Prof Guillaume Charras
Professor in Cell and Tissue Biophysics
London Centre for Nanotechnology
Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences
- Joined UCL
- 1st Jan 2007
Research in my lab is organised around three main themes: i) the cellular actin cortex; ii) mechanics of cells and tissues, and iii) cell migration in confined environments.
The first theme seeks to understand the dynamic molecular mechanisms responsible for homeostasis of the submembranous actin cortex in cells. Combining proteomics and siRNA screening, we have uncovered the actin nucleators responsible for generation of the cell cortex as well as its proteic composition (Bovellan et al, Current Biology, 2014). The ultimate goal of this research is to understand cortical mechanics from the bottom-up using Scanning Electron Microscopy, mechanical characterisation by Atomic Force Microscopy, and polymer physics theories.
At the cellular level, the second theme aims to understand the time-dependent mechanical properties of single cells (Moeendarbary et al, Nature Materials, 2013) and at the tissue level, we are trying to uncover how subcellular organisation and cellular mechanics govern tissue mechanical properties (Harris et al, PNAS, 2012). The cellular-scale work utilises Atomic Force Microscopy and informs our research on the tissue-scale work. At the tissue-level, we use monolayers devoid of a substrate to study the mechanics of load-bearing monolayers under well-controlled mechanical conditions while allowing imaging at subcellular, cellular and tissue resolutions. Our ultimate aim is to understand the biological determinants of monolayer mechanics and the biophysical processes that drive the individual cell behaviours participating in tissue morphogenesis.
The third theme utilises microfluidic devices to examine cell migration in confined three-dimensional environments. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly apparent that migration in 3D environments differs substantially from migration on 2D surfaces. Microfluidic devices offer a highly constrained environment that simplifies understanding of the physical processes underlying migration. In particular, our studies have highlighted a novel organisation for the cell leading edge during migration in confined environments (Wilson et al, Nature Communications, 2013).
In all of its research, my laboratory combines analytical and characterisation techniques from physics and engineering with molecular cell biology techniques and quantitative microscopy to study questions relevant to cell and developmental biology.
- University College London
- PhD, Biochemistry | 2002
- Ecole Centrale Paris
- Dipl. Ing., Engineering | 1997
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- MSc, Bioengineering | 1997
2016-Present, Professor in Cell Biophysics, Cell and Developmental Biology, Group leader, London Centre for Nanotechnology
2014-2016, Reader in Cell Biophysics, London Centre for Nanotechnology, UCL
2007-2014, Royal Society University Research Fellow, London Centre for Nanotechnology, UCL
2003-2007, Wellcome Trust Overseas Post-Doctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School, USA, Laboratory of Prof Tim Mitchison
1999-2002, Ph. D. Biochemistry, University College London, Laboratory of Prof Mike Horton
1996-1998, M. Sc. Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, Laboratory of Prof Robert Guldberg
1994-1997, Diplome d'Ingenieur Ecole Centrale de Paris, France
1992-1994, Classes Preparatoires Scientifiques, Lycee St Louis, France