Uncovering nanoscale biomarkers for skin regeneration with multiscale synchrotron x-ray mechano-imaging

Dr Himadri S. Gupta (primary)
School of Engineering and Materials Science (SEMS) and Institute of Bioengineering
Faculty of Science and Engineering, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
Dr Emanuel Rognoni (secondary)
Centre for Endocrinology
William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)


Skin is our most important protective barrier that is constantly exposed to injuries. Abnormal skin repair affects over 100-milion people yearly and currently there are no effective therapies to treat fibrotic scarring. Notably, in mammals including humans, neonatal skin regenerates with minimal scarring in contrast to adult skin. We have shown that the repair response of the main skin-cells (fibroblasts) which produce extracellular matrix (ECM) differ in regenerating and scarring wounds [1,2]. Using state-of-the-art mechano-structural imaging, the student will investigate the ECM biophysics determining fibroblast behaviour in regenerating skin, with an unprecedented molecular resolution which will enable new anti-scarring therapies.


1. (ER) Rognoni E et al. Inhibition of β-catenin signalling in dermal fibroblasts enhances hair follicle regeneration during wound healing. Development 2016;143(14):2522–2535.

2. (ER) Rognoni E et al. Fibroblast state switching orchestrates dermal maturation and wound healing. Mol. Syst. Biol. 2018;14(8). doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2019.07.055

3. (HSG) Inamdar SR et al. Proteoglycan degradation mimics static compression by altering the natural gradients in fibrillar organisation in cartilage. Acta Biomater. 2019;97: 437-450

4. (HSG) Li, X et al. Reduction of fibrillar strain-rate sensitivity in steroid-induced osteoporosis linked to changes in mineralized fibrillar nanostructure. Bone. 2020;131:115111 doi:10.1016/j.bone.2019.115111

5. (FP) M. Bailey et al, Viscoelastic properties of biopolymer hydrogels determined by Brillouin spectroscopy: A probe of tissue micromechanics, Sci. Adv. 2020; doi:10.1126/sciadv.abc1937

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
Cell BiologyStructural Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BiophysicsEngineeringImage ProcessingMathematics / StatisticsMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular BiologySimulation / Modelling