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Appointment
  • Professor of Cell Biology
  • MRC/UCL Lab for Molecular Cell Biology
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
 
 
Biography

  • 1989 - Biochemistry, 1st Class Hons, St Catherine's College, Oxford
  • 1993 - PhD with Paul Nurse at Cancer Research UK, UCL
  • 1997 - EMBO Fellow with Norbert Perrimon, Harvard Medical School
  • 1998 - HFSP Fellow with Norbert Perrimon, Harvard Medical School
  • 2000 - HHMI Fellow with Norbert Perrimon, Harvard Medical School
  • 2001- Royal Society URF at UCL and Group Leader at the UCL branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
  • 2004 - EMBO Young Investigator
  • 2007 - Reader, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, UCL
  • 2009 - Head of UCL Systems Biology
  • 2011 - Professor of Cell Biology, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, UCL

Research Summary

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.

Teaching Summary

Graduate teaching:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/systems-biology/phd
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/complex/

Academic Background
1997 PhD Doctor of Philosophy University College London
1993 BA Hons Bachelor of Arts (Honours) University of Oxford
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