Gaudenz Danuser is currently appointed at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas as the Patrick E. Haggerty Distinguished Chair in Basic Biomedical Science and as a Scholar of the Cancer Prevention Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Before, he directed research laboratories at ETH Zurich (2002 – 2003), at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla (2003 – 2009), and at Harvard Medical School (2009 – 2014).

Trained as an engineer (geodetic and electrical engineering/computer science), he entered the field of cell biology as a postdoctoral fellow in the Program for Architectural Dynamics of Living Cells at the MBL in Woods Hole. Since then, he has focused his research on the question how chemical and mechanical signals integrate in the regulation of cytoskeleton dynamics and membrane trafficking.

With his CPRIT recruitment he has redirected his efforts towards understanding the implications of mechanical and chemical cell shape regulation in migration and survival of the metastatic cell, including the roles mechanical cues play in conferring what his lab calls ‘mechanical drug resistance’.

To address these questions his lab develops innovative quantitative imaging methods to experimentally probe these processes and uses mathematical modeling to compile the data in mechanistic systems analyses. He is a devoted teacher in areas of computational cell biology, cellular biophysics, and the theory of measurement applied to cell biology. He is co-chair of the computational and systens biology track in UTSW's graduate school.

He is also engaged extensively in the educational programs at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. Currently, he is the founding director of an NIH-funded course in Computational Image Analysis in Cell and Developmental Biology.

His contributions to cell biology and biophysics have been recognized by several awards and honors. Recent nominations include Recruitment Awards from the UT STARS and CPRIT programs (2012), the Charles Edward Holt Memorial Lectureship at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2011), a Transformative R01 Research Award from the NIH Director’s Office (2009 - 2014), and the Michael and Kate Barany Award for Young Investigators by The Biophysical Society (2009).

Research Interest

  • Computer vision and machine learning of cancer cell dynamics
  • Integrated mathematical modeling of signal transduction and morphogenesis in cancer cells
  • Live cell imaging of biomimetic models of cancer metastasis
  • Roles and regulation of cell morphogenesis in metastatic migration, survival, and drug response


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

In vivo cell-cycle profiling in xenograft tumors by quantitative intravital microscopy.
Chittajallu DR, Florian S, Kohler RH, Iwamoto Y, Orth JD, Weissleder R, Danuser G, Mitchison TJ Nat. Methods 2015 Apr
Myosin II controls cellular branching morphogenesis and migration in three dimensions by minimizing cell-surface curvature.
Elliott H, Fischer RS, Myers KA, Desai RA, Gao L, Chen CS, Adelstein RS, Waterman CM, Danuser G Nat. Cell Biol. 2015 Feb 17 2 137-47
ERK reinforces actin polymerization to power persistent edge protrusion during motility.
Mendoza MC, Vilela M, Juarez JE, Blenis J, Danuser G Sci Signal 2015 8 377 ra47
Mechanical Feedback through E-Cadherin Promotes Direction Sensing during Collective Cell Migration.
Cai D, Chen SC, Prasad M, He L, Wang X, Choesmel-Cadamuro V, Sawyer JK, Danuser G, Montell DJ Cell 2014 May 157 5 1146-59
S. cerevisiae Chromosomes Biorient via Gradual Resolution of Syntely between S Phase and Anaphase.
Marco E, Dorn JF, Hsu PH, Jaqaman K, Sorger PK, Danuser G Cell 2013 Aug 154 5 1127-39
Mathematical Modeling of Eukaryotic Cell Migration: Insights Beyond Experiments.
Danuser G, Allard J, Mogilner A Annu. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 2013 Jul
Computer vision in cell biology.
Danuser G Cell 2011 Nov 147 5 973-8