Cell Scientists to Watch interviews
As a community-focused journal, Journal of Cell Science is particularly keen to support the next generation of cell biologists. Here, we present our interview series Cell Scientists to Watch which features talented researchers who have recently set up their own labs. These researchers talk about their lives in and out of the lab and the journeys that led them to where they are now. They also discuss the current state of science funding and give advice on how to navigate the transition to independence.
We also have an interview series called First Person, which features interviews with the early-career first authors of a selection of papers published in Journal of Cell Science.
Know someone you think we should interview for Cell Scientists to Watch? Email us.
Alexey Amunts (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Alexey Amunts is a group leader at the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) and Stockholm University, where his lab is investigating the mechanisms, assembly and evolution of bioenergetic complexes.
Zdeněk Lánský and Marcus Braun (Institute of Biotechnology, Czech Academy of Sciences, BIOCEV)
Zdeněk Lánský and Marcus Braun are group leaders at the Institute of Biotechnology, Czech Academy of Sciences, BIOCEV, where they investigate the ensemble dynamics of cytoskeletal proteins.
Liang Ge (Tsinghua University, China)
Liang Ge is a group leader at the School of Life Sciences at Tsinghua University, China, where his lab studies the mechanisms of autophagy and unconventional protein secretion.
Julia Cordero (Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre, Glasgow, UK)
Julia Cordero is a group leader at the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre in Glasgow, where her lab is investigating local and systemic functions of the adult intestine in health and disease.
Binyam Mogessie (University of Bristol, UK)
Binyam Mogessie is a group leader at the University of Bristol, where his lab is investigating actin- and microtubule-based cytoskeletal ensembles that promote healthy egg development and embryogenesis in mammals.
Derek Walsh (Northwestern University, Chicago, USA)
Derek Walsh is a Professor at Northwestern University, Chicago, where he studies the role of the host translation system during infection by poxviruses, as well as microtubule regulation and function during herpesvirus infection.
Janet Iwasa (University of Utah, USA)
Janet Iwasa is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah, where her group creates and develops molecular and cellular animations for various projects.
Romain Levayer (Institut Pasteur, Paris, France)
Romain Levayer is a group leader at Institut Pasteur, Paris, where he studies how the plasticity of behaviour of epithelial cells and the regulation of cell death modulate tissue morphogenesis and homeostasis.
Anthony Roberts (University of London and UCL, UK)
Anthony Roberts is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at University of London, and University College London (UCL), where his lab focusses on the mechanisms of microtubule-based transport within cilia and flagella.
Christine Faulkner (John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK)
Christine Faulkner is a group leader at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, where she investigates cell–cell communication in plants, focusing on how it contributes to the regulation of plant immune responses.
Eurico Morais-de-Sá (Instituto de Inovação e Investigação em Saúde (i3S), Porto)
Eurico Morais-de-Sá is a group leader at Instituto de Inovação e Investigação em Saúde (i3S), Porto, where he works on the mechanisms by which epithelial cells modulate spatial asymmetry during cell division to maintain the function and integrity of proliferative tissues.
Hayley Sharpe (Babraham Institute in Cambridge, UK)
Hayley Sharpe is a group leader at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, UK, where her lab works on protein tyrosine phosphatase function in signalling and cell–cell communication, with a particular focus on a family of cell surface receptors.
Ian Chambers (University of Edinburgh, UK)
Ian Chambers is a Professor of Pluripotent Stem Cell Biology and the Head of the Institute for Stem Cell Research at University of Edinburgh, where he studies the regulatory networks that control the identity and cell fate decisions of pluripotent embryonic stem cells. He is the recipient of the 2020 BSCB Hooke medal for emerging leaders in cell biology.
Yanlan Mao (University College London, UK)
Yanlan Mao is a group leader at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology (MRC-LMCB), University College London, UK, where she studies the importance of tissue mechanics during development, homeostasis and repair. She is the recipient of the 2020 Women in Cell Biology Early Career Award Medal from the British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB).
Thomas Iskratsch (Queen Mary University of London, UK)
Thomas Iskratsch is a group leader at Queen Mary University of London, where he investigates the role of mechanosensing in the development and function of the cardiovascular system, and how mechanical forces shape cell behaviour and differentiation.
Prisca Liberali (FMI, Switzerland)
Prisca Liberali is a group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI), in Basel, where she studies how single-cell properties and behaviour determine the patterning and collective characteristics of multicellular systems.
Alba Diz-Muñoz (EMBL, Germany)
Alba Diz-Muñoz is a group leader at the EMBL, in Heidelberg, where she investigates how mechanical properties and cellular signalling pathways influence tissue morphogenesis and cell fate decisions.
Ana-Maria Lennon-Dumenil (Institut Curie, France)
Ana-Maria Lennon-Dumenil is a group leader at the Department of Immunity and Cancer at Institut Curie in Paris, where she investigates the coordination of cell migration and antigen presentation in dendritic cells and the contribution of cell polarity to the establishment of the immune synapse in B-lymphocytes.
Sophie Acton (University College London, UK)
Sophie Acton is a group leader at the Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, University College London, where she investigates the interaction of dendritic cells and fibroblastic reticular cells during lymph node remodelling in the adaptive immune response.
Jeremy Carlton (The Francis Crick Institute, UK)
Jeremy Carlton is a group leader at The Francis Crick Institute, London, where he investigates membrane remodelling and organelle dynamics during cell division.
Elizabeth Hinde (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Elizabeth Hinde is a group leader at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where she focuses her research on nuclear organisation and chromatin dynamics in genome function using quantitative fluorescence microscopy.
Jean-Léon Maître (Institut Curie, France)
Jean-Léon Maître is a group leader at the Institut Curie in Paris, France, where his research focuses on the cell-cell interactions and cell mechanics during mammalian pre-implantation development.
Elif Nur Firat-Karalar (Koç University, Turkey)
Elif Nur Firat-Karalar is a group leader at Koç University where her group studies the structure and function of the mammalian centrosome/cilium complex and centriolar satellites.
Kassandra Ori-McKenney and Richard McKenney (UC Davis, USA)
Kassandra Ori-McKenney and Richard McKenney are group leaders at UC Davis where they study the roles of the microtubule cytoskeleton, microtubule-associated proteins and motor proteins in neuronal transport and human diseases.
Adrian Saurin (University of Dundee, UK)
Adrian Saurin is a group leader at the University of Dundee where he studies the spatial regulation of mitotic signalling networks and specifically kinase-phosphatase integration during cell division.
Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan (Indian Institute of Science, India)
Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for BioSystems Science and Engineering and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, where she studies the activation of the dynein motor protein in living cells and the roles of microtubules in mitochondrial dynamics during neurodegeneration.
Julien Berro (Yale University, USA)
Julien Berro is an Assistant Professor at Yale University, USA, where he investigates in the actin cytoskeleton and force generation during endocytosis.
Pleasantine Mill (MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, UK)
Pleasantine Mill is a group leader at the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, UK, where she investigates the genetics behind cilia structure and function in the light of human ciliopathies. She is the recipient of the 2019 Women in Cell Biology Early Career Award Medal from the British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB).
Eugenia Piddini (University of Bristol, UK)
Eugenia Piddini is a Professor at the University of Bristol, UK. Her group researches cell competition mechanisms in homeostasis and in a tumour-host-cell context. She was awarded the Hooke medal in 2019, established to recognize an emerging leader in cell biology.
Kivanc Birsoy (Rockefeller University, USA)
Kivanc Birsoy is an Assistant Professor and group leader at Rockefeller University, New York City, where he investigates changes in metabolic pathways in cancer and metabolic dysfunction.
Franziska Lautenschläger (Leibniz Institute, Germany)
Franziska Lautenschläger is a group leader at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials in Saarbrücken, Germany. Her group focuses on cell migration and polarity, and the links to cell mechanics and the different cytoskeletal networks in cells.
Elçin Ünal and Gloria Brar (UC Berkeley, USA)
Elçin Ünal and Gloria Brar are Assistant Professors at UC Berkeley and run a joint research group where they investigate gene expression, translational control, meiotic differentiation and cell rejuvenation in yeast.
Tobias Zech (University of Liverpool, UK)
Tobias Zech is a group leader at the University of Liverpool, where his group studies cell migration and cancer cell invasion, in particular actin dynamics and receptor trafficking.
Siobhan Braybrook (University of California, USA)
Siobhan Braybrook is an assistant professor at University of California, Los Angeles, where she works on cell wall mechanics and the coordination of cell shape and tissue growth in plants and algae.
Serge Mostowy (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)
Serge Mostowy is a Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He focuses his research on cellular immunity and the role of the cytoskeleton therein, as well as the molecular mechanisms of bacterial infection.
Pere Roca-Cusachs (Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Spain)
Pere Roca-Cusachs is a group leader at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, where his research group studies how mechanical signals are sensed and transduced into a cellular response.
Sandra Rieger (MDI Biological Laboratory, USA)
Sandra Rieger is a group leader at The MDI Biological Laboratory in Maine where her group studies cellular communication during wound healing and nerve regeneration after injury.
Guangshuo Ou (Tsinghua University, China)
Guangshuo Ou is a group leader at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where he investigates the remodelling of the cytoskeleton in the C.elegans neuroblast in response to extracellular cues. Guangshuo is a Journal of Cell Science Editor since 2017.
Pakorn ‘Tony’ Kanchanawong (Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore)
Pakorn ‘Tony’ Kanchanawong is a group leader at the Mechanobiology Institute in Singapore, where his group studies the structure-function relationships of cell adhesion and cell migration protein complexes.
Andrew McAinsh (University of Warwick, UK)
Andrew McAinsh is a Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Warwick, studying the mechanisms that lead to correct chromosome segregation into daughter cells during cell division. He is the recipient of the 2018 BSCB Hooke medal for emerging leaders in cell biology.
Susana Godinho (Barts Cancer Institute, UK)
Susana Godinho is a group leader at the Barts Cancer Institute, where she studies the links between extra centrosomes in a cell and the progression of tumours.
David Bryant (Beatson Institute, UK)
David Bryant is a group leader at the Beatson Institute where his group investigates how cell polarity affects development and cancer invasion and progression in 3D tumours.
Lukas Kapitein (Utrecht University, Netherlands)
Lukas Kapitein is an associate professor at Utrecht University, where his group investigates cargo and organelle transport in cells using high resolution microscopy and optogenetics.
Gregory Alushin (Rockefeller University, New York, USA)
Gregory Alushin is an assistant professor at Rockefeller University where his group investigates how the actin cytoskeleton reacts to mechanical forces in cells and how this is transduced to signalling pathways .
Mahak Sharma (IISER, Mohali, India)
Mahak Sharma is a group leader at the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER) in Mohali, where her group investigates the mechanisms of late endosome and lysosome trafficking.
Dana Branzei (Molecular Oncology Foundation, Milan, Italy)
Dana Branzei is a group leader at the Molecular Oncology Foundation (IFOM) in Milan, where she works on the DNA damage response and regulatory pathways of chromosome structure during replication.
Paul Timpson (Garvan Institute, Sydney)
Paul Timpson is a principal investigator at the Garvan Institute where his group uses advanced imaging techniques to assess cancer in the context of its surrounding environment.
Ana Garcia-Saez (University of Tübingen, Germany)
Ana Garcia-Saez is a group leader at the University of Tübingen where she uses single-molecule high-resolution microscopy and biophysical modeling to understand membrane dynamics of mitochondria.
Kevin Corbett (University of California, San Diego, USA)
Kevin Corbett works at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research San Diego where he studies homologous chromosome pairing in meiosis I and the contribution of misregulation of meiotic genes to carcinogenesis.
Jacky Goetz (Strasbourg, France)
Jacky Goetz is a group leader in Strasbourg where he works on biomechanical forces during tumour progression using intravital imaging methods.
Mads Gyrd-Hansen (University of Oxford, UK)
Mads Gyrd-Hansen is an associate professor at the University of Oxford and is interested in the non-degradative functions of ubiquitylation during innate immune responses.
Lidia Vasilieva (University of Oxford, UK)
Lidia Vasilieva has her research group at the Department of Biochemistry in Oxford, where she studies how RNA levels of protein-coding and non-coding transcripts are regulated.
Melike Lakadamyali (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA)
Melike Lakadamyali is a group leader at the University of Pennsylvania, where she develops and uses imaging techniques to study cytoskeletal transport mechanisms in cells and neurons.
Mitchell Guttman (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA)
Mitchell Guttman is a group leader at the California Institute of Technology where he studies the mechanisms by which long non-coding RNAs act to control cellular functions.
Robert Ernst (University of Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany)
Robert Ernst is a Professor at the University of Saarland. His laboratory is interested in sense-and-control elements underlying the homeostasis of cellular membrane properties.
Victoria Sanz-Moreno (King’s College, London, UK)
Victoria Sanz-Moreno is a group leader at King’s College London where she investigates the crosstalk between the actomyosin cytoskeleton and transcription factors in cancer cells.
Gaia Pigino (Max-Planck Institute, Dresden, Germany)
Gaia Pigino is a group leader at the Max-Planck Institute in Dresden. Her research focuses on the mechanisms regulating ciliary transport in cells and the assembly of the eukaryotic cilium.
Marvin Tanenbaum (Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht, Netherlands)
Marvin Tanenbaum is a group leader at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht. His group aims to understand the dynamics of different aspects of gene expression at the single-molecule level, the kinetics that occur in translation and how it influences important cellular decisions.
Arun Shukla (Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India)
Arun Shukla is a group leader at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. His research group is interested in the signalling pathways and structural aspects of G-protein-coupled-receptors (GPCRs).
