Formation and regeneration of sensory cells in the ear

Professor Andrea Streit , Centre for Craniofacial and Regenerative Biology, King's College London
Dr Clive Long, Boehringer Ingelheim
EARLY START DATE! Join this project from April 2020

project details

The sense of hearing is essential for many aspects of human and animal life including communication, location of predators or prey, as well as general orientation in the environment. In children, hearing is critical for development of speech and cognitive skills, while hearing loss affects employment possibilities and performance, and has recently been recognized as risk factor for dementia. In the ear, specialised cells called hair cells are responsible for sound perception and essential for normal hearing. Hair cells can easily be damaged by drugs, excessive noise or due to genetic mutations and normal ageing. While lower vertebrates like frogs and fish can regenerate hair cells, mammals including humans cannot, leading to permanent hearing defects with serious impact on normal life. This project explores genetic and epigenetic events during hair cell formation with the long-term goal to identify new drug targets to promote their regeneration.

During the project, the student will develop ear organoids from stem cells, use modern molecular and bioinformatic tools to characterise hair cells and the epigenetic changes that accompany their formation, degeneration and potential regeneration. The student will gain multidisciplinary training in stem cell and molecular biology and bioinformatics. S/he will benefit from joining an international and interactive research team at King’s, from networking and training opportunities beyond laboratory skills and from first-hand experience in pharmaceutical industry through a placement at Boehringer Ingelheim.

eligibility and application

Applicants must hold, or be expected to achieve, a first or high upper second-class undergraduate honours degree or equivalent (for example BA, BSc, MSci) or a Masters degree in a relevant subject. This project is funded by a 4-year BBSRC studentship, applicants should ensure they have understood the funding eligibility criteria for these studentships. Unfortunately international students are not eligible for programme funding on this project.

The successful candidate will have a BSc or MSc in biomedical sciences and a strong interest in developmental, stem cell or molecular biology. Previous experience in these areas and basic bioinformatics skills will be of advantage.

For more information regarding the project, please contact Professor Andrea Streit

Your application and supporting documents should be sent in a single email to When applying for iCASE projects the applicant should also include the iCASE Selection Form.


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