BDR researchers coming from diverse research fields are working together to achieve higher goals.

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About Us

About Us

Exploring the scientific foundations of life through interdisciplinary approaches to address society’s problems.

Photo of Team leder, Li-Kun Phng

Team Leader
Li-Kun Phng Ph.D.

Laboratory for Vascular Morphogenesis

LocationKobe / Developmental Biology Buildings


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Cellular mechanisms of blood vessel formation and maintenance

The establishment and maintenance of blood vessels is crucial throughout life. During development, blood vessels supply oxygen and nutrients to meet the demands of growing tissues. In the adult, they sustain the metabolic needs of organs to support homeostasis. Furthermore, new blood vessel formation is essential for tissue regeneration.

Our lab is interested in understanding the fundamental morphogenetic principles of how endothelial cells behave and coordinate with each other and the perivascular environment to generate a well-patterned network of blood vessels. Using the zebrafish as a model system, we seek to understand how endothelial cell shape plasticity is regulated to drive vessel formation and remodelling. We also aim to understand endothelial cell mechanoresponse to haemodynamic forces, in the control of vessel morphology. By unravelling the basic mechanisms of how endothelial cells build blood vessels of specific size and network pattern, we aim provide insights into how vascular malformations arise.

Research Theme

  • How forces regulate endothelial cell shape changes and blood vessel morphogenesis.
  • Mechanisms controlling actomyosin activity in endothelial cells.
  • Molecular regulation of blood vessel lumen formation.

Selected Publications

Kondrychyn I, Kelly DJ, Taberner Carretero N, et al.
Marcksl1 modulates endothelial cell mechanoresponse to haemodynamic forces to control blood vessel shape and size.
Nature Communications 11, 5476 (2020) doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19308-5

Gebala V, Collins R, Geudens I, et al.
Blood flow drives lumen formation by inverse membrane blebbing during angiogenesis in vivo.
Nature Cell Biology 18(4), 443-451 (2016) doi: 10.1038/ncb3320

Phng LK, Gebala V, Bentley K, et al.
Formin-mediated actin polymerization at endothelial junctions is required for vessel lumen formation and stabilization.
Developmental Cell 32, 123-132 (2015) doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2014.11.017

Phng LK, Stanchi F, Gerhardt H.
Filopodia are dispensable for endothelial tip cell guidance.
Development 140, 4031-4040 (2013) doi: 10.1242/dev.097352

Phng LK, Potente M, Leslie J D, et al.
Nrarp coordinates endothelial Notch and Wnt signaling to control vessel density in angiogenesis.
Developmental Cell 16, 70-82 (2009) doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2008.12.009

Hellström M, Phng LK, Hofmann J H, et al.
Dll4 signalling through Notch1 regulates formation of tip cells during angiogenesis.
Nature 445, 776-770 (2007) doi: 10.1038/nature05571



Team LeaderLi-Kun Phng

  • likun.phng(at)riken.jp
    (Please replace [at] with @)
Igor Kondrychyn

Research ScientistIgor Kondrychyn, PhD

  • igor.kondrychyn[at]riken.jp
Yan Chen

Postdoctoral ResearcherYan Chen, PhD

  • yan.chen[at]riken.jp
Haymar Wint

Postdoctoral ResearcherHaymar Wint, PhD

  • haymarwint[at]riken.jp
Guihua Chen

Technical Staff IIGuihua Chen,PhD

  • guihua.chen[at]riken.jp
Jason Andrew Da Silva

Technical Staff ⅠJason Andrew Da Silva

  • jason.dasilva[at]riken.jp
Mingzhao Hu

Junior Research AssociateMingzhao Hu

  • mingzhao.hu[at]riken.jp

AssistantEmi Taniguchi

  • emi.taniguchi[at]riken.jp

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