Portrait of Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez

Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez

Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, Quantitative Cell Biology & Morphogenesis

BSc (Madrid), PhD (Berkeley)

Research Stream: Cell & Tissue Engineering

Laboratory Website:
www.quantmorph.ca

Email: rodrigo.fernandez.gonzalez@utoronto.ca | Tel: 416 978-7368 | Office: Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, MaRS West Tower, 661 University Ave, 14th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1M1 Canada

Main Appointments

  • Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering

Additional Appointments

  • Department of Cell & Systems Biology
  • Adjunct Scientist in the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program at SickKids
  • Translational Biology and Engineering Program

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.

Stories & Media

Collective Movement

Dr. Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez and his team have been studying cell-to-cell communication during wound repair. By understanding the fundamental processes and interactions, new therapies may be developed that may accelerate these natural mechanisms. In addition to the advances they have already published, Rodrigo and his team are developing a surveillance system that will track the movements of individual cells and molecules during the healing process of the wound.