Dr Richard Adams

Richard Adams

University position


Dr Richard Adams is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience



Research Theme

Developmental Neuroscience


My group is interested in the mechanisms of morphogenesis that shape the early central nervous system. Using zebrafish as a developmental model, we image the movements of many hundreds of cells using time-lapse micoscopy. Applying methods of image analysis was are able to trace the movements that take place during gastrulation and neurulation to tranform the CNS into its 3D form.

Dynamic fate map of the zebrafish forebrain generated by tracing the paths of hundreds of individual cells.
Dynamic fate map of the zebrafish forebrain generated by tracing the paths of hundreds of individual cells.
Click image to view full-size

Research Focus







Clinical conditions

Neural tube defects

No direct clinical relevance


Computational modelling

Confocal microscopy

Fluorescence microscopy



No collaborators listed

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Blanchard GB, Kabla AJ, Schultz NL, Butler LC, Sanson B, Gorfinkiel N, Mahadevan L, Adams RJ (2009), “Tissue tectonics: morphogenetic strain rates, cell shape change and intercalation.” Nat Methods 6(6):458-64 Details

    England SJ, Blanchard GB, Mahadevan L, Adams RJ (2006), “A dynamic fate map of the forebrain shows how vertebrate eyes form and explains two causes of cyclopia.” Development 133(23):4613-7 Details

    Rembold M, Loosli F, Adams RJ, Wittbrodt J (2006), “Individual cell migration serves as the driving force for optic vesicle evagination” Science 313:1130-4 Details



    Booth AJ, Blanchard GB, Adams RJ, Röper K (2014), “A dynamic microtubule cytoskeleton directs medial actomyosin function during tube formation.” Dev Cell 29(5):562-76 Details

    Fischer SC, Blanchard GB, Duque J, Adams RJ, Arias AM, Guest SD, Gorfinkiel N (2014), “Contractile and mechanical properties of epithelia with perturbed actomyosin dynamics.” PLoS One 9(4):e95695 Details


    Blanchard GB, Adams RJ (2011), “Measuring the multi-scale integration of mechanical forces during morphogenesis.” Curr Opin Genet Dev 21(5):653-63 Details

    England SJ, Adams RJ (2011), “Blastomere injection of cleavage-stage zebrafish embryos and imaging of labeled cells.” Cold Spring Harb Protoc 2011(8):958-66 Details


    Blanchard GB, Murugesu S, Adams RJ, Martinez-Arias A, Gorfinkiel N (2010), “Cytoskeletal dynamics and supracellular organisation of cell shape fluctuations during dorsal closure.” Development 137(16):2743-52 Details


    Butler LC, Blanchard GB, Kabla AJ, Lawrence NJ, Welchman DP, Mahadevan L, Adams RJ, Sanson B (2009), “Cell shape changes indicate a role for extrinsic tensile forces in Drosophila germ-band extension.” Nat Cell Biol 11(7):859-64 Details

    Gorfinkiel N, Blanchard GB, Adams RJ, Martinez Arias A (2009), “Mechanical control of global cell behaviour during dorsal closure in Drosophila.” Development 136(11):1889-98 Details

    Meilhac SM, Adams RJ, Morris SA, Danckaert A, Le Garrec JF, Zernicka-Goetz M (2009), “Active cell movements coupled to positional induction are involved in lineage segregation in the mouse blastocyst.” Dev Biol 331(2):210-21 Details


    England SJ, Adams RJ (2007), “Building a dynamic fate map.” Biotechniques 43(1 Suppl):20-4 Details

    Svetic V, Hollway GE, Elworthy S, Chipperfield TR, Davison C, Adams RJ, Eisen JS, Ingham PW, Currie PD, Kelsh RN (2007), “Sdf1a patterns zebrafish melanophores and links the somite and melanophore pattern defects in choker mutants.” Development 134(5):1011-22 Details


    Strauss B, Adams RJ, Papalopulu N (2006), “A default mechanism of spindle orientation based on cell shape is sufficient to generate cell fate diversity in polarised Xenopus blastomeres.” Development 133(19):3883-93 Details


    Glickman NS, Kimmel CB, Jones MA, Adams RJ (2003), “Shaping the zebrafish notochord.” Development 130(5):873-87 Details

    Ulrich F, Concha ML, Heid PJ, Voss E, Witzel S, Roehl H, Tada M, Wilson SW, Adams RJ, Soll DR, Heisenberg CP (2003), “Slb/Wnt11 controls hypoblast cell migration and morphogenesis at the onset of zebrafish gastrulation.” Development 130(22):5375-84 Details


    Feldman B, Concha ML, Saúde L, Parsons MJ, Adams RJ, Wilson SW, Stemple DL (2002), “Lefty antagonism of Squint is essential for normal gastrulation.” Curr Biol 12(24):2129-35 Details


    Skaliora I, Adams R, Blakemore C (2000), “Morphology and growth patterns of developing thalamocortical axons.” J Neurosci 20(10):3650-62 Details


    Concha ML, Adams RJ (1998), “Oriented cell divisions and cellular morphogenesis in the zebrafish gastrula and neurula: a time-lapse analysis.” Development 125(6):983-94 Details

    Molnár Z, Adams R, Blakemore C (1998), “Mechanisms underlying the early establishment of thalamocortical connections in the rat.” J Neurosci 18(15):5723-45 Details

    Molnár Z, Adams R, Goffinet AM, Blakemore C (1998), “The role of the first postmitotic cortical cells in the development of thalamocortical innervation in the reeler mouse.” J Neurosci 18(15):5746-65 Details


    Adams RJ (1996), “Metaphase spindles rotate in the neuroepithelium of rat cerebral cortex.” J Neurosci 16(23):7610-8 Details


    Holliday J, Adams RJ, Sejnowski TJ, Spitzer NC (1991), “Calcium-induced release of calcium regulates differentiation of cultured spinal neurons.” Neuron 7(5):787-96 Details


    Adams RJ, Pollard TD (1989), “Binding of myosin I to membrane lipids.” Nature 340(6234):565-8 Details

    Adams RJ, Pollard TD (1989), “Membrane-bound myosin-I provides new mechanisms in cell motility.” Cell Motil Cytoskeleton 14(2):178-82 Details


    Adams RJ, Pollard TD (1986), “Propulsion of organelles isolated from Acanthamoeba along actin filaments by myosin-I.” Nature 322(6081):754-6 Details


    Adams RJ, Bray D (1983), “Rapid transport of foreign particles microinjected into crab axons.” Nature 303(5919):718-20 Details


    Adams RJ (1982), “Organelle movement in axons depends on ATP.” Nature 297(5864):327-9 Details