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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Dr Isabel Palacios


Lecturer in Cell Biology, Nanchang Joint Programme

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 6909
Room Number: Room 3.13, Fogg Building


Dr Isabel Palacios is a lecturer on the Nanchang Joint Programme at Queen Mary University of London and a visitor scientist at the University of Cambridge. She has extensive research experience and has worked in various research positions at the University of Cambridge for over 12 years. Dr Palacios completed her PhD studies at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany. She has been successful in obtaining various grants from distinguished institutions such as the BBSRC, the Wellcome Trust, CRUK and Alzheimer’s Research UK. 

Her ultimate scientific aim is to contribute to the understanding of diseases, and she believes that in order to achieve this goal we need to understand fundamental cell biophysical mechanisms underpinning health. She is focusing her research in the multidisciplinary field of cell and tissue biophysics. Her major interest is on the cell biophysical function of cytoskeletal forces and proteins during germline development, although she is exploring some of her findings in other cells (e.g., neurons) and organisms (e.g., mouse), in a collaborative manner. 

She is a founder of the charity DrosAfrica, with the mission of helping to set up an African research community using Drosophila as a model system for human diseases of interest in the area (see for details).

View Isabel's Zoology Lab on the University of Cambridge website.

View Isabel's personal lab webpage

Research department



Dr Isabel Palacios - Outreach Publications

1. Vicente-Crespo M, Martín-Bermudo MD, and Palacios IM (2020). The humble fruit fly is helping the African science community to thrive. Nature Reviews MCB doi.10.1038/s41580-020-00283-0

2. Martin-Bermudo MD, Gebel L and Palacios IM (2017). DrosAfrica: Building an African biomedical research community using Drosophila. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology.

3. Vicente Crespo M, Muñoz Descalzo S, Weil T, Martin-Bermudo D, and Palacios I (2016); Workshop-Based Training for Capacity Building: Using Drosophila to Bring Research Skills to Africa; FASEB Journal 30 (1) suppl.663.2.

4. M. Martín-Bermudo, I. Palacios, M. Vicente Crespo, A. Gonzalez-Reyes, S. Muñoz Descalzo, and T. Weil (2013). DROSOPHILA IN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH: AFFORDABLE AND IMPACTING. 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, Spain.

5. Baden T, Palacios I, Vicente M, Martin-Bermudo D, Yusuf S, and Prieto Godino L (2012). Higher Education in the Developing World: Drosophila Neurogenetics, Uganda. INTED2012, Valencia, Spain.

6. Baden T, Palacios I, Vicente M, Martin-Bermudo D, Yusuf S, and Prieto Godino L (2011). Breaking the Wall of Global Inequality in Higher Education. Falling Walls Conference, Berlin, Germany

Research Publications

As Dorothy Hodgkin Independent Fellow:

Macchi P, Kroening S, Palacios IM, Baldassa S, Grunewald B, Ambrosino C, Lupas A, St Johnston D and Kiebler M (2003) Barentsz, a new component of the Staufen-containing ribonucleoprotein particles in mammalian cells, interacts with Staufen in a RNA-dependent manner. J. Neuroscience 23:5778.

Palacios IM, Gatfield D, St Johnston D and Izaurralde E (2004) An eIF4AIII-containing complex required for mRNA localisation and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Nature 427:753.

News and Views Nature Cell Biology 6, 285 - 287 (2004)

As Group Leader:

Palacios IM (2007) How does an mRNA find its way? Intracellular localisation of transcripts. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology April 18:163.

Meignin C, Alvarez-Garcia I, Davis I, and Palacios IM (2007) The Salvador-Warts-Hippo pathway is required for epithelial proliferation and axis specification in Drosophila. Current Biology 17, Nov 6:1. Dispatch Current Biology 17, Issue 23 (2007).

Loiseau P, Davies T, Williams LS, Mishima M, and Palacios IM (2010) Drosophila Pat1 is required for Kinesin-1 to transport cargo and to maximize its motility. Development 137, 2763.

Vicente-Crespo M and Palacios IM (2010) Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay and Development: shoot the messenger to survive? Biochemical Society Transactions Dec 38(6):1500.

Avery P, Vicente-Crespo M, Francis D, Nashchekina O, Alonso CR, and Palacios IM (2011) Drosophila Upf1 and Upf2 loss of function inhibits cell growth and causes animal death in a Upf3-independent manner. RNA April 17:624.

Described as “of outstanding interest” by Hwang, J and Maquat, LE, Curr. Opin. Genet Dev. 2011;21:422-30

Ganguly S, Williams LS, Palacios IM*, and Goldstein RE* (2012) Cytoplasmic streaming in Drosophila oocytes varies with kinesin activity and correlates with the microtubule cytoskeleton architecture. PNAS 18;109:15109. *Contributed equally as senior and corresponding authors.

Palacios IM (2012) Nonsense mediated RNA Decay: from mechanistic insights to impacts on human health. Briefings in Functional Genomics. 12(1):25.

Williams LS, Ganguly S, Loiseau P, Ng BF and Palacios IM (2014) The auto-inhibitory domain and the ATP-independent microtubule-binding region of Kinesin Heavy Chain are major functional domains for transport in the Drosophila germline. Development Jan;141(1):176.

Saavedra P, Vincent JP, Palacios IM, Lawrence PA and Casal J (2014). Plasticity of both planar cell polarity and cell identity during the development of Drosophila. eLife, February 11, 2014;3:e01569.

Palacios IM (2014). Hop on hop off: polysomes take a tour of the cell on endosomes. J. Cell Biology. Feb 3;204(3):287. 

Gómez-Lamarca MJ, Cobreros-Reguera L, Ibáñez-Jiménez B, Palacios IM and Martín-Bermudo MD. (2014). Integrins regulate epithelial cell differentiation by modulating Notch activity. J. Cell Science Nov 1;127(21):4667.

Saavedra P, Brittle A, Palacios IM, Strutt D, Casal J, Lawrence PA. (2016). Planar cell polarity: the Dachsous/Fat system contributes differently to the embryonic and larval stages of Drosophila. Biol Open. Apr 15;5(4):397.

Ng BF, Selvaraj GK, Santa-Cruz Mateos C, Grosheva I, Alvarez-Garcia I, Martín-Bermudo MD and Palacios IM (2016). Alpha-Spectrin and Integrins act together to regulate actomyosin and columnarization, and to maintain a mono-layered follicular epithelium. Development. Apr 15;143(8): 1388.

Drechsler M, Giavazzi F, Cerbino R and Palacios IM. (2017). Active diffusion and advection in the Drosophila ooplasm are due to the interplay of the microtubule and actin cytoskeletons. bioRxiv (doi: and at Nature Communications, DOI : 10.1038/s41467-017-01414-6.

Francis D, Chanana B, Fernandez B, Gordon B, Mak T, Palacios IM (2019). YAP/Yorkie in the germline modulates the age-related decline of germline stem cells and niche cellsPLoS One. 2019 Apr 3;14(4):e0213327. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0213327.

Santa-Cruz Mateos C, Valencia-Expósito A, Palacios IM, and Martín-Bermudo MD (2020). Integrins regulate epithelial cell shape by controlling the architecture and mechanical properties of basal actomyosin networks. PLoS Genet. Jun 1;16(6):e1008717. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008717

Drechsler M, Lang LF, Al-Khatib L, Dirks H, Burger M, Schönlieb CB, Palacios IM (2020). Optical flow analysis reveals that Kinesin-mediated advection impacts on the orientation of microtubules. Mol Biol Cell. Jun 1;31(12):1246-1258. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E19-08-0440.


PhD supervision

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