Professor Matthew Holley


Emeritus Professor
Department of Biomedical Science
The University of Sheffield
Western Bank
Sheffield S10 2TN
United Kingdom




Brief career history

  • 2001-present: Professor of Sensory Physiology, University of Sheffield
  • 2013-2016: Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • 2006-2012: Head of Department
  • 2000-2001: Reader, Department of Physiology, University of Bristol
  • 1990-2000: Royal Society University Research Fellow, Department of Physiology, University of Bristol
  • 1988-1990: Beit Memorial Research Fellow, Department of Physiology, University of Bristol
  • 1986-1988: Post-doctoral Research Associate (MRC), Department of Physiology, University of Bristol
  • 1985-1986: Brown Junior Research Fellow, The Queen's College, University of Oxford
  • 1984-1985: Royal Society European Exchange Programme Fellow, Department of Cell Biology, University of Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1983: D.Phil - University of Oxford
  • 1982-1984: Brown Junior Research Fellow, The Queen's College, University of Oxford
  • 1979-1982: Postgraduate Research Student, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
  • 1979: BSc.Hons - University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Research interests

I am primarily interested in the development and function of the mammalian inner ear with a focus on potential treatments for hearing loss. I have developed in vitro models for the differentiation of sensory hair cells and sensory nerves and use them in conjunction with microarrays to study gene networks centred on the transcription factor Gata3. I have also explored a model system for cell transplantation into the inner ear in vivo.

Professional activities

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
  • Senate Award for Departmental Leadership in Learning and Teaching
  • Trustee of the Action on Hearing Loss
  • Graham Fraser Memorial Lecturer – Royal Society of Medicine, London, 2010

Editorial positions

  • Tissue & Cell
  • NC3Rs grant panel

Full publications list


Auditory neuroscience Mammalian development and regeneration

My research is focused on potential regeneration of the inner ear via cell transplantation (with Sekiya) and via activation of early developmental mechanisms. The transcription factor gata3 coordinates development of sensory cells, supporting cells and both afferent and efferent nerves. We are using various transgenic mouse lines to target gata3 expression and to explore its function in these different cell types in vivo.

I am also developing conditionally immortal cochlear cell lines carrying a reporter for gata3 that can be used for screening for genes and extrinsic factors that regulate gata3 expression. Gata3 enhances the ability of the transcription factor Atoh1 to generate new hair cells and its re-expression in adult ears could support more efficient therapeutic regeneration.

Figure 1