Nathan Goehring

Polarity and Patterning Networks Laboratory

Pattern-forming systems provide essential spatial cues to guide the complex three dimensional puzzle that is organismal development. Work over the past decades has identified most of the key molecules involved, yet we are only beginning to understand how the collective activities of these molecules give rise to patterns at the cell and tissue scale. What are the properties of these networks that permit pattern formation? How are pattern boundaries established? What sets the scale of a pattern and how do pattern-forming networks adapt to the changes in the size and shape of cells and tissues that are inherent to the development process?

Our lab currently focuses on cell polarity networks, which serve as spatial templates to cell organization along an axis, thereby allowing the cell to differentiate, for example, its front from its rear. Defects in cell polarity networks can disrupt numerous developmental processes, including cell migration (leukocytes), the orientation of cells with respect to their environment (epithelia), cell fate specification during asymmetric cell division (stem cells), and the generation of complex cell morphologies (neurons). By developing a systems-level understanding of pattern-formation by cell polarity networks, we hope to enable new therapies for the prevention and treatment of developmental defects and cancer.

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A self-organising reaction-diffusion network drives polarity in the C. elegans embryo.

Selected publications

Trong PK, Nicola EM, Goehring NW, Kumar KV, Grill SW Parameter-space topology of models for cell polarityNew Journal of Physics 2014, 16:065009.

Goehring NW, Hoege C, Grill SW, Hyman AA PAR proteins diffuse freely across the anterior-posterior boundary in polarized C. elegans embryosJ Cell Biol 2011, 193:583-594. 

Goehring NW, Trong PK, Bois JS, Chowdhury D, Nicola EM, Hyman AA, Grill SW Polarization of PAR proteins by advective triggering of a pattern-forming systemScience 2011, 334:1137-1141. 

Goehring NW, Chowdhury D, Hyman AA, Grill SW FRAP analysis of membrane-associated proteins: lateral diffusion and membrane-cytoplasmic exchange.
Biophys J 2010, 99:2443-2452. 

Hoege C, Constantinescu A-T, Schwager A, Goehring NW, Kumar P, Hyman AA LGL can partition the cortex of one-cell Caenorhabditis elegans embryos into two domainsCurr Biol 2010, 20:1296-1303. 


Nathan Goehring

Nathan Goehring
+44 (0)20 379 61867

  • Qualifications and history
  • 2006 PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, USA
  • 2006 Postdoctoral Fellow Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany
  • 2013 Established lab at the London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK
  • 2015 Group Leader, the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK