LMCB - MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

Franck Pichaud's picture
LMCB Group Leader, UCL Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
+44 (0)20 7679 7817
LMCB Room 3.12
Twitter @PichaudLab
Polarity and morphogenesis

Research synopsis

The central aim of the Pichaud lab is to characterize the genetic, cellular and molecular bases of cell morphogenesis and polarity during development.

Polarity underpins the function of many cell types, developmental processes and organs. The polarized specialization of the cell cortex and plasma membrane enables epithelial cells to form sheets during organogenesis, neural circuit formation and asymmetric cell division as well as directed cell migration. 

Elucidating how cell polarity arises, is maintained or remodeled during development is a major step toward understanding organogenesis, and a wide range of congenital disorders and pathologies such as cancer and neurodevelopmental diseases.

Pichaud lab research image

Pichaud lab research image

Selected publications

Pichaud F, et al (2019). Regulation of Cdc42 and its effectors in epithelial morphogenesis. Journal of Cell Science 132: jcs217869.
Zihni C, et al (2017). An apical MRCK-driven morphogenetic pathway controls epithelial polarity. Nature Cell Biology 19, 1049-1060.
Walther RF, et al (2016). Pak4 Is Required during Epithelial Polarity Remodeling through Regulating AJ Stability and Bazooka Retention at the ZA. CELL REPORTS, 15 (1), 45-53. doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2016.03.014


About the lab


Medical Research Council
Wellcome Trust

Research themes

Cytoskeleton and cell cortex
Polarity and cell shape
Cell-cell interactions
Membrane trafficking


Light microscopy
Translational research
Super-resolution microscopy
Electron microscopy


Rhian Walther (Investigator Scientist)
Kate Massey (PhD Student)
Jak Sheeran (Masters Student)


Chris Stefan (LMCB, UK)
Yanlan Mao (LMCB, UK)
Ricardo Henrique (LMCB, UK)
Shila Banerjee (UCL, UK)
Roberto Mayor (UCL, UK)
Karl Matter (UCL, UK)
Buzz Baum (MRC LMB, UK)
Francois Schweisguth (Institut Pasteur, France)