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Dr John Connelly

John Connelly

Reader in Bioengineering /
(Responsible for CPM grant funding strategy and management of CREATE lab)

Blizard Institute
School of Medicine & Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London
+44 (0)20 7882 7160

ORCiD Google Scholar


skin, 3D bioprinting, mechanobiology, regenerative medicine


My research group focuses on the repair and regeneration of human skin. We develop novel biomaterials and engineered biosystems to model the skin and employ technologies such as micro-fabrication, engineered hydrogels, and 3D bioprinting. This approach has allowed to uncover fundamental mechanisms of tissue homeostasis and wound repair, and a key are of interest is the role of mechanical and biophysical cues in skin regeneration.


Publications of specific relevance to Predictive in vitro Models


Di Cio S, Iskratsch T, Connelly JT and Gautrot JE (2019). Contractile myosin rings and cofilin-mediated actin disassembly orchestrate ECM nanotopography sensing. Elsevier  Biomaterials  vol. 232, 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.119683
Uttagomol J, Ahmad US, Rehman A, Huang Y, Laly AC, Kang A, Soetaert J, Chance R, Teh MT, Connelly JT and Wan H (2019). Evidence for the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein-3 in regulating YAP and Phospho-YAP in keratinocyte responses to mechanical forces. International Journal of Molecular Sciences  vol. 20, (24) 10.3390/ijms20246221
Theocharidis G and Connelly JT (2019). Minor collagens of the skin with not so minor functions. J Anat  vol. 235, (2) 418-429. 10.1111/joa.12584
Almeida FV, Gammon L, Laly AC, Pundel OJ, Bishop CL and Connelly JT (2019). High‐Content Analysis of Cell Migration Dynamics within a Micropatterned Screening Platform. Wiley  Advanced Biosystems  1900011-1900011. 10.1002/adbi.201900011


Ghetti M, Topouzi H, Theocharidis G, Papa V, Williams G, Bondioli E, Cenacchi G, Connelly JT and Higgins CA (2018). Subpopulations of dermal skin fibroblasts secrete distinct extracellular matrix: implications for using skin substitutes in the clinic. Br J Dermatol  vol. 179, (2) 381-393. 10.1111/bjd.16255
Kenny FN, Drymoussi Z, Delaine-Smith R, Kao AP, Laly AC, Knight MM, Philpott MP and Connelly JT (2018). Tissue stiffening promotes keratinocyte proliferation through activation of epidermal growth factor signaling. Journal of Cell Science  vol. 131, (10) 10.1242/jcs.215780
Li D, Sharili AS, Connelly J and Gautrot JE (2018). Highly Stable RNA Capture by Dense Cationic Polymer Brushes for the Design of Cytocompatible, Serum-Stable SiRNA Delivery Vectors. Biomacromolecules  10.1021/acs.biomac.7b01686


Pearce OMT, Delaine-Smith R, Maniati E, Nichols S, Wang J, Böhm S, Rajeeve V, Ullah D, Chakravarty P, Jones RR, Montfort A, Dowe T, Gribben J, Jones JL, Kocher HM, Serody JS, Vincent BG, Connelly J, Brenton JD, Chelala C, Cutillas PR, Lockley M, Bessant C, Knight M and Balkwill FR (2017). Deconstruction of a metastatic tumor microenvironment reveals a common matrix response in human cancers. Cancer Discov  10.1158/2159-8290.CD-17-0284
Di Cio S, Bøggild TML, Connelly J, Sutherland DS and Gautrot JE (2017). Differential integrin expression regulates cell sensing of the matrix nanoscale geometry. Acta Biomaterialia  vol. 50, 280-292. 10.1016/j.actbio.2016.11.069
(2017). Epidermal grafting for wound healing: a review on the harvesting systems, the ultrastructure of the graft and the mechanism of wound healing. Int Wound J  vol. 14, (1) 16-23. 10.1111/iwj.12686


