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Yanlan Mao's picture

LMCB Group Leader, UCL Excellence Fellow, MRC Career Development Fellow
Deputy Director of UCL IPLS

y.mao@ucl.ac.uk
+44 (0)20 7679 7267
LMCB Room 1.04

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Tissue mechanics

Research synopsis

In the Mao lab we are interested in understanding how tissues achieve their correct size, shape and complex three-dimensional architecture, both during normal development, and during regenerative growth.

The genetic and biochemical control of tissue growth and regeneration has been extensively studied over the last century, but it is still unclear how the physical and mechanical properties of cells and tissues contribute to how organs are formed and sculpted. What is clear is that in order to change the three-dimensional architecture of any structure, there must be forces, external and/or internal, acting on the system.

We use an interdisciplinary approach, combining Drosophila genetics, live imaging, automated image analysis, experimental biophysics, engineering and computational modeling, to understand the importance of mechanical forces in controlling tissue growth and regeneration and how these forces in turn influence gene expression and signaling pathways.

Mao lab research image

Mao lab research image

Selected publications

Kirkland NJ, et al (2020). Tissue Mechanics Regulate Mitotic Nuclear Dynamics during Epithelial Development. Current Biology (PMID:32413305)
Guzmán-Herrera A & Mao Y (2019). Polarity during tissue repair, a multiscale problem. Curr Opin Cell Biol (PMID:31514044)
Vicente-Munuera P et al (2019). EpiGraph: an open-source platform to quantify epithelial organization. Bioinformatics (PMID:31544932)
Tetley R, et al (2019). Tissue fluidity promotes epithelial wound healing. Nature Physics. doi.org/10.1038/s41567-019-0618-1
Duda M, et al (2019). Polarization of Myosin II Refines Tissue Material Properties to Buffer Mechanical Stress. Dev Cell,  Jan 28;48(2):245-260.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2018.12.020.
 

About the lab

Funders

Medical Research Council
Wellcome Trust
UCL Excellence Fellowship
European Commission Horizon 2020
Lister Institute
EMBO Young Investigator Programme
L'Oreal UNESCO
Leverhulme Trust
NC3R
 

Research themes

Cytoskeleton and cell cortex
Polarity and cell shape
Signalling pathways
Cell-cell interactions
Physics of biological systems
Tissue growth and morphogenesis
Tissue repair and regeneration
 

Technology

Light microscopy
Electron microscopy
Computational modeling
Super-resolution microscopy
 

People

Robert Tetley (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Nargess Khalilgharibi (Research Associate)
Giulia Paci (Research Associate)
Pablo Vicente Munuera (Research Associate)
Ricardo Barrientos (PhD Student)
Alejandra Guzman-Herrera (PhD student)
James Van Hear (PhD student)
 
 

Collaborators

Franck Pichaud (LMCB, UK)
Jemima Burden (LMCB, UK)
Jose Munoz (UPC Barcelona, Spain)
Guillaume Charras (LCN, UCL, UK)
Ewa Paluch (Cambridge University, UK)
Jason Mercer (Birmingham University, UK)
Buzz Baum (MRC LMB, UK)
Andreas Hoppe (Kingston University, UK)
Konrad Basler (UZH, Switzerland)
Luis Escudero (Seville University, Spain)
Matthieu Piel (Institut Curie, France)