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.

Selected Publications

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
Fichelson P, et al (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
Richardson EC & 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
Walther RF & 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
Corrigall D, et al (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
Pinal N, et al (2006). Regulated and polarized PtdIns(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


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, Bioinformatics,  Super-resolution microscopy, Electron microscopy


Rhian Walther (Investigator Scientist)
Chiara Mencarelli (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Kate Massey (PhD Student)


Buzz Baum (LMCB, UK)
Chris Stefan (LMCB, UK)
Yanlan Mao (LMCB, UK)
Ricardo Henrique (LMCB, UK)
Michael Duchen (UCL, UK)
Shila Banerjee (UCL, UK)
Roberto Mayor (UCL, UK)
Guillaume Salbreux (CRICK, UK)
Fernando Casares (CABD, Spain)