Mitochondria-Image courtesy of Torsten Wittmann
Bush lab
Collective cell migration during development of the palate (roof of the mouth). Failure of this process results in cleft palate, a common birth defect.
Kutys lab
An engineered human blood vessel network, a next-generation model of human physiology and disease.
Barber Lab
Fluorescent pH biosensor reveals a pHi gradient in mouse intestinal organoids, lower in intestinal crypts with stem cells and higher in differentiated villus cells.
Wittmann Lab
Traction forces generated by an iPSC-derived cortical neuron expressing endogenously tagged doublecortin, a microtubule-associated protein required for growth cone advance.


The Department of Cell and Tissue Biology (CTB) was established in 2005 and includes 15 faculty with primary appointments and three faculty with secondary appointments.  Additionally, the department is home to numerous postdoctoral fellows as well as graduate students in programs ranging from Biomedical Sciences, Tetrad and Biophysics to Developmental & Stem Cell Biology and Oral & Craniofacial Sciences.  Faculty research interests include cell biology mechanisms relevant to cytoskeletal dynamics, development, metabolism, cancer, immunology and neurobiology, which are focus areas of our department.  CTB faculty members are committed to graduate education and postgraduate training, and are actively engaged in ensuring a collaborative and collegial environment.

Research Mission

Faculty in the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology investigate basic molecular, cellular and tissue processes to achieve fundamental insights, and as a vehicle for understanding and treating disease, by focusing quantitative and mechanistic approaches on one or more of the following three broad research questions:

  1. How are cellular organization and behavior across scales controlled by molecular and biophysical cues?
  2. How is cell fate determined and maintained, and how are resulting cell and tissue morphologies and functions established?
  3. How do biochemical and biomechanical signaling and other forms of cell communication transmit information?

Diversity Commitment

The Department of Cell and Tissue Biology is committed to the success of all department members. We recognize that diversity of thought and approaches and perspectives pushes the boundaries of science. Our department, like UCSF and the city of San Francisco, has a diverse makeup with people from around the world and of different identities. We recognize that the demographics of basic science departments, including ours, may not be representative of the demographics of trainees or the region and thus we are missing out on great potential. As a department, we strive to recruit, retain, and nourish our community members of all backgrounds to expand opportunities in science.