Facebook Pixel Code
About Sickkids
About SickKids

Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez, PhD

Research Institute
Adjunct Scientist
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology

University of Toronto
Assistant Professor
Inst. of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering Dept. of Cell & Systems Biol.

Phone: 416-978-7368
Email: rodrigo.fernandez.gonzalez@utoronto.ca

For more information, visit:

Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering 

Academic Background

  • 1996-2000: B.Sc., Computer Engineering, University of Autonoma, Madrid, Spain.
  • 2001-2006: Ph.D., Bioengineering.  University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco, California.
    Mentors: Drs. Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff and Carlos Otriz-de-Solorzano
    Quantitative in situ characterization of a putative stem cell population in the adult mouse mammary gland.
  • 2006-2001: Research Fellow. Developmental Biology Program. Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, New York.
    Mentor: Dr. Jennifer A. Zallen
    Mechanical regulation of cytoskeletal dynamics during axis elongation in Drosophila.

Research Interests

We are interested in characterizing morphogenesis as a quantitative, dynamic process. To this end, we use time-lapse fluorescence microscopy and develop image analysis tools to track cellular and molecular dynamics in living Drosophila embryos, and build biophysical methods to manipulate the mechanical forces experienced by cells in vivo. Using these tools we have shown that mechanical forces can modulate the dynamics of cytoskeletal proteins, thus regulating cell behavior. We are currently applying similar methods and developing new ones to investigate the cellular, molecular and mechanical aspects of wound closure in early embryos, which display an outstanding capacity for tissue repair.


  • New York Academy of Sciences Blavatnik Award Nominee - New York, NY, 2010.
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Postdoctoral Researcher Award - New York, NY, 2010.
  • Department of Defence Breast Cancer Research Program Predoctoral Fellowship - University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco, 2003-2006.


Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Zallen JA. (2012) Feeling the squeeze: live-cell extrusion limits cell density in epithelia. Cell. 149(5):965-967.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Zallen JA. (2011) Oscillatory behaviors and hierarchical assembly of contractile structures in intercalating cells. Physical Biology. 8(4): 045005.

Simoes S,  Blankenship JT, Weitz O, Farrell DL, Tamada M, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Zallen JA. (2010) Rho-kinase directs Bazooka/Par-3 planar polarity during Drosophila axis elongation.  Developmental Cell. 19(3):377-388.

Martin AC, Gelbart M, Fernandez-Gonzalez, Kaschube M, Wieschaus EF. (2010) Integration of contractile forces during tissue invagination.  Journal of Cell Biology 188(5):735-749.

Arganda-Carreras I, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Muñoz-Barrutia A, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C. (2010) 3D reconstruction of histological sections: application to mammary gland tissue.  Microscopy Research and Technique. 73(11):1019-1029

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Illa-Bochaca I, Shelton DN, Welm BE, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C. (2010) In situ analysis of cell populations: long-term label retaining cells.  Methods in Molecular Biology: Protocols for Adult Stem Cells. 62:11-28.

Illa-Bochaca I, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Shelton DN, Welm BE, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C, Barcellos-Hoff MH. (2010) Limiting-dilution transplantation assays in mammary stem cell studies. Methods in Molecular Biology: Protocols for Adult Stem Cells. 62:29-47.

Shelton DN, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Illa-Bochaca I, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Welm BE. (2010) Use of stem cell markers in dissociated mammary populations.   Methods in Molecular Biology: Protocols for Adult Stem Cells. 621:49-55.

Marcinkevicius E, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Zallen JA. (2009) Quantitative approaches to planar cell polarity and tissue organization.  Journal of Biology. 8(103):1-5.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R,  Zallen JA. (2009) Cell mechanics and feedback regulation of actomyosin networks.   Science Signaling. 2(101):78.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Simoes, de M, Roper JC, Eaton S, Zallen JA. (2009) Myosin II dynamics are regulated by tension in intercalating cells.  Developmental Cell. 17(5):736-743.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Illa-Bochaca I, Welm BE, Fleisch MC, Werb Z, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C, Barcellos-Hoff MH. (2009) Mapping mammary gland architecture using multi-scale in situ analysis.  Integrative Biology. 1(1):80-90.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Zallen JA. (2008) Epithelial organization: may the force be with you. Current Biology. 18(4):163-165.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Muñoz-Barrutia A, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C. (2006) Quantitative in vivo microscopy: the return from the ‘omics’. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 17(5):501-510.

Adiga U, Malladi R, Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C. (2006) High-throughput analysis of multispectral images of breast cancer tissue.   IEEE Transactions on Image Processing. 15(8):2259-2268.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C. (2005) A tool for the quantitative spatial analysis of complex cellular systems.  IEEE Transactions on Image Processing. 14(9):1300-1313.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C. (2004) Quantitative image analysis in mammary gland biology. Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia. 9(4):343-359.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Deschamps T. Idica A, Malladi R, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C. (2004) Automatic segmentation of histological structures in mammary gland tissue sections.  Journal of Biomedical Optics. 9:444-453.

Fernandez-Gonzalez R, Jones A, Garcia-Rodriguez E, Chen PY, Idica A, Lockett SJ, Barcellos-Hoff MH, Ortiz-de-Solorzano C. (2002) System for combined three-dimensional morphological and molecular analysis of thick tissue specimens.  Microscopy Research and Technique. 59:522-530.