Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez

Fernandez-Gonzalez, Rodrigo

Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez | Assistant Professor & Canada Research Chair, Quantitative Cell Biology & Morphogenesis
BSc (Madrid), PhD (Berkeley)

Main Appointments

  • Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering

Additional Appointments

  • Department of Cell & Systems Biology

Contact Information

Translational Biology & Engineering Program
Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research
MaRS West Tower, 661 University Ave, Room 1411-S (14th floor)
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1M1 Canada

+1 416 978-7368 (office)
rodrigo.fernandez.gonzalez@utoronto.ca (email)
Quantitative Morphogenesis Laboratory (web)


Research Theme

Research Interests

During morphogenesis, groups of cells coordinate their behaviors to generate tissue form and function. Cell coordination involves diverse cellular processes such as motility, adhesion, and the generation and transmission of mechanical forces.

We use a combination of bioengineering, molecular and cell biological tools in the fruit fly embryo to determine the mechanisms that integrate the behaviors of multiple cells to generate specific changes in tissue organization.

Wound repair is a conserved morphogenetic process that involves changes in cell shape, molecular localization and the distribution of mechanical forces to close a gap in a tissue. Because wound closure in embryos occurs in the absence of inflammation or scarring, understanding its molecular basis will be of high clinical relevance for surgical recovery and regenerative medicine.

We investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms of wound healing using a three-pronged approach. First, we use computational and live imaging approaches to determine the dynamic cell shape and molecular changes involved in wound closure in the Drosophila embryo.

Second, we screen for molecules that mediate the assembly of force-generating structures during wound healing.

Finally, we use biophysical methods to investigate how wound repair is influenced by the mechanical properties of the wounded tissue, and how these properties are regulated during the healing process.

Select Publications

Yu JC, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Local mechanical forces promote polarized junctional assembly and axis elongation in Drosophila. eLife 2016 Jan 9;5. pii: e10757.doi: 10.7554/eLife.10757. Pubmed PMID: 26747941.

Lan H, Wang Q, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Feng JJ. A biomechanical model for cell polarization and intercalation during Drosophila germband extension. Phys Biol. 2015 Sep 10;12(5):056011.doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/12/5/056011. Pubmed PMID: 26356256.

Zulueta-Coarasa T, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Laser ablation to investigate cell and tissue mechanics in vivo. Integrative Mechanobiology: Micro- and Nano- Techniques in Cell Mechanobiology (edited by Y Sun, DH Kim and C Simmons). Cambridge University Press. 2015.

Hunter MV, Lee DM, Harris TJC, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Polarized E-cadherin endocytosis directs actomyosin remodeling during embryonic wound repair. J Cell Biol. 2015 Aug 31;210(5):801-16. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201501076. Epub 2015 Aug 24. Pubmed PMID: 26304727.

Lau K, Tao H, Liu H, Wen J, Sturgeon K, Sorfazlian N, Lazic S, Burrows JT, Wong MD, Li D, Deimling S, Ciruna B, Scott I, Simmons C, Henkelman RM, Williams T, Hadjantonakis AK, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Sun Y, Hopyan S. Anisotropic stress orients remodelling of mammalian limb bud ectoderm. Nat Cell Biol. 2015 May;17(5):569-79. doi: 10.1038/ncb3156. Epub 2015 Apr 20. Pubmed PMID: 25893915.

Javaherian S, D’Arcangelo E, Slater B, Zulueta-Coarasa T, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, McGuigan AP. An in vitro model of tissue boundary formation for dissecting the contribution of different boundary forming mechanisms. Integr Biol. 2015 Mar 9;7(3):298-312. doi: 10.1039/C4IB00272E. Epub 2015 Jan 14. Pubmed PMID: 25609037.

Leung CY, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Quantitative image analysis of cell behavior and molecular dynamics during tissue morphogenesis. Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1189:99-113. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1164-6_7. Pubmed PMID: 25245689.

Hunter MV, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Cell migration: a force to be reckoned with. Nat Phys. 2014 Sep 10(9):626-7. doi: 10.1038/nphys.3074. Epub 2014 Aug 03.

Zulueta-Coarasa T, Tamada M, Lee EJ, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Automated multidimensional image analysis reveals a role for Abl in embryonic wound repair. Development. 2014 Jul;141(14):2901-11. doi: 10.1242/dev.106898. Epub 2014 Jun 19. PubMed PMID: 24948602.

Hunter MV, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Gastrulation: cell polarity comes full circle. Curr Biol. 2013 Sep 23;23(18):R845-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.08.003. PubMed PMID: 24070446.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Zallen JA. Wounded cells drive rapid epidermal repair in the early Drosophila embryo. Mol Biol Cell. 2013 Oct;24(20):3227-37. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E13-05-0228. Epub 2013 Aug 28. PubMed PMID: 23985320; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3806660.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Zallen JA. Oscillatory behaviors and hierarchical assembly of contractile structures in intercalating cells. Phys Biol. 2011 Aug;8(4):045005. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/8/4/045005. Epub 2011 Jul 12. PubMed PMID: 21750365.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Simoes Sde M, Röper JC, Eaton S, Zallen JA. Myosin II dynamics are regulated by tension in intercalating cells. Dev Cell. 2009 Nov;17(5):736-43. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2009.09.003. Epub 2009 Oct 29. PubMed PMID: 19879198; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2854079.

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