Professor Marcelo N. Rivolta
Professor of Sensory Stem Cell Biology
Room: C226 Alfred Denny building
Brief career history
Deafness is a major public health issue worldwide, with more than 3 million people in the UK alone enduring a moderate to profound hearing loss. The Rivolta laboratory is dedicated to study the biology and behaviour of auditory stem cells (primarily human) and to explore their potential to regenerate the damaged inner ear.
Invited to give numerous seminars, opening and plenary lectures.
In the media
Regenerative therapies for hearing loss: The development and use of human stem cells
Hearing loss has substantial personal, social and economic implications. It is most commonly caused by damage to the sensory hair cells and/or the auditory neurons in the cochlea. One possible therapeutic path would be to use otic progenitors generated in vitro to functionally replace the damaged cells.
Our group has made key advances developing stem cell technologies into a potentially viable therapy. We isolated a population of stem cells from the human fetal cochlea, and we have developed robust protocols to drive otic differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells. We also have established the proof of concept that hESC-derived otic progenitors can repair the damaged cochlea. We demonstrated that transplanted cells can graft into an animal model of auditory neuropathy, and elicit functional recovery as measured by auditory brainstem thresholds.
In an integrative regenerative medicine strategy, we are now exploring the combination of stem cells with cochlear implants, aiming to develop a true bionic implant. This device should conceptually combine stem cells with stimulatory electrodes. For this we are developing animal models of cell transplantation and implantation. On a parallel strategy, we are also using stem cells to develop in vitro platforms that would facilitate drug discovery and analysis.
We have several collaborations with industry and academia, within the UK as well as worldwide. We are part of Otostem, an international consortium with partners in Stanford, Harvard, Geneva, Uppsala, Tübigen and Marseille.
Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules
- Boddy SL, Chen W, Romero-Guevara R, Kottam L, Bellantuono I & Rivolta MN (2012) Inner ear progenitor cells can be generated in vitro from human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells.. Regen Med, 7(6), 757-767.
- Chen W, Jongkamonwiwat N, Abbas L, Eshtan SJ, Johnson SL, Kuhn S, Milo M, Thurlow JK, Andrews PW, Marcotti W, Moore HD & Rivolta MN (2012) Restoration of auditory evoked responses by human ES-cell-derived otic progenitors.. Nature, 490(7419), 278-282. View this article in WRRO
- Chen W, Johnson SL, Marcotti W, Andrews PW, Moore HD & Rivolta MN (2009) Human fetal auditory stem cells can be expanded in vitro and differentiate into functional auditory neurons and hair cell-like cells.. Stem Cells, 27(5), 1196-1204.