Matteo RAUZI

Morphogenesis and mechanics of epithelial tissues

Main interests

  • Tissue mechanics
  • Bridging scales from cell to the embryo to understand morphogenesis during development
  • Live imaging, quantitative biology, mechanical and genetic manipulation

Scientific Questions

From cell mechanics to embryo morphogenesis

We are focused in understanding how cellular and sub-cellular properties are integrated at the embryo scale to give rise to emerging mechanisms necessary to drive coordinated tissue flows and tissue remodeling during development. The projects developed in the lab gather people from different backgrounds (biology, informatics, physics, and engineering) to generate an interdisciplinary and synergistic group in an international environment.

Our Strategy

Developmental biology is a field of great interest since it allows studying cells in a physiological relevant context. That is why scientists have been considering the embryo as an interesting “environment” in which to analyze and learn more about the biology and physics of cells. While much work has been done in dissecting cellular and subcellular properties, little is known of how nano and micro scale mechanisms are integrated at the embryo and how emerging properties arise to drive coordinated tissue flows and tissue remodeling responsable for morphogenesis and impacting on cell fate determination. The research we do aims to bridge scales from the subcellular to the embryo. This represents the ultimate understanding of how an embryo changes its shape during development.

The research we do in the lab aims to push further both the understanding of embryo development and the technology necessary to tackle such understanding. We use and develop cutting edge imaging techniques, laser manipulation, magnetic tweezers, optogenetic-based synthetic morphology, and image analysis with systematic BIG data processing. The study is done comparatively on wild type and mutated embryos. in silico modelling is implemented to delineate a formal physical framework that can theoretically reproduce morphogenetic processes and predict features of the system that are then back tested experimentally.

Research Aims

Tissue fold formation is a common morphological process taking place during morphogenesis. Such a process plays a key role in embryo development since it allows translocating cells in inner zones of the embryo where specific organs of the mature animal will then originate (process named gastrulation).

A model system that is particularly suited for studying folding is for example the Drosophila embryo for which many genetic tools are available and several manipulation tools can be applied to probe cell mechanics. In the early Drosophila embryo it has been shown that a tissue can fold via different mechanisms.

How can a tissue, during fold formation, change its curvature from convex to concave?

How are forces distributed in time at the surface and in the bulk of the embryo to drive morphogenesis?

Finally, how do tissue mechanics and morphogenesis impact on EMT, cell migration and cell fate determination?


DELORME Barthélemy - +33 489150861
POPKOVA Anna - +33 489150861


TANARI Abdul Basith - +33 489150866
JOHN Alphy - +33 489150861
ROBY Nicolas - +33 489150861