Andrew Holland (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA)
Andrew Holland is a group leader at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He studies the mechanisms regulating copy numbers of centrosomes during cell division and how this is linked to genome instability and tumorigenesis.
Edgar Gomes (Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Lisbon, Portugal)
Edgar Gomes is a group leader at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon where he investigates the mechanisms of nuclear positioning and signal transduction into the nucleus in skeletal muscle and migrating cells.
Madeline Lancaster (MRC-LMB, Cambridge, UK)
Madeline Lancaster is a group leader at the MRC-LMB in Cambridge where she studies the biological processes underlying human brain development using the organoid system.
Megan King (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Megan King is an Associate Professor for Cell Biology at Yale School of Medicine, and she’s interested in how chromatin dynamics are influenced by their cellular context and the mechanical properties of cells.
Brian Stramer (King’s College London, UK)
Brian Stramer works at King’s College London where his group investigates the regulation of contact inhibition of locomotion.
Sabine Petry (Princeton University, USA)
Sabine Petry is a group leader at Princeton University where her group investigates the mechanisms by which microtubules build cellular structures to allow cells to attain a particular shape and function.
Celeste Nelson (Princeton University, USA)
Celeste Nelson is a group leader at Princeton University where her group investigates how biochemical and mechanical cues affect individual cells during organ morphogenesis and what happens when organs are destroyed in diseases such as cancer and fibrosis.
Emmanuel Boucrot (University College London, UK)
Emmanuel Boucrot is a group leader at University College London where his group studies the mechanisms of clathrin-independent endocytosis, as well as the properties of quiescent cells.
Christian Behrends (Frankfurt, Germany)
Christian Behrends is a group leader at the Medical School of Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. His lab focuses on the basic mechanisms of autophagy, particularly concentrating on the role of ubiquitin signalling, and the crosstalk between autophagy and other vesicular trafficking pathways.
Meritxell Huch (University of Cambridge, UK)
Meritxell Huch is a group leader at the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, UK and a Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Research Fellow. She investigates the mechanisms responsible for adult tissue regeneration in the liver and the pancreas.
Sascha Martens (Vienna, Austria)
Sascha Martens is group leader at the University of Vienna Max F. Perutz Laboratories in Austria. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that orchestrate autophagy.
Virgile Viasnoff (France/Singapore)
Virgile Viasnoff holds a dual appointment between the CNRS in France and the MBI in Singapore. His lab in Singapore investigates how the physical and biochemical parameters of the cellular microenvironment regulate cell–cell adhesion and cell fate.
Lei (Stanley) Qi (California, USA)
Lei (Stanley) Qi is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical and Systems Biology at Stanford University, California, USA, and a faculty fellow in Stanford ChEM-H. His research focuses on applying genome engineering and CRISPR technologies to genetic interaction networks related to cell differentiation, proliferation, epigenetic regulation and diseases.
Melina Schuh (Göttingen, Germany)
At the time this interview was conducted, Melina Schuh was a group leader at the Medical Research Council – Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. She is now a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany. Her research focuses on meiosis in mammalian oocytes.
Julie Welburn (Edinburgh, UK)
Julie Welburn is a group leader at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology in Edinburgh. Her laboratory works on microtubules and microtubule motors and their function during cell division and differentiation.
Christine Mayr (New York, USA)
Christine Mayr is an assistant professor at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre and the Weill Cornell Medical School at Cornell University in New York, USA. She investigates how untranslated regions of the mRNA regulate protein function.
Maya Schuldiner (Rehovot, Israel)
Maya Schuldiner is a principal investigator at the Weizmann Institute of Sciences, Rehovot, Israel, and is investigating novel functions of proteins involved in yeast organelle biology.
José Silva (University of Cambridge, UK)
José Silva is a Senior Group Leader at the Wellcome Trust – Medical research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute at the University of Cambridge, UK. He works on nuclear reprogramming and induced pluripotency.
Thomas Wollert (Martinsried, Germany)
Thomas Wollert is an independent group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. His research aims to elucidate the mechanism of autophagosome formation.
Irene Miguel-Aliaga (Imperial College London, UK)
Irene Miguel-Aliaga is a Programme Leader at the Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre and a Reader at Imperial College London, UK. Her research focuses on understanding the biology of gut cells.
Philip Zegerman (University of Cambridge, UK)
Philip Zegerman is a group leader at the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, UK. He works on the regulation of DNA replication initiation.
Victoria Cowling (University of Dundee, UK)
A group leader at the Department of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, UK, Victoria Cowling studies the biology of the mRNA methyl cap.
Paul Conduit (University of Cambridge, UK)
Paul Conduit is a group leader at the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK. He works on gamma tubulin ring complexes.