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Dr John Connelly

John Connelly

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

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

Publications of specific relevance to Predictive in vitro Models


Laly AC, Sliogeryte K, Pundel OJ, Ross R, Keeling MC, Avisetti D, Waseem A, Gavara N and Connelly JT (2021). The keratin network of intermediate filaments regulates keratinocyte rigidity sensing and nuclear mechanotransduction. Science Advances  vol. 7, (5) 10.1126/sciadv.abd6187


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
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) 215780-215780. 10.1242/jcs.215780


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


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


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


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. Nat Mater  vol. 11, (7) 642-649. 10.1038/nmat3339
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, Gautrot JE, Trappmann B, Tan DW-M, 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. Nat Cell Biol  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


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, 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


Grants of specific relevance to Predictive in vitro Models
PhD studentship: Biophysical effects of Physiogel on human skin equivalents
Connelly JT
£116,000 Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (01-10-2019 - 01-10-2023)
PhD studentship: Development of an immune-responsive human skin model
Connelly JT
Medical Research Council (01-10-2019 - 01-03-2023)
Expert technical support for CREATE Lab pump-priming projects
Connelly JT
£240,000 Barts Charity (01-10-2018 - 30-09-2022)
Understanding the mechnobiology of senescence and ageing
Connelly JT
£134,000 Dunhill Medical Trust (15-04-2019 - 14-06-2021)

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)