Home > Research > Researchers > Richard Mort

Current Postgraduate Research Students

Richard Mort supervises 4 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

View graph of relations

Dr Richard Mort

Senior Lecturer in Cell and Developmental Biology

Richard Mort

Furness Building



PhD supervision

I can offer PhD and MSc by research projects on either melanocytes and melanoma or cell/tissue biosensors. Please contact me for further details. The Mort Lab are looking for self-funded MSc by Research (MRes) students to develop new DNA damage biosensors or to investigate the role of mechanical forces in melanocyte development. MSc Project 1: Developing multicistronic biosensors of proliferation and DNA damage. Help us generate next generation biosensors that allow us to monitor DNA damage status and cell cycle stage using the Fucci 1-3 (fluorescence ubiquitination cell cycle indicator) system in living cells as tools for cancer research. MSc Project 2: Investigating the role of mechanical forces on melanocyte and melanoblast behaviour. Melanoblasts are able to migrate and proliferate extensively as they colonise the expanding epidermis 4 during embryonic development. But how do the physical forces exerted on the tissue influence this behaviour? This project will build tissue and cell stretching devices using Lego5 to investigate the influence of physical forces on melanocyte behaviour. Contact: r.mort@lancaster.ac.uk 1. Sakaue-Sawano A. et al. Visualizing spatiotemporal dynamics of multicellular cell-cycle progression. Cell 132:487-98 (2008). 2. Mort, R. L. et al. Fucci2a: A bicistronic cell cycle reporter that allows Cre mediated tissue specific expression in mice. Cell Cycle 13, (2014). 3. Sakaue-Sawano A. et al. Genetically Encoded Tools for Optical Dissection of the Mammalian Cell Cycle. Mol. Cell 2;68(3):626-640.e5 (2017). 4. Mort, R. L. et al. Reconciling diverse mammalian pigmentation patterns with a fundamental mathematical model. Nat. Commun. 7, (2016). 5. Boulter E. et al. Cyclic uniaxial mechanical stretching of cells using a LEGO® parts-based mechanical stretcher system. J Cell Sci 133 (1): jcs234666, (2020).


Dr. Richard Mort took up his post as Lecturer in Biomedicine at Lancaster University in October 2016. He specialises in imaging based methods to understand development, tissue homoeostasis and disease with a particular interest in the melanocyte lineage.


Lab web pages: http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/mortlab/

Research Interests

Melanocytes and melanoma: Melanocytes are the cells in our skin and hair that produce pigment. Melanoma, a cancer of melanocytes, is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. Its incidence has increased 7-fold in men and 4-fold in women in the last 40-years. The risk of developing melanoma is exacerbated by exposure to UV radiation in sunlight/sunbed lamps. My research is concerned with the early development of the melanocyte lineage and the lineage relationships and behaviour of the adult melanocyte populations and their roles in melanoma.


Biosensors of tissue homoeostasis: Biosensors that mark cell cycle stage allow real time visualisation of cell cycle dynamics in cell culture, during embryonic development and in tissue homoeostasis. Fucci was developed by Prof. Atsushi Miyawaki and Dr. Asako Sakaue-Sawano (RIKEN, Japan) and incorporates genetically encoded probes that highlight G1 and S/G2/M phases of the cell cycle allowing live imaging. In collaboration with Prof. Miyawaki and Dr. Sakaue-Sawano I have developed polycistronic versions of these cell cycle probes allowing the generation of single Cre-inducible mouse strains. The first line developed (R26R-Fucci2a) is now available through the Riken BRC (RBRC06511) and EMMA (EM:08395) mouse repositories.

Research Grants

2019 - NWCR Equipment Round. £50, 000 (with £54, 000 LU Match Funding). Spinning Disc Confocal Microscope for superfast multichannel live imaging. Joint PI's Mort, R, Benedetto, A.

2019 - North West Cancer Research RDF Grant. £15, 030. Investigating the thermosensitivity of cancer cell division dynamics: toward cancer thermotherapies? Joint PI’s: Mort, R, Benedetto, A, Fielding, A.

2018 - Medical Research Council £5,000. Co-develop biomaterials that incorporate polymers that use electricity or light to stimulate the tissue. Joint PI’s: Hardy, J., Wright, K. & Mort, R.

2017 - North West Cancer Research (Project Grant). £251,264 (Grant 4). Development of mouse tail skin as a translational preclinical model for UV exposure and early melanomagenesis. Mort, R.L. and Allinson, S.

2014 - NC3Rs (Pilot Grant). Grant #NC/M001091/1 - £90,000 (Grant 3). EFucci an atlas of proliferation to reduce mouse usage in embryonic proliferation assays. Mort, R.L., Jackson, I.J., McConnell, G., Armit, C. and Baldock, R.

2013 - NC3Rs (Studentship). Grant #NC/K001612/1 - £90,000 (Grant 2). An integrated platform to assay melanoblast and melanoma invasion of epidermis in vitro. Mort, R. L., Jackson, I.J.

2011 - Medical Research Scotland (Project Grant). Grant #436FRG - £148,872 (Grant 1). An integrated multi disciplinary approach to model normal neural crest cell development and the abnormalities that contribute to human birth defects. Mort, R. L., Jackson, I.J. and Painter, K.

Current Teaching

Biol 124 – Hormones and Development

Biol 272 – Cell Biology Techniques (Module Organiser)

Biol 211 Cell Biology

Biol 303 – Cell Cycle and Stem Cells

Biol 461 – Introduction to Molecular Biology

LU Summer School in Biomedicine



View all (41) »

View all (20) »