Thomas Surrey

Thomas Surrey

Centre de Regulació Genòmica

Life & Medical Sciences

Thomas Surrey obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Tübingen in 1995. After postdoctoral training at Princeton University and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, he became group leader at EMBL. In 2011, Thomas moved to the CRUK London Research Institute (LRI) to take the position of a senior group leader and later transferred to the newly established Francis Crick Institute in London. In 2019, Thomas relocated to the Centre of Genomic Regulation (CRG), a part of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, to take the position as a CRG senior group leader and ICREA research professor. Thomas is author of 86 research publications, elected EMBO member (2012), recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant (2013) and of the Hooke medal of the British Society of Cell Biology (2015). He was a Whitman Center Fellow at the Marine Biology Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole in 2016 and a Visiting Miller Professor at UC Berkeley in 2018.

Research interests

Living cells are internally highly organized, yet also very dynamic. How is dynamic order generated? The cytoskeleton plays a critical role in this process by forming an active filament network that provides a mechanically stable coordinate system for the internal organization of cells. The Surrey lab studies the properties of the microtubule cytoskeleton with a particular interest in its ability to organize itself into different networks in different cell types or at different times of a cell’s life cycle. The Surrey lab has pioneered several biochemical in vitro reconstitution approaches in which minimal cytoskeletal subsystems can be generated from purified components. Observing the behaviour of these reconstituted systems by advanced fluorescence microscopy provides insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying cytoskeleton dynamics and function. Our goal is to uncover the design principles governing active biological network organization which is essential for cell function.

Selected research activities

Prior to my ICREA appointment 

Selected Publications

Rickman J, Nedelec F, Surrey T (2019) Effects of spatial dimensionality and steric interactions on microtubule-motor self-organization. Physical Biology 16 (4), 046004.

Hannabuss J, Lera-Ramirez M, Cade NI, Fourniol FJ, Nedelec F, Surrey T (2019) Self-Organization of Minimal Anaphase Spindle Midzone Bundles, Current Biology, 29 (13) 2120

Most releveant invited conference presentations

Surrey T. Self-organization of a minimal anaphase spindle-like midzone. Invited lecture at the Company of Biologists Workshop ‘Reconstitution of cell cytoskeleton in vitro’ at Wiston House, West Sussex, UK, January 2019

Surrey T. Self-organization of minimal anaphase spindle-like midzone. Invited lecture  at the conference ‘Mitotic spindle: From living and synthetic systems to theory’, Split, Croatia, March 2019

Surrey T. In vitro reconstitution of dynamic microtubule systems. Invited Keynote lecture at the Gordon Research Conference on Motile and Contractile Systems at Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, USA, July 2019

Surrey T. Self-organization of microtubules, motors and bundlers. Invited lecture  at UIMP Summer School ‘Frontiers in Synthetic Biology (III) – Constructing a synthetic cell’, Santander, Spain, August 2019

Surrey T. Design principles of dynamic cytoskeleton organization derived from in vitro reconstitutions. Invited Lecture at UNIA Workshop Current Trends in Biomedicine ‘From Cancer to Developmental Defects: The Control of DNA Segregation and Human Disease’, Baeza Spain, October 2019