Sharili AS, Kenny FN, Vartiainen MK and Connelly JT (2016). Nuclear actin modulates cell motility via transcriptional regulation of adhesive and cytoskeletal genes. Sci Rep  vol. 6, 33893-33893. 10.1038/srep33893
Kao AP, Connelly JT and Barber AH (2016). 3D nanomechanical evaluations of dermal structures in skin. Journal of The Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials  vol. 57, 14-23. 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2015.11.017
Theocharidis G, Drymoussi Z, Kao AP, Barber AH, Lee DA, Braun KM and Connelly JT (2016). Type VI Collagen Regulates Dermal Matrix Assembly and Fibroblast Motility. J Invest Dermatol  vol. 136, (1) 74-83. 10.1038/JID.2015.352


Almeida FV, Walko G, McMillan JR, McGrath JA, Wiche G, Barber AH and Connelly JT (2015). The cytolinker plectin regulates nuclear mechanotransduction in keratinocytes. J Cell Sci  vol. 128, (24) 4475-4486. 10.1242/jcs.173435
Kenny FN and Connelly JT (2015). Integrin-mediated adhesion and mechano-sensing in cutaneous wound healing. Cell and Tissue Research  vol. 360, (3) 571-582. 10.1007/s00441-014-2064-9
Dalbay MT, Thorpe SD, Connelly JT, Chapple JP and Knight MM (2015). Adipogenic differentiation of hMSCs is mediated by recruitment of IGF-1r onto the primary cilium associated with cilia elongation. Stem Cells  vol. 33, (6) 1952-1961. 10.1002/stem.1975


Costa P, Gautrot JE and Connelly JT (2014). Directing cell migration using micropatterned and dynamically adhesive polymer brushes. Acta Biomater  vol. 10, (6) 2415-2422. 10.1016/j.actbio.2014.01.029
Sharili AS and Connelly JT (2014). Nucleocytoplasmic shuttling: a common theme in mechanotransduction. Biochem Soc Trans  vol. 42, (3) 645-649. 10.1042/BST20130286


McMurray RJ, Wann AKT, Thompson CL, Connelly JT and Knight MM (2013). Surface topography regulates wnt signaling through control of primary cilia structure in mesenchymal stem cells. Sci Rep  vol. 3, 10.1038/srep03545
Tan DW, Jensen KB, Trotter MW, Connelly JT, Broad S and Watt FM (2013). Single-cell gene expression profiling reveals functional heterogeneity of undifferentiated human epidermal cells. Development  vol. 140, (7) 1433-1444. 10.1242/dev.087551
Hosny NA, Song M, Connelly JT, Ameer-Beg S, Knight MM and Wheeler AP (2013). Super-resolution imaging strategies for cell biologists using a spinning disk microscope. Plos One  vol. 8, (10) 10.1371/journal.pone.0074604


Costa P, Almeida FVM and Connelly JT (2012). Biophysical signals controlling cell fate decisions: how do stem cells really feel? Int J Biochem Cell Biol  vol. 44, (12) 2233-2237. 10.1016/j.biocel.2012.09.003
Driskell RR, Juneja VR, Connelly JT, Kretzschmar K, Tan DW-M and Watt FM (2012). Clonal growth of dermal papilla cells in hydrogels reveals intrinsic differences between Sox2-positive and -negative cells in vitro and in vivo. J Invest Dermatol  vol. 132, (4) 1084-1093. 10.1038/jid.2011.428
Connelly JT (2012). Terminal differentiation of human epidermal stem cells on micro-patterned substrates. Methods Mol Biol  vol. 916, 15-22. 10.1007/978-1-61779-980-8_2
Trappmann B, Gautrot JE, Connelly JT, Strange DGT, Li Y, Oyen ML, Cohen Stuart MA, Boehm H, Li B, Vogel V, Spatz JP, Watt FM and Huck WTS (2012). Extracellular-matrix tethering regulates stem-cell fate. Nature Materials  10.1038/nmat3339
Trappmann B, Gautrot JE, Connelly JT, Strange DGT, Li Y, Oyen ML, Cohen Stuart MA, Boehm H, Li B, Vogel V, Spatz JP, Watt FM and Huck WTS (2012). Erratum: Extracellular-matrix tethering regulates stem-cell fate (Nature Materials (2012) 11 (642-649)). Nature Materials  vol. 11, (8) 10.1038/nmat3387
Trappmann B, Gautrot JE, Connelly JT, Strange DGT, Li Y, Oyen ML, Cohen Stuart MA, Boehm H, Li B, Vogel V, Spatz JP, Watt FM and Huck WTS (2012). Extracellular-matrix tethering regulates stem-cell fate. Nature Publishisg Group  Nature Materials  vol. 11, (7) 642-649. 10.1038/nmat3339


