Imperial College London

Dr Charlotte Dean

Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Reader in Lung Development and Disease



+44 (0)20 7594 3174c.dean




110Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





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 detailswebsite:

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.


After post-doctoral studies at NYU and the Sloan-Kettering Institute, Dr Dean returned to the UK and was awarded a British Lung Foundation Fellowship to work on lung development and the parallels with lung disease at MRC Harwell. 

In 2011 Charlotte moved to Imperial College and established her group at the National Heart and Lung Institute. Charlotte's research focuses on harnessing factors that are required to generate the lungs during development as pro-repair treatments that could in future be used to repair damaged lung tissue.

Charlotte is module lead for Genome-based Therapeutics MSc module and Regenerative Medicine BSc module. She is also Senior Welfare Tutor for post-graduate research students in her department. In addition, Charlotte is an associate editor at Thorax and a member of the NC3Rs Partnerships and Impact funding panel. 

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Kim SY, Mongey S, Wang P, 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

Cheong SS, Akram K, Metellan C, 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

Dean C, Taylor B, Rice A, 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

Portas L, Pereira M, Shaheen SO, 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

Akram K, Yates L, Mongey R, 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

Poobalasingam T, Yates LL, Walker SA, 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

Minelli C, Dean CH, Hind M, et al., 2016, Association of Forced Vital Capacity with the Developmental Gene NCOR2, PLOS One, Vol:11, ISSN:1932-6203

Tateossian H, Morse S, Simon MM, 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

Yates LL, Schnatwinkel C, Murdoch JN, et al., 2010, The PCP genes <i>Celsr1</i> and <i>Vangl2</i> are required for normal lung branching morphogenesis, Human Molecular Genetics, Vol:19, ISSN:0964-6906, Pages:2251-2267

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