Elucidating human muscle-nerve crosstalk in health and disease using tissue engineering and systems biology approaches

Yung-Yao Lin (primary)
Blizard Institute
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London
Ivo Lieberam (secondary)
Centre for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine
King’s College London


The contraction of skeletal muscle is induced by neurotransmitter release at neuromuscular junctions (NMJs), where motor neurons innervate myofibers. Studies of NMJ formation/function were mostly confined to mouse models or heterologous 2D primary cell co-cultures. We aim to elucidate mechanisms underlying human muscle-nerve connectivity in health and disease by investigating how muscle-derived factors regulate NMJ homeostasis in human-relevant microphysiological 3D models. We have integrated our well-established expertise in human pluripotent stem cells, CRISPR-based tools, optogenetics, microfabrication and systems biology to overcome current technical challenges. This project will have a significant impact on understanding human muscle-nerve crosstalk, and reducing/replacing research animals.


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5. [Wang lab] G. J. Inman et al., The genomic landscape of cutaneous SCC reveals drivers and a novel azathioprine associated mutational signature. Nat. Commun. 9, 3667 (2018).

Molecules, cells and industrial biotechnology
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BioinformaticsEngineeringGeneticsImage ProcessingMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular Biology