Engineers & Technicians

SCHORK FOUMSOU Soumaita - +33 489150861
BEN-MOUKTAR Cécilia - +33 489150866


Recent Publications

  1. John, A, Rauzi, M. Composite morphogenesis during embryo development. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2021; :. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2021.06.007. PubMed PMID:34172395 .
  2. John, A, Rauzi, M. A two-tier junctional mechanism drives simultaneous tissue folding and extension. Dev Cell. 2021;56 (10):1469-1483.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2021.04.003. PubMed PMID:33891900 .
  3. Popkova, A, Rauzi, M, Wang, X. Cellular and Supracellular Planar Polarity: A Multiscale Cue to Elongate the Drosophila Egg Chamber. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021;9 :645235. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2021.645235. PubMed PMID:33738289 PubMed Central PMC7961075.
  4. Rauzi, M. Cell intercalation in a simple epithelium. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2020;375 (1809):20190552. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0552. PubMed PMID:32829682 PubMed Central PMC7482223.
  5. Popkova, A, Stone, OJ, Chen, L, Qin, X, Liu, C, Liu, J et al.. A Cdc42-mediated supracellular network drives polarized forces and Drosophila egg chamber extension. Nat Commun. 2020;11 (1):1921. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15593-2. PubMed PMID:32317641 PubMed Central PMC7174421.
  6. de Medeiros, G, Kromm, D, Balazs, B, Norlin, N, Günther, S, Izquierdo, E et al.. Cell and tissue manipulation with ultrashort infrared laser pulses in light-sheet microscopy. Sci Rep. 2020;10 (1):1942. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54349-x. PubMed PMID:32029815 PubMed Central PMC7005178.
  7. Rauzi, M, Krzic, U, Saunders, TE, Krajnc, M, Ziherl, P, Hufnagel, L et al.. Embryo-scale tissue mechanics during Drosophila gastrulation movements. Nat Commun. 2015;6 :8677. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9677. PubMed PMID:26497898 PubMed Central PMC4846315.
  8. Collinet, C, Rauzi, M, Lenne, PF, Lecuit, T. Local and tissue-scale forces drive oriented junction growth during tissue extension. Nat Cell Biol. 2015;17 (10):1247-58. doi: 10.1038/ncb3226. PubMed PMID:26389664 .
  9. Bajoghli, B, Kuri, P, Inoue, D, Aghaallaei, N, Hanelt, M, Thumberger, T et al.. Noninvasive In Toto Imaging of the Thymus Reveals Heterogeneous Migratory Behavior of Developing T Cells. J Immunol. 2015;195 (5):2177-86. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1500361. PubMed PMID:26188059 .
  10. Rauzi, M, Hočevar Brezavšček, A, Ziherl, P, Leptin, M. Physical models of mesoderm invagination in Drosophila embryo. Biophys J. 2013;105 (1):3-10. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.05.039. PubMed PMID:23823218 PubMed Central PMC3699736.
  11. Hočevar Brezavšček, A, Rauzi, M, Leptin, M, Ziherl, P. A model of epithelial invagination driven by collective mechanics of identical cells. Biophys J. 2012;103 (5):1069-77. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2012.07.018. PubMed PMID:23009857 PubMed Central PMC3433605.
  12. Rauzi, M, Lenne, PF. Cortical forces in cell shape changes and tissue morphogenesis. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2011;95 :93-144. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385065-2.00004-9. PubMed PMID:21501750 .
  13. Rauzi, M, Lenne, PF, Lecuit, T. Planar polarized actomyosin contractile flows control epithelial junction remodelling. Nature. 2010;468 (7327):1110-4. doi: 10.1038/nature09566. PubMed PMID:21068726 .
  14. Bertet, C, Rauzi, M, Lecuit, T. Repression of Wasp by JAK/STAT signalling inhibits medial actomyosin network assembly and apical cell constriction in intercalating epithelial cells. Development. 2009;136 (24):4199-212. doi: 10.1242/dev.040402. PubMed PMID:19934015 .
  15. Rauzi, M, Lecuit, T. Closing in on mechanisms of tissue morphogenesis. Cell. 2009;137 (7):1183-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.06.009. PubMed PMID:19563750 .
  16. Rauzi, M, Verant, P, Lecuit, T, Lenne, PF. Nature and anisotropy of cortical forces orienting Drosophila tissue morphogenesis. Nat Cell Biol. 2008;10 (12):1401-10. doi: 10.1038/ncb1798. PubMed PMID:18978783 .
  17. Cavey, M, Rauzi, M, Lenne, PF, Lecuit, T. A two-tiered mechanism for stabilization and immobilization of E-cadherin. Nature. 2008;453 (7196):751-6. doi: 10.1038/nature06953. PubMed PMID:18480755 .
  18. Rauzi M. Probing tissue interaction with laser-based cauterization in the early developing Drosophila embryo. Methods Cell Biol. 2017;139:153-165. doi: 10.1016/bs.mcb.2016.11.003. Epub 2016 Dec 23. PMID: 28215334.
  19. Rauzi M, Lenne PF. Probing cell mechanics with subcellular laser dissection of actomyosin networks in the early developing Drosophila embryo. Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1189:209-18. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1164-6_14. PMID: 25245696.
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Inserm biology technician position at the Université Côte d’Azur

We are seeking a talented and motivated candidate with a Bachelor Degree +2 in biotechnology (for instance graduated from a IUT) for a technician position to work in the teams of Dr. Matteo RAUZI and Dr. Arnaud HUBSTIENBERGER at the Institut de Biologie Valrose (University Côte d’Azur). This job offer can eventually result in a permanent position.

