Dr Charlotte Dean heads the Lung Development and Disease group in the National Heart and Lung Institute (see research page and our external website for details) website: www.lungdevelopmentandrepair.org
The lungs are capable of repair but, in some people lung repair doesn’t happen properly either because of genetic mutations and/or exposure to repeated damaging exposures such as pollution or smoking. There are several common lung diseases where the gas exchange surface of the lungs (alveoli) becomes damaged including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and pneumonia. Also, premature babies often have fewer alveoli than a full-term baby because they have had less time in utero. This can lead to a disease called Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, which can have lifelong effects on breathing and lung health. At the moment there are no treatments available that can slow down the progress of these diseases or prevent them. We wish to identify novel treatments for these diseases.
Regenerative biology now offers real potential to repair or regrow damaged lungs and we are working at the forefront of this exciting field. Our research aims to transform our understanding of alveolar biology and accelerate the discovery of new regenerative medicine treatments.
Lung slices- ‘mini-lungs’ for discovery and drug screening
Many of our research projects use lung slices (also known as precision-cut lung slices, PCLS) to investigate mechanisms of lung injury and repair. These lung slices are in effect ‘mini-lungs’ as they consist of 3-D lung tissue pieces, containing all resident lung cell types in their natural arrangements and ratios.
We have also developed new tools to enable us to investigate lung repair and to screen potential regenerative medicine treatments.
Charlotte Dean undertook her postdoctoral studies in New York with Richard Lang at NYU, and then with Lee Niswander at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, studying the mechanisms of branching morphogenesis in lung and lacrimal gland.
In 2004, Dr Dean returned to the UK to work at MRC Harwell as an independent post-doctoral fellow, continuing studies on lung development and the parallels with lung disease (particularly lung fibrosis and asthma). In 2005 Charlotte was awarded a British Lung Foundation fellowship and became a junior programme leader at MRC Harwell.
Charlotte moved to Imperial College in 2011 and established her group at the National Heart and Lung Institute.
et al., 2021, The Acid Injury and Repair (AIR) model: A new ex vivo tool to understand lung repair, Biomaterials, Vol:267, ISSN:0142-9612
et al., 2020, The planar polarity component Vangl2 is a key regulator of mechanosignaling, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, Vol:8, ISSN:2296-634X
et al., 2020, Mechanism of lung development in the aetiology of adult congenital pulmonary airway malformations, Thorax, Vol:75, ISSN:0040-6376, Pages:1001-1003
et al., 2020, Lung development genes and adult lung function, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol:202, ISSN:1073-449X, Pages:853-865
Dean C, Cheong SS, 2019, On the move: the commander IL-4 leads the cell army in collective migration, American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, Vol:60, ISSN:1044-1549, Pages:377-378
et al., 2019, Live imaging of alveologenesis in precision-cut lung slices reveals dynamic epithelial cell behaviour, Nature Communications, Vol:10, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-16
Henderson DJ, Long DA, Dean CH, 2018, Planar cell polarity in organ formation, Current Opinion in Cell Biology, Vol:55, ISSN:0955-0674, Pages:96-103
Dean CH, Snelgrove RJ, 2018, New rules for club development: new insights into human small airway epithelial club cell ontogeny and function, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol:198, ISSN:1073-449X, Pages:1355-1366
Dean CH, Lloyd CM, 2017, Lung Alveolar Repair: Not All Cells Are Equal, Trends in Molecular Medicine, Vol:23, ISSN:1471-4914, Pages:871-873
et al., 2017, Heterozygous Vangl2 looptail mice reveal novel roles for the planar cell polarity pathway in adult lung homeostasis and repair, Disease Models & Mechanisms, Vol:10, ISSN:1754-8403, Pages:409-423
et al., 2016, Association of Forced Vital Capacity with the Developmental Gene NCOR2, PLOS One, Vol:11, ISSN:1932-6203
et al., 2015, Interactions between the otitis media gene, Fbxo11, and p53 in the mouse embryonic lung, Disease Models & Mechanisms, Vol:8, ISSN:1754-8411, Pages:1531-1542
et al., 2010, The PCP genes Celsr1 and Vangl2 are required for normal lung branching morphogenesis, Human Molecular Genetics, Vol:19, ISSN:0964-6906, Pages:2251-2267