Crick Lecture | Michael Way

Crick Lectures

Crick Lectures are delivered by leading internationally-renowned scientists from the Francis Crick Institute and elsewhere and cover the full spectrum of biomedical research. They aim to be relatively accessible to scientists in all biomedical disciplines, whilst also offering something for the specialist.

The talks are open to scientists from other institutes and universities from across London and beyond. You should have a minimum of graduate-level biological knowledge to attend and fully engage with these talks.Please pre-register if you would like to attend. Find out more

For more information about Crick events and exhibitions for the general public please visit our What’s On pages. 

Title: "Arp2/3 driven actin polymerization: it’s complex"


Michael Way was an undergraduate in the Biophysics Department at King's College, University of London. During his PhD he studied the actin binding properties of gelsolin in the laboratory of Alan Weeds in the structural studies division of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge.

In 1989 he received the Max Perutz Student Prize for his PhD work. He remained in Alan's lab as a postdoc for three years, studying the actin binding properties of alpha-actinin, dystrophin and gelsolin, before moving to Boston for a second three-year postdoc with Paul Matsudaira at the Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

In 1995, he moved back to Europe to start a research group analysing how vaccinia virus hijacks the actin cytoskeleton to enhance its spread in the Cell Biology Programme at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. In 2001, Michael returned to London to head the cell motility group in the London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK (now part of the Francis Crick Institute).

Michael's Cellular Signalling and Cytoskeletal Function group uses a variety of quantitative imaging and biochemical approaches to study how Vaccinia virus takes advantage of its host as a model system to understand signalling networks, cytoplasmic transport, cytoskeletal dynamics and cell migration. Outside the context of vaccinia infection, he also investigates the cellular function of actin related proteins (Arps) and Tes, a tumour suppressor that negatively regulates Mena-dependent cell migration.

Michael has been an editor for the Journal of Cell Science since 2005 and was appointed its editor-in-chief in 2012. He is also on the editorial boards of Cellular Microbiology, Cell Host and Microbe, Developmental Cell, EMBO Journal, EMBO Reports and Small GTPases. He was elected an EMBO member in 2006 and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015. Michael is an honorary Professor at UCL (University College London) as well as King's College London and, since October 2013, has been a Professor of Virology at Imperial College London. In August 2023 Michael was elected as an American Society of Cell Biology fellow.