Neurobiology and Development

Epithelial Cell Biology

Under the direction of David Hipfner

Research Unit

Epithelial cells are a fundamental component of animal tissues. These highly specialized cells are tightly joined together to form organized epithelial sheets. Epithelia act as boundaries, lining the inner and outer surfaces of organs and the interfaces between tissues. Epithelial cells serve many essential functions including protection (e.g. skin), secretion (e.g. various glands) and absorption (e.g. in the intestine), and they provide surfaces for gas exchange (e.g. in the lungs and blood vessels). Given their widespread importance, there is a great deal of interest in understanding how epithelial tissues are normally formed and maintained.

The Epithelial Cell Biology Research Unit's goal is to provide insights into the basic mechanisms that are critical for the establishment, growth, and shaping of epithelial tissues during embryonic development. Given the central role of de-regulated cell proliferation, survival, and epithelial organization in cancer, members of the laboratory also expect to gain a better understanding of mechanisms involved in tumour formation and metastasis in humans.

David R. Hipfner

Research Unit Director

  • Director, Epithelial Cell Biology Research Unit, IRCM
  • Associate IRCM Research Professor
  • Assistant Research Professor, Department of Medicine (accreditation in molecular biology), Université de Montréal
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology and Division of Experimental Medicine, McGill University

Degrees and relevant experience

  • PhD in pathology, Queen’s University, Kingston
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Developmental Biology program, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany (1999-2005)
David R. Hipfner
Research Unit Director
Mehrnoush Dehghani
Postdoctoral Fellow
Karen Oh
Research Assistant
Farah Saad
PhD student
Neera Sriskandarajah
PhD student

Ongoing projects


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Contact information

Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM)
110, des Pins Avenue West
Montréal, Québec  H2W 1R7

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Neurobiology and Development