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

External Collaborators



    • Lancaster OM, Baum B (2014). Shaping up to divide: Coordinating actin and microtubule cytoskeletal remodelling during mitosis.. Semin Cell Dev Biol, , - . doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2014.02.015
    • 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
    • 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


    • 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
    • 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
    • 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


    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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


    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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 (2011). Finding gold in yellowing papers.. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 12(4), 205 - . doi:10.1038/nrm3092
    • 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


    • Araujo A, Bentley PJ, Baum B (2010). Modelling the Role of Chromosome Missegregation in Cancer Therapies..
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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


    • Aghajanian J, Warrell J, Prince SJ, Li P, Rohn J, Baum B (2009). Patch-based Within-Object Classification.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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


    • 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, Rohn JL, Baum B (2008). Cell shape: taking the heat. Current Biology, 18(11), R470 - R472. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.04.032
    • 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
    • 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, 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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


    • 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


    • 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 (2004). Tissue morphogenesis: Crowd control.. Current Biology, 14(17), R716 - R718.
    • 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
    • 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, Kunda P, Kiger A, Perrimon N (2004). A genetic dissection of cell morphogenesis in Drosophila. CELL STRUCT FUNCT, 29, 25 - 25.
    • Craig G, Baum B (2004). Rnai in a postmodern post-genomic era.. Oncogene Reviews, Nov, - .


    • Jacinto A, Baum B (2003). Actin in development. Mechanisms of Development, 120(11), 1337 - 1349.
    • 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


    • 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.