positioning during mitotic spindle assembly.
    • Baum B (2004). Animal development: crowd control.. Curr Biol, 14(17), R716 - R718. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.08.047
    • Baum B, Kunda P, Kiger A, Perrimon N (2004). A genetic dissection of cell morphogenesis in Drosophila. CELL STRUCT FUNCT, 29, 25 - 25.
    • Biyasheva A, Svitkina T, Kunda P, Baum B, Borisy G (2004). Cascade pathway of filopodia formation downstream of SCAR. Journal of Cell Science, 117(6), 837 - 848. doi:10.1242/jcs.00921


    • Kiger AA, Baum B, Jones S, Jones MR, Coulson A, Echeverri C, Perrimon N (2003). A functional genomic analysis of cell morphology using RNA interference.. Journal of Biology, 2(4), 27 - . doi:10.1186/1475-4924-2-27
    • Kunda P, Craig G, Dominguez V, Baum B (2003). Abi, Sra1, and Kette control the stability and localization of SCAR/WAVE to regulate the formation of actin-based protrusions.. Current Biology, 13(21), 1867 - 1875. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2003.10.005
    • Jacinto A, Baum B (2003). Actin in development. Mechanisms of Development, 120(11), 1337 - 1349.


    • Baum B (2002). Winging It: Actin on the Fly. Developmental Cell, 2, 125 - 133.
    • Wills Z, Emerson M, Rusch J, Bikoff J, Baum B, Perrimon N, Van Vactor D (2002). A Drosophila homolog of cyclase associated proteins collaborates with the Abl tyrosine kinase to control midline axon pathfinding. Neuron, 36(4), 611 - 622.
    • Baum B (2002). Drosophila oogenesis: generating an axis of polarity.. Curr Biol, 12(24), R835 - R837.
    • Baum B (2002). Drosophila oogenesis: generating an axis of polarity. Current Biology, 12(24), 0 - 0.


    • Baum B, Perrimon N (2001). Spatial control of the actin cytoskeleton in Drosophila epithelial cells. Nature Cell Biology, 3(10), 883 - 890. doi:10.1038/ncb1001-883


    • BAUM B, Nishitani H, Yanow S, Nurse P (1998). Cdc18 transcription and proteolysis couple S phase to passage through mitosis. EMBO J., 19, 5689 - 5698.


    • BAUM B, Wuarin J, Nurse P (1997). Control of S-phase periodic transcription in the fission yeast mitotic cycle. EMBO J., 15, 4676 - 4688.
    • Ink B, Zörnig M, Baum B, Hajibagheri N, James C, Chittenden T, Evan G (1997). Human Bak induces cell death in Schizosaccharomyces pombe with morphological changes similar to those with apoptosis in mammalian cells. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 17(5), 2468 - 2474.