Connelly JT, Petrie TA, García AJ and Levenston ME (2011). Fibronectin- and collagen-mimetic ligands regulate bone marrow stromal cell chondrogenesis in three-dimensional hydrogels. Eur Cell Mater  vol. 22, 168-176. 10.22203/ecm.v022a13
Connelly JT, Mishra A, Gautrot JE and Watt FM (2011). Shape-induced terminal differentiation of human epidermal stem cells requires p38 and is regulated by histone acetylation. Plos One  vol. 6, (11) 10.1371/journal.pone.0027259


Connelly JT, Gautrot JE, Trappmann B, Tan DWM, Donati G, Huck WTS and Watt FM (2010). Actin and serum response factor transduce physical cues from the microenvironment to regulate epidermal stem cell fate decisions. Nature Cell Biology  vol. 12, (7) 711-718. 10.1038/ncb2074
Connelly JT, Vanderploeg EJ, Mouw JK, Wilson CG and Levenston ME (2010). Tensile loading modulates bone marrow stromal cell differentiation and the development of engineered fibrocartilage constructs. Tissue Eng Part A  vol. 16, (6) 1913-1923. 10.1089/ten.TEA.2009.0561
Gautrot JE, Trappmann B, Oceguera-Yanez F, Connelly J, He X, Watt FM and Huck WTS (2010). Exploiting the superior protein resistance of polymer brushes to control single cell adhesion and polarisation at the micron scale. Biomaterials  vol. 31, (18) 5030-5041. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.02.066


Connelly JT, García AJ and Levenston ME (2008). Interactions between integrin ligand density and cytoskeletal integrity regulate BMSC chondrogenesis. J Cell Physiol  vol. 217, (1) 145-154. 10.1002/jcp.21484
Connelly JT, Wilson CG and Levenston ME (2008). Characterization of proteoglycan production and processing by chondrocytes and BMSCs in tissue engineered constructs. Osteoarthritis Cartilage  vol. 16, (9) 1092-1100. 10.1016/j.joca.2008.01.004


Mouw JK, Connelly JT, Wilson CG, Michael KE and Levenston ME (2007). Dynamic compression regulates the expression and synthesis of chondrocyte-specific matrix molecules in bone marrow stromal cells. Stem Cells  vol. 25, (3) 655-663. 10.1634/stemcells.2006-0435
Connelly JT, García AJ and Levenston ME (2007). Inhibition of in vitro chondrogenesis in RGD-modified three-dimensional alginate gels. Biomaterials  vol. 28, (6) 1071-1083. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2006.10.006


Connelly JT, Vanderploeg EJ and Levenston ME (2004). The influence of cyclic tension amplitude on chondrocyte matrix synthesis: experimental and finite element analyses. Biorheology  vol. 41, (3-4) 377-387.


Grants of specific relevance to Predictive in vitro Models
Multiscale nuclear mechanobiology within the skin: from biophysical cues to epigenetic effects
Connelly JT and Gavara N
£469,683 Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (01-05-2017 - 30-04-2020)