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




Our Research

Our aim is to exploit the parallels between lung development and disease to understand the pathobiology of lung disease and develop novel regenerative/repair strategies to treat them.

1. Wnt/PCP signalling in lung repair

Wnts are a group of proteins called which are known to be important for organ development and for maintaining stem cells, among other roles. Many groups have shown that Wnt proteins are very important for the lungs to grow properly and to function normally in adults. To perform these roles, Wnts can use several different routes (signalling pathways), one of which is called the planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway.

We discovered that the Wnt-PCP pathway is required to maintain healthy adult lungs and is also important for lung tissue repair (Poobalasingam et al. 2017), (Cheong S-S et al. 2020). We are now investigating whether we could harness the Wnt-PCP pathway to promote lung repair.

2. Imaging lung development, injury and repair

We have previously used real-time imaging to enable us to discover details about the role of genes in lung generation, that would not have been possible using 2D/static imaging techniques. We are now using human and mouse precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) along with real-time imaging to:

1) Model lung injury and repair in lung slices, to assess potential novel treatments for repair (Kim S. and Mongey R. et al. 2021).

2)  Image alveolarisation- the mechanism by which the gas-exchanging units of the lungs (alveoli) develop, are poorly understood (Akram K. et al. 2019).

3. Investigating the lung development in Down syndrome- Individuals with Down syndrome frequently suffer from respiratory infections including Pneumonia. We are investigating whether lung development is affected in mouse models of Down syndrome.

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