Cell and Developmental BiologyDevelopment and Growth Control Laboratory

Development and Growth Control Laboratory

Marco Milán

Group Leader

ICREA Research Professor

+34 93 40 34902

We are interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of tissue growth during normal development, tissue homeostasis and tumorigenesis. We perform these studies in Drosophila melanogaster, because of its suitability for genetic and molecular manipulations and its well-described developmental biology. Our current work focuses on the following topics:

Growth control during normal development: The wing primordium is a monolayered epithelial sac that grows one-thousand folds in size and number of cells to give rise to the adult wing. It is subdivided into compartments, cell populations that do not mix during the proliferative stages, and interactions between these compartments induce the expression or activity of signaling molecules that organize growth and pattern formation. We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that organize and coordinate growth and patterning, the gene regulatory networks involved in compartment boundary formation and the cellular mechanisms involved in generating the affinity barriers.

Coordination of tissue growth: In multi-cellular organisms, coordination of growth between and within organs contributes to the generation of well proportioned organs and functionally integrated adults and ensures adaptation to environmental conditions. We are currently analyzing the molecular mechanisms involved in these processes, with a particular interest on the role of Drosophila p53 and the micro-RNA machinery.

Drosophila epithelial cells as a model for cancer biology: Wing primordia have provided useful as model systems to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying tumorigenic growth. We are interested in identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to oncogene-mediated hyperplasic growth, cell delamination, basement membrane degradation and host invasiveness.

Boulan L, Martín D and Milán M.
Curr Biol, 6 (23), 473-8 (2013)
Dekanty A, Barrio L, Muzzopappa M, Auer H, and Milán M
P Natl Acad Sci Usa, 50 (109), 20549-54 (2012)
Duran J, Tevy MF, Garcia-Rocha M, Calbó J, Milán M* and Guinovart JJ*.
EMBO Mol Med, 8 (4), 719-29 (2012)
Mesquita D, Dekanty A and Milán M.
Plos Biol, 12 (8), e1000566 (2010)
Becam I, Fiuza UM, Arias AM and Milán M.
Curr Biol, 6 (20), 554-60 (2010)
Herranz H, Hong X, Pérez L, Ferreira A, Olivieri D, Cohen SM and Milán M.
Embo J, 10 (29), 1688-98 (2010)
Herranz H, Pérez L, Martín FA and Milán M.
Embo J, 11 (27), 1633-45 (2008)

Group news & mentions

27 Jul 2014

Diario Médico echoes on an article about nutrition developed by Lara Barrio and Marco Milán in the Development and Growth Control laboratory. The work was published in Cell Reports.

24 Jul 2014

Most scientific literature devoted to the protein p53 refers to cancer biology, and the functions of this molecule as a tumour suppressor have been described in detail.

18 Oct 2013

The "Diario Médico" reports on statements by Marco Milán on the uses of Drosophila melanogaster to study diseases such as cancer and autoimmune conditions.

14 Oct 2013

From 16-19 October, more than 700 scientists from around the world will attend the biennial European Drosophila Research

Upcoming events

02 Oct

Speaker: Dr. Eugenio Vázquez,
Center for Research in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Materials (CIQUS) Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain

03 Oct

Speaker: Dr. Joaquin Dopazo,
Computational Genomics Department, Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe, Valencia, Spain

03 Oct

Speaker: Sarah Teichmann,
EMBL-EBI, The European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge, UK

10 Oct

Speaker: Dr. Dario Valenzano,
Evolutionary and Experimental Biology and Ageing, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Cologne, Germany


This group receives financial support from the following sources:

  • European Commission
  • Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (Spanish Ministry of Science and Education)
  • Generalitat de Catalunya (DURSI)(Government of Catalonia)
  • ICREA (Catalan Institute of Research and Advanced Studies)
  • EMBO Young Investigator Programme