Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez

rodrigo fernandez-gonzalez Academic Title: Associate Professor

Campus: St. George

CSB Appointment: Cross Appointment

Primary Undergraduate Department:
Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME)

Graduate Programs:
Cell & Systems Biology
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Titles and Honors:
Canada Research Chair in Quantitative Cell Biology and Morphogenesis

Academic or Administrative Appointments:
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco 2006
B.Sc. Universidad Autonoma, Madrid, Spain 2000
Mailing Address
MaRS 2 – West Tower
661 University Avenue, 14th Floor
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1M1
Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering
University of Toronto
164 College St.
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3G9
Contact Information
Office phone: 416-978-7368
Office: MaRS 2 – West Tower, 1411
Lab: MaRS 2 – West Tower
Lab phone: 416-978-5911
Research Areas
Cell Biology
Developmental Biology
Quantitative Biology

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.




Oxidative Stress Orchestrates Cell Polarity to Promote Embryonic Wound Healing. Hunter MV, Willoughby PM, Bruce AEE, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Dev Cell. 2018 Nov 5;47(3):377-387.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2018.10.013.



An Actomyosin-Arf-GEF Negative Feedback Loop for Tissue Elongation under Stress. West JJ, Zulueta-Coarasa T, Maier JA, Lee DM1, Bruce AEE, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Harris TJC. Curr Biol. 2017 Aug 7;27(15):2260-2270.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.038. Epub 2017 Jul 20.
Shape of my heart: Cell-cell adhesion and cytoskeletal dynamics during Drosophila cardiac morphogenesis. McFaul CM, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Exp Cell Res. 2017 Apr 5. pii: S0014-4827(17)30184-2. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2017.03.057. [Epub ahead of print]
Myosin II promotes the anisotropic loss of the apical domain during Drosophila neuroblast ingression. Simões S, Oh Y, Wang MFZ, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Tepass U. J Cell Biol. 2017 May 1;216(5):1387-1404. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201608038. Epub 2017 Mar 31.
Cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix adhesions cooperate to organize actomyosin networks and maintain force transmission during dorsal closure. Goodwin K, Lostchuck EE, Cramb KML, Zulueta-Coarasa T, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Tanentzapf G. Mol Biol Cell. 2017 May 15;28(10):1301-1310. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E17-01-0033. Epub 2017 Mar 22.
Automated cell tracking identifies mechanically oriented cell divisions during Drosophila axis elongation. Wang MF, Hunter MV, Wang G, McFaul C, Yip CM, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Development. 2017 Apr 1;144(7):1350-1361. doi: 10.1242/dev.141473. Epub 2017 Feb 17.
Tension regulates myosin dynamics during Drosophila embryonic wound repair. Kobb AB, Zulueta-Coarasa T, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. J Cell Sci. 2017 Feb 15;130(4):689-696. doi: 10.1242/jcs.196139.pubmed



Tension (re)builds: Biophysical mechanisms of embryonic wound repair. Zulueta-Coarasa T, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Mech Dev. 2017 Apr;144(Pt A):43-52. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2016.11.004. Epub 2016 Dec 15.pubmed
Basal Cell-Extracellular Matrix Adhesion Regulates Force Transmission during Tissue Morphogenesis.Goodwin K, Ellis SJ, Lostchuck E, Zulueta-Coarasa T, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Tanentzapf G. Dev Cell. 2016 Dec 5;39(5):611-625. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.11.003.
Quantitative modelling of epithelial morphogenesis: integrating cell mechanics and molecular dynamics.Yu JC, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2017 Jul;67:153-160. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2016.07.030. Epub 2016 Jul 29.pubmed
Local mechanical forces promote polarized junctional assembly and axis elongation in Drosophila. Yu JC, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Elife. 2016 Jan 9;5. pii: e10757. doi: 10.7554/eLife.10757.pubmed



A biomechanical model for cell polarization and intercalation during Drosophila germband extension.Lan H, Wang Q, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Feng JJ. Phys Biol. 2015 Sep 10;12(5):056011. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/12/5/056011.
Laser ablation to investigate cell and tissue mechanics in vivo. Zulueta-Coarasa T, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Integrative Mechanobiology: Micro and Nano Techniques in Cell Mechanobiology (edited by Y Sun, DH Kim and C Simmons). Cambridge University Press. 2015.
Polarized E-cadherin endocytosis directs actomyosin remodeling during embryonic wound repair. Hunter MV, Lee DM, Harris TJ, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. J Cell Biol. 2015 Aug 31;210(5):801-16. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201501076. Epub 2015 Aug 24.
Anisotropic stress orients remodelling of mammalian limb bud ectoderm. 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. Nat Cell Biol. 2015 May;17(5):569-79. doi: 10.1038/ncb3156. Epub 2015 Apr 20.pubmed
An in vitro model of tissue boundary formation for dissecting the contribution of different boundary forming mechanisms. Javaherian S, D’Arcangelo E, Slater B, Zulueta-Coarasa T, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, McGuigan AP. Integr Biol (Camb). Integr Biol (Camb). 2015 Mar;7(3):298-312. doi: 10.1039/c4ib00272e. Epub 2015 Jan 22.pubmed



Quantitative image analysis of cell behavior and molecular dynamics during tissue morphogenesis. Leung CY, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1189:99-113. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1164-6_7.
Cell migration: A force to be reckoned with. Miranda V. Hunter & Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez. Nature Physics 10, 626–627 (2014) doi:10.1038/nphys3074
nature physics
Automated multidimensional image analysis reveals a role for Abl in embryonic wound repair. Zulueta-Coarasa T, Tamada M, Lee EJ, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Development. 2014 Jul;141(14):2901-11. doi: 10.1242/dev.106898. Epub 2014 Jun 19.



Gastrulation: cell polarity comes full circle. Hunter MV1, Fernandez-Gonzalez R. Curr Biol. 2013 Sep 23;23(18):R845-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.08.003.
Wounded cells drive rapid epidermal repair in the early Drosophila embryo. Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Zallen JA. Mol Biol Cell. 2013 Oct;24(20):3227-37. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E13-05-0228. Epub 2013 Aug 28.pubmed