A microscopy image showing layers in different colors and a network of neurons

Department of

Photo of Richa   Rikhy

Richa Rikhy

Professor and Chair, Biology


Cell Biology of development and differentiation: Membrane trafficking and polarity



Richa Rikhy obtained her PhD in Molecular Biology in 2003 from TIFR, Mumbai. She was a postdoctoral fellow at National Institutes of Child Health and Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA before joining IISER Pune in 2010.


Morphogenesis and Differentiation

Morphogenetic events at the plasma membrane and sub-cellular organelles occur during the formation of the first primary epithelium in metazoan embryogenesis and stem cell differentiation. The group uses high resolution microscopy and genetics to study morphogenesis of cell and organelle shape during embryogenesis and stem cell differentiation using Drosophila as a model system. The projects in the lab elucidate the mechanisms that regulate plasma membrane remodelling and polarity formation and the function of mitochondrial dynamics in embryogenesis and stem cell differentiation. Recent research from the lab shows that polygonal architecture is formed during early embryogenesis due to a balance between adhesion and contractile forces; BAR domain proteins function in plasma membrane dynamics and maintenance of villi remodelling, furrow extension and cleavage furrow formation in early embryogenesis; mitochondrial morphology is regulated during embryogenesis and stem cell differentiation for appropriate mitochondrial activity and signalling pathways.

Selected Publications

Sharma, S. and Rikhy, R. 2021. Spatiotemporal recruitment of RhoGTPase protein GRAF inhibits actomyosin ring constriction in Drosophila cellularization. Elife 10:e63535 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.63535

Chowdhary, S., Madan, S., Tomer, D., Mavrakis, M. and Rikhy, R. 2020. Mitochondrial morphology and activity regulate furrow ingression and contractile ring dynamics in Drosophila cellularization. Mol. Biol. Cell 31(21):2331-2347.

Dey, B. and Rikhy, R. 2020. DE-cadherin and Myosin II balance regulates furrow length for onset of polygon shape in syncytial Drosophila embryos. J. Cell Sci. 133(10) doi: 10.1242/jcs.235846

Thukral, S., Kaity, B., Dey, B., Sharma, S., Nandi, A., Mitra, M. K. and Rikhy, R. 2020. Cyto-architecture constrains the spread of photoactivated tubulin in the syncytial Drosophila embryo. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 64, 265–277.

Sherlekar, A., Mundhe, G., Richa, P., Dey, B., Sharma, S. and Rikhy, R. 2020. F-BAR domain protein Syndapin regulates actomyosin dynamics during apical cap remodeling in syncytial Drosophila embryos. J. Cell Sci. 133(10) doi: 10.1242/jcs.240168

Tomer, D., Chippalkatti, R., Mitra, K. and Rikhy, R. 2018. ERK regulates mitochondrial membrane potential in fission deficient Drosophila follicle cells during differentiation. Dev. Biol. 434, 48–62.

Chowdhary, S., Tomer, D., Dubal, D., Sambre, D. and Rikhy, R. 2017. Analysis of mitochondrial organization and function in the Drosophila blastoderm embryo. Sci. Rep. 7, 5502.

Sherlekar, A. and Rikhy, R. 2017. Syndapin bridges the membrane-cytoskeleton divide during furrow extension. Commun. Integr. Biol. 10, e1255832.

Sherlekar, A. and Rikhy, R. 2016. Syndapin promotes pseudocleavage furrow formation by actin organization in the syncytial Drosophila embryo. Mol. Biol. Cell 27, 2064–2079.

Sherlekar, A. and Rikhy, R. 2012. Drosophila embryo syncytial blastoderm cellular architecture and morphogen gradient dynamics: Is there a correlation? Front. Biol. 7, 73–82.