Tasks to be fulfilled:

  • Learning and conducting genetic crosses for both the Drosphila and Elegans model systems.
  • Learning and applying confocal microscopy imaging techniques on fixed and living
  • Conducting molecular biology and biochemical
  • Preparing solutions and media for the members of the
  • Helping the members of the teams in their
  • Taking care of the orders for consumables and small
  • Taking care of the safety
  • Fostering cohesiveness among the people in the lab.


Skills required:

  • Mastery of the English language
  • Maintaining a lab notebook
  • Punctuality
  • Precision
  • Rigorousness
  • Team spirit


Send a CV, motivation letter, scores/ranking of your latest exams and reference letters to matteo.rauzi@univ-cotedazur.fr and arnaud.hubstenberger@univ-cotedazur.fr

RAUZI LAB: http://ibv.unice.fr/research-team/rauzi/
HUBSTENGERGER LAB: http://ibv.unice.fr/research-team/hubstenberger/

Interdisciplinary Doctoral project

at the interface between engineering, biology, physics and informatics

at the University Côte d’Azur


Studying the mechanisms and mechanics driving epithelial tube formation

The formation of epithelial tubes is essential to build organs responsible to direct vital factors outside-in, inside-out or within a living animal (e.g., food and water in gut, air in lungs, saliva from salivary-tubes, blood in blood-vessels etc.). Therefore, tubing plays a critical role in multicellular life organized in stratified layers (i.e., where an inside and an outside is established). Understanding the mechanisms and mechanics responsible for tube formation is thus of great importance. Tube formation can result from tissue in-pocketing. The mechanisms responsible for in-pocketing are not well understood. To dissect and study this process, we use the sea urchin gastrula: a quite simple (i.e., powerful) model system ideal for in vivo mechanical studies. Our preliminary data highlight a possible combination of coordinated and radially planar cell polarized mechanisms that could be responsible for simultaneous uniaxial folding and extension of the vegetal plate. By implementing infra-red femtosecond ablation coupled to 4D multi-view light sheet microscopy, drug and RNAi perturbation, µ-aspiration and indentation to measure tissue mechanical properties, in toto 4D segmentation and mathematical modelling, this work will shine new light on the mechanisms and mechanics driving tissue in-pocketing for tube formation.

The project will be developped in the Rauzi lab that gathers people from different backgrounds (biology, informatics, physics, and engineering) to generate an interdisciplinary and synergistic group in an international environment.

We are seeking a motivated and talanted candidate to develop this PhD project.

Send by the 12th of May 2021 a CV, a motivation letter, master scores/ranking and reference letters to matteo.rauzi@univ-cotedazur.fr

RAUZI LAB: http://ibv.unice.fr/research-team/rauzi/

2017 - HFSP CDA

2017 - ATIP-Avenir

2016 - ANR T-ERC

2012 - HFSP Long Term Fellowship

2011 - Embo-Marie Curie Long Term Fellowship

A two-tier junctional mechanism drives composite morphogenesis

Morphogenesis is the process via which tissue shape is remodeled to give form to life during embryo development. Understanding the ...
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The egg puts on a corset to get the right shape

Thanks to an interdisciplinary and exciting collaboration between the iBV and the CBI in Toulouse, the Rauzi and the Wang ...
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UCA annual Award Ceremony: 7 iBV members recognised for their scientific contributions

iBV is a member of Université Cote d’Azur (UCA), a cluster of Research and Higher Education on the French Riviera. Each ...
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iBV - Institut de Biologie Valrose

"Sciences Naturelles"

Université Nice Sophia Antipolis
Faculté des Sciences
Parc Valrose
06108 Nice cedex 2