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Prof Yanlan Mao
MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology
Prof Yanlan Mao profile picture
  • Professor of Developmental Biophysics
  • Lab for Molecular Cell Bio MRC-UCL
  • Faculty of Life Sciences

2009-2013, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CRUK London Research Institute
2008, PhD in Developmental Biology and Genetics, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology / Cambridge University
2004, BA in Natural Sciences, Cambridge University

2014-2019, MRC Career Development Award
2013-2016, UCL Excellence Fellowship
2009-2012, MRC Biomedical Informatics Fellowship
2009-2013, CRUK Postdoctoral Fellowship
2004-2008, MRC PhD Studentship

Research Summary

Our interests

The control of tissue size and shape is a fundamental problem that remains a remarkable mystery. In our 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. Therefore, to fully understand how a tissue reaches its appropriate size, pattern and architecture, we are not only studying its genetic and biochemical properties, but also its physical and mechanical characteristics, and in particular the interplay between the mechanical cues and the biochemical signaling pathways.

Our approaches

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.

Teaching Summary

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