Chair of Cell and Developmental Biology (Zoology I)

Brooke Morriswood

Brooke Morriswood


Brooke Morriswood

... is a molecular cell biologist with interests in the cytoskeleton and membrane trafficking. He graduated from Cambridge University (2002) with a degree in biochemistry, and completed doctoral studies under the supervision of John Kendrick-Jones at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge (2006). He carried out postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Graham Warren at Yale University (2007) and the Max F. Perutz Laboratories in Vienna (2008-2014). Brooke joined the Biocenter in April 2015, and ran a 100% self-funded group from 2015-2021.

Funding for the group was discontinued at the end of 2021. The group continued to operate in 2022 while Brooke was additionally coordinating the Physics of Parasitism network, but ceased operations at the end of the year. Brooke left the University of Würzburg in early 2023. 

He is the writer of the Total Internal Reflection science blog ( Twitter: @TIRscienceblog


2002-2006: PhD, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK

2007 Postdoc: Yale University, USA

2008-2014: Postdoc, Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Vienna, Austria

2015-2022: Group leader, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Würzburg





Research synopsis

The cytoskeleton of Trypanosoma brucei is essential for its viability, and contributes to a number of cellular processes including membrane trafficking and motility.

Research in the laboratory primarily focused around the actomyosin system of trypanosomes, and specifically their myosin motor proteins. T. brucei exhibits a dramatically reduced actomyosin complement relative to metazoan cells, making it an ideal model system for some fundamental questions in eukaryotic cell biology.

In addition, several discrete cytoskeleton-associated structures are clustered around the neck of the flagellar pocket, an invaginated subdomain of the plasma membrane which is the sole site of endo- and exocytosis in T. brucei. One of these structures is a multiprotein complex defined by the repeat-motif protein TbMORN1. The morphology, composition, and function of this complex was a second focus of Brooke's research.

Experimental approaches involved a combination of light microscopy, fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy, together with biochemical and functional assays including proximity-dependent biotinylation (BioID).

Recent research publications

Opinion pieces

Morriswood B, Hoeller O. Hidden value. (2019) Elife. Aug 20;8.:e50543.

Morriswood B, Hoeller O. The rat race. (2019) EMBO Rep. Jul;20(7):e48528. 

Morriswood B, Hoeller O. A Bosman ruling for science. (2018) EMBO Rep. Nov;19(11):e47071. 

Morriswood B, Hoeller O. Resurrection science. (2018) EMBO Rep. Aug;19(8): e46577. 

Morriswood B, Hoeller O. Nobody at the top. (2018) EMBO Rep. Jun;19(6):e46329. 


Research - preprints, journal articles


Endocytosis is required for access of surface-bound cargo to the flagellar pocket of trypanosomes. (2022) bioRxiv, peer review via Review Commons.

Structures of three MORN repeat proteins and a re-evaluation of the proposed lipid-binding properties of MORN repeats. (2020) biorXiv, peer review via Review Commons.

A modification to the life cycle of the parasite Trypanosoma brucei. (2019) biorXiv.

Journal articles (research articles and reviews):

Broster Reix CE, Florimond C, Cayrel A, Mailhé A, Agnero-Rigot C, Landrein N, Dacheux D, Havlicek K, Bonhivers M, Morriswood B, Robinson DR (2021).Bhalin, an essential cytoskeleton-associated protein of trypanosoma brucei linking TbBILBO1 of the flagellar pocket collar with the hook complex. Microorganisms. 

Schuster S, Lisack J, Subota I, Zimmermann H, Reuter C, Mueller T, Morriswood B, Engstler M (2021) Unexpected plasticity in the life cycle of Trypanosoma brucei. Elife

Sajko S, Grishkovskaya I, Kostan J, Graewert M, Setiawan K, Trübestein L, Niedermüller K, Gehin C, Sponga A, Puchinger M, Gavin AC, Leonard TA, Svergun DI, Smith TK, Morriswood B, Djinovic-Carugo K. (2020) Structures of three MORN repeat proteins and a re-evaluation of the proposed lipid-binding properties of MORN repeats.  PLoS ONE

Morriswood B, Engstler M. Let's get fISSical: fast in silico synchronization as a new tool for cell division cycle analysis. (2017) Parasitology. Feb 7:1-14.

Cicova Z, Dejung M, Skalicky T, Eisenhuth N, Hanselmann S, Morriswood B, Figueiredo LM, Butter F, Janzen CJ. (2016) Two flagellar BAR domain proteins in Trypanosoma brucei with stage-specific regulation. Sci Rep. 6:35826.

Vidilaseris K, Lesigang J, Morriswood B, Dong G. Assembly mechanism of Trypanosoma brucei BILBO1 at the flagellar pocket collar. (2015) Commun Integr Biol.8(1):e992739.  

Morriswood B. Form, Fabric, and Function of a Flagellum-Associated Cytoskeletal Structure. (2015) Cells. 4(4):726-47.

Morriswood B, Schmidt K. A MORN Repeat Protein Facilitates Protein Entry into the Flagellar Pocket of Trypanosoma brucei. (2015) Eukaryot Cell. 14(11):1081-93.

Vidilaseris K, Shimanovskaya E, Esson HJ, Morriswood B, Dong G. Assembly mechanism of Trypanosoma brucei BILBO1, a multidomain cytoskeletal protein. (2014) J Biol Chem. 289(34):23870-81.

Vidilaseris K, Morriswood B, Kontaxis G, Dong G. Structure of the TbBILBO1 protein N-terminal domain from Trypanosoma brucei reveals an essential requirement for a conserved surface patch. (2014) J Biol Chem. 289(6):3724-35.  

Morriswood B, Warren G. Cell biology. Stalemate in the Golgi battle. (2013) Science. 341(6153):1465-6.  

Morriswood B, Havlicek K, Demmel L, Yavuz S, Sealey-Cardona M, Vidilaseris K, Anrather D, Kostan J, Djinovic-Carugo K, Roux KJ, Warren G. Novel bilobe components in Trypanosoma brucei identified using proximity-dependent biotinylation. (2013) Eukaryot Cell. 12(2):356-67.  

Esson HJ, Morriswood B, Yavuz S, Vidilaseris K, Dong G, Warren G. Morphology of the trypanosome bilobe, a novel cytoskeletal structure. (2012) Eukaryot Cell. 11(6):761-72.

Morriswood B, He CY, Sealey-Cardona M, Yelinek J, Pypaert M, Warren G. The bilobe structure of Trypanosoma brucei contains a MORN-repeat protein. (2009) Mol Biochem Parasitol 167(2):95-103.