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UCL Ear Institute

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Dr Nicolas Daudet

Dr Nicolas Daudet

Reader in Developmental Neurobiology

The Ear Institute

Faculty of Brain Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2006

Research summary

In birds and cold-blood vertebrates, sensory hair cells of the inner ear spontaneously regenerate following tissue damage, but in mammals this ability has been lost. Why? And could we use regeneration in the human ear to treat certain forms of deafness?

Research in my lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms of sensory hair cell development and regeneration, and the roles of the Notch signalling pathway in these processes. Ongoing projects include the dynamic analysis of Notch activity during hair cell formation and regeneration in the chicken inner ear, and the identification of genes and signalling pathways interacting with Notch signalling during inner ear development.

Education

Universite de Montpellier I
PhD, Neurobiology | 2001

Biography

I believe my first look at a scanning electron microscopy picture of an organ of Corti was the decisive moment of my scientific career… I signed up (almost) straight away for a PhD in the laboratory of Remy Pujol (Montpellier, France), where I studied the mechanisms of hair cell death and tissue repair in the mammalian inner ear. In birds and cold-blood vertebrates, hair cells spontaneously regenerate following tissue damage, but in mammals this ability has been lost. Why? And could we use regeneration in the human ear to treat certain forms of deafness?

At the end of my PhD, the most promising route to hair cell regeneration seemed a backward one: to understand how hair cells form in the first place, during embryonic development, then try to recapitulate this process in the damaged epithelium. So I decided to move into the developmental biology field as a postdoctoral fellow in Julian Lewis’s lab (Cancer Research UK, London) where I investigated the role of Notch signalling in the formation of inner ear sensory epithelia.

In October 2006, I was lucky enough to receive a research fellowship from Deafness Research UK which allowed me to start an independent career at the UCL Ear Institute, an ideal place in terms of scientific environment and research facilities to carry on my projects.

Publications