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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience



After obtaining a degree in Biochemistry and a Master of Science at the University Paris 6 (France), I worked as a research assistant in Alfonso Martinez-Arias’ lab, where I started learning about developmental biology. During my PhD in Jean-Paul Vincent’s lab at the MRC National Institute of Medical Research (London), I studied how embryonic epithelial cells undergo apoptosis after they lose contact with their neighbours. Further interested in signal transduction, I joined Eugenia Piddini’s lab as a postdoctoral researcher at the WT/CRUK Gurdon Institute (Cambridge) to study how differences in cellular fitness affect cell-fate decisions in tissue homeostasis. In 2017, I started my group at PDN with a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, jointly funded by the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust. We explore the roles of extracellular factors and adhesion proteins with regard to cell-fate decisions in the Drosophila intestine.


Our internal organs, like those of the gastrointestinal tract, are lined with millions of specialised cells important for function and protection against external damage. To maintain health, infected or damaged cells are efficiently replaced from a pool of progenitor cells in a process called tissue regeneration. This capacity to regenerate however declines with age or can become deregulated in disease.

The Kolahgar Lab studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying universal principles of tissue maintenance and regeneration. The main questions that interest us are:

  • What triggers cell replacement, and what causes deregulation in aging and disease?
  • How are progenitor cells protected from damage and maintained over time?
  • How are organ size and function regulated to maintain organismal health?

We use genetics, lineage tracing methods and advanced imaging to identify conserved secreted and biophysical factors regulating gut plasticity. Our main model system is the genetically tractable fruit fly Drosophila, which has rapid lifecycle and is cost-effective. Importantly, this organism shares more than 70% of its DNA with human disease genes, meaning that our basic research has the potential to uncover new insights into intestinal maintenance and degenerative diseases.

Lab members:

Jerome Bohere, postdoc (Nov. 2017- )

Buffy Eldridge-Thomas, PhD student, Wellcome Trust (Oct. 2019- )

Yvswenne Liew, Part II student (2023/2024)

Yuan He, Part II student (2023/2024)


Past lab members:

Ayur Tadimalla, MPhil student (2022/2023)

Alexandre Barthelemy, exchange student (2023, Magistere Europeen de Genetique, Universite de Paris)

Sofia el-Hanafi, exchange student (2022, Magistere Europeen de Genetique, Universite de Paris)

Madeleine Frelon, exchange student (2022, AgroParisTech)

Juliette Durand, exchange student (2019, Magistere Europeen de Genetique, Universite de Paris)

Hannah Mudge, Part II student (2018/2019)

Mehmet Goksu, Part II student (2018/2019)

Beth Hindhaugh, Part II student (2017/2018)




Key publications: 

Preprint: Eldridge-Thomas BL, Bohere J, Roubinet C, Barthelemy A, Samuels TJ, Teixeira FK, Kolahgar G (2024), The transmembrane protein Syndecan regulates stem cell nuclear properties and cell maintenancebioRxiv

Bohere J, Eldridge-Thomas B, Kolahgar G (2022), Vinculin recruitment to α-catenin halts the differentiation and maturation of enterocyte progenitors to maintain homeostasis of the Drosophila intestine. eLife 11:e72836

Kucinski I*, Dinan M*, Kolahgar G, Piddini E (2017), Chronic activation of JNK, JAK/STAT and oxidative stress signalling causes the loser cell status; (* equal contribution); Nat. Commun. Jul 26;8(1):136

Suijkerbuijk SJE, Kolahgar G, Kucinski I, Piddini E. (2016), Cell competition drives the growth of intestinal adenomas in Drosophila. Curr Biol. 2016 Feb 22;26(4):428-38

Kolahgar G, Suijkerbuijk SJE, Kucinski I, Poirier E, Mansour S, Simons BD, Piddini E. (2015) Cell competition modifies adult stem cell and tissue population dynamics in a JAK-STAT dependent manner. Dev Cell. 2015 Aug 10, 34(3):297-309

Wagstaff L*, Kolahgar G*, Piddini E, (2013), Competitive cell interactions in cancer: a cellular tug of war. Trends Cell Biol. 2013 Apr;23(4):160-7 (* equal contribution)

Vincent JP, Kolahgar G, Gagliardi M, Piddini E, (2011), Steep differences in Wingless signaling trigger Myc-independent competitive cell interactionsDev Cell. 2011 Aug 16; 21(2):366-74

Kolahgar G*, Bardet PL*, Langton P, Alexandre C, Vincent JP, (2011), Apical deficiency triggers JNK-dependant apoptosis in the embryonic epidermis of Drosophila. Development. 2011 Jul 138(14):3021-31 (* equal contribution)

Bardet PL, Kolahgar G, Mynett A, Miguel-Aliaga I, Briscoe J, Meier P, Vincent JP, (2008), A fluorescent reporter of caspase activity for live imaging. PNAS. 2008 Sep 16;105(37):13901-5

Antoine K, Ferbus D, Kolahgar G, Prosperi MT, Goubin G, (2005), Zinc finger protein overexpressed in colon carcinoma interacts with the telomeric protein hRap1. J Cell Biochem. 2005 Jul 1;95(4):763-8


Teaching and Supervisions


NST II P6 Cell differentiation and organogenesis

Sir Henry Dale Fellow
Picture of Dr Golnar  Kolahgar

Contact Details

01223 334 129
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