Defining tissue repair in inner ear sensory epithelia

Jonathan Gale (primary)
UCL Ear Institute
Yanlan Mao (secondary)
MRC Laboratory for Molecular and Cell Biology


How the inner ear responds to tissue loss after trauma and wounding (e.g by loud noise exposure) is of considerable clinical interest. Slow or defective wound closure increases the risks of additional damage due to the mixing of the inner ear fluids. The aim of this project is to quantitatively understand how cytoskeletal machineries organize in space and time to regulate tissue repair in the inner ear.

This will be achieved by developing an in silico model of the inner ear epithelium, integrating molecular biochemistry, structure and mechanics. The model will be used to interpret and direct mechanical experiments on the sensory epithelia, combining gene-expression techniques, live imaging and automated image analysis. Together, these approaches will determine how actomyosin structures dynamically reorganize to control tissue-scale mechanics during sensory epithelial wound healing.


1. Recapitulation of morphogenetic cell shape changes enables wound re-epithelialisation. W Razzell, W Wood, P Martin. Development. 2014 vol. 141 (9) pp. 1814-1820.

2. Epithelial repair is a two-stage process driven first by dying cells and then by their neighbours. D Kuipers, A Mehonic, M Kajita, L Peter, Y Fujita, T Duke, G Charras, J Gale. J Cell Sci 2014 127(Pt 6):1229-41.

3. Tissue fluidity promotes epithelial wound healing. R. Tetley, M. Staddon, D. Heller, A. Hoppe, S. Banerjee, Y. Mao. Nat Phys. 2019 15(11):1195-1203).

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
AgeingCell BiologyNeurobiology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBiophysicsImage ProcessingMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologySimulation / Modelling