Michael Deans, PhD


Lab Website


  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Surgery - Assistant Professor
  • Divisions: Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Academic Office Information

  • Biomedical Polymers Research Bldg
    20 S 2030 E, Room: 390C
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Academic Bio

Dr. Deans has established a research program at the University of Utah to study the developmental processes of cellular morphogenesis and patterning in the primary sensory systems. His goal is to understand the anatomical basis of sensation and the premise that correlating developmental processes with the etiology of sensory handicaps is medically and socially important. His current research is a logical extension of this philosophy and is focused on developmental mechanisms regulated by genes found in both the retina and inner ear. Congenital syndromes such as Usher’s Syndrome, in which affected individuals have both photoreceptor and sensory hair cell deficits, demonstrate the logic behind this approach. In addition, he received graduate level and postdoctoral training in retinal neurobiology and inner ear development at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Deans' research program addresses questions of planar polarity in the developing vestibular maculae, in particular the global patterning of vestibular hair cells about a line of polarity reversal. This is a unique system for questioning planar polarity which is usually assayed in the auditory system, and the approach places an important focus vestibular system development which is largely overlooked. In this experimental context, inner ear development and specifically the establishment of planar polarity is assayed using an array of modern anatomical techniques.

Please see the link below for further details on his laboratory and research efforts:


Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Fellowship Harvard Medical School
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training Harvard University; Division of Medical Sciences
Undergraduate Michigan State University
Microbiology/Molecular Genetics

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Ghimire SR, Ratzan EM, Deans MR (). "A non-autonomous function of the core PCP protein VANGL2 directs peripheral axon turning in the developing cochlea.". Development, 145(12).
  2. Stoller ML, Roman OR, Deans MR (). "Domineering Non-Autonomy in Vangl1; Vangl2 Double Mutants Demonstrates Intercellular PCP Signaling in the Vertebrate Inner Ear". Dev Biol, 437(1), 17-26.
  3. Goodyear R, Lu X, Deans MR, Richardson R (). "A Tectorin-Based Matrix and Planar-Cell-Polarity Genes are Required for Normal Collagen-Fibril Orientation in the Developing Tectorial Membrane". Development, 144(21), 3978-3989.
  4. Cetera M, Leybova L, Woo FW, Deans MR, Devenport D (). "Planar Cell Polarity-Dependent and Independent Functions in the Emergence of Tissue-Scale Hair Follicle Patterns". Dev Biol, 428(2), 126-137.
  5. Duncan JS, Stoller ML, Francl AF, Tissir F, Devenport D, Deans MR (). "Celsr1 Coordinates the Planar Polarity of Vestibular Hair Cells During Inner Ear Development". Dev Biol, 423(2), 126-137.
  6. Cheng H, Burroughs-Garcia J, Birkness JE, Trinidad JC, Deans MR (). Disparate Regulatory Mechanisms Control Fat3 and P75NTR Protein Transport Through a Conserved Kif5-Interaction Domain. PLoS ONE, 11(10), e0165519.
  7. Simmons AB, Merrill MM, Reed JC, Deans MR, Edwards MM, Fuerst PG (). "Defective Angiogenesis and Intraretinal Bleeding in Mouse Models with Disrupted Inner Retinal Lamination". Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 57, 1563-1577.
  8. May-Simera HL, Petralia RS, Montcouquiol M, Wang YX, Szarama KB, Liu Y, Lin W, Deans MR, Pazour GJ, Kelley MW (2015 Feb 1). Ciliary proteins Bbs8 and Ift20 promote planar cell polarity in the cochlea. Development, 142(3), 555-66.
  9. Copley CO, Duncan JS, Liu C, Cheng H, Deans MR (2013 Aug 28). Postnatal refinement of auditory hair cell planar polarity deficits occurs in the absence of Vangl2. J Neurosci, 33(35), 14001-16.
  10. Yin H, Copley CO, Goodrich LV, Deans MR (2012). Comparison of phenotypes between different vangl2 mutants demonstrates dominant effects of the Looptail mutation during hair cell development. PLoS ONE, 7(2), e31988.
  11. Deans MR, Krol A, Abraira VE, Copley CO, Tucker AF, Goodrich LV (2011 Sep 8). Control of neuronal morphology by the atypical cadherin Fat3. Neuron, 71(5), 820-32.
  12. Deans MR, Peterson JM, Wong GW (2010). Mammalian Otolin: a multimeric glycoprotein specific to the inner ear that interacts with otoconial matrix protein Otoconin-90 and Cerebellin-1. PLoS ONE, 5(9), e12765.
  13. Deans MR, Antic D, Suyama K, Scott MP, Axelrod JD, Goodrich LV (2007 Mar 21). Asymmetric distribution of prickle-like 2 reveals an early underlying polarization of vestibular sensory epithelia in the inner ear. J Neurosci, 27(12), 3139-47.
  14. Kosaka T, Deans MR, Paul DL, Kosaka K (2005). Neuronal gap junctions in the mouse main olfactory bulb: morphological analyses on transgenic mice. Neuroscience, 134(3), 757-69.
  15. Volgyi B, Deans MR, Paul DL, Bloomfield SA (2004 Dec 8). Convergence and segregation of the multiple rod pathways in mammalian retina. J Neurosci, 24(49), 11182-92.
  16. Long MA, Deans MR, Paul DL, Connors BW (2002 Dec 15). Rhythmicity without synchrony in the electrically uncoupled inferior olive. J Neurosci, 22(24), 10898-905.
  17. Deans MR, Volgyi B, Goodenough DA, Bloomfield SA, Paul DL (2002 Nov 14). Connexin36 is essential for transmission of rod-mediated visual signals in the mammalian retina. Neuron, 36(4), 703-12.
  18. Landisman CE, Long MA, Beierlein M, Deans MR, Paul DL, Connors BW (2002 Feb 1). Electrical synapses in the thalamic reticular nucleus. J Neurosci, 22(3), 1002-9.
  19. Deans MR, Gibson JR, Sellitto C, Connors BW, Paul DL (2001 Aug 16). Synchronous activity of inhibitory networks in neocortex requires electrical synapses containing connexin36. Neuron, 31(3), 477-85.
  20. Deans MR, Paul DL (2001). Mouse horizontal cells do not express connexin26 or connexin36. Cell Commun Adhes, 8(4-6), 361-6.
  21. White TW, Deans MR, OBrien J, Al-Ubaidi MR, Goodenough DA, Ripps H, Bruzzone R (1999 Jun). Functional characteristics of skate connexin35, a member of the gamma subfamily of connexins expressed in the vertebrate retina. Eur J Neurosci, 11(6), 1883-90.
  22. Duncan JS, Fritzsch B, Houston DW, Ketchum EM, Kersigo J, Deans MR, Elliott KR (). “Topologically correct central projections of tetrapod inner ear afferents require Fzd3”. Sci Rep.


  1. Deans MR (2013 May). A balance of form and function: Planar polarity and development of the vestibular maculae. [Review]. Semin Cell Dev Biol, 24(5), 490-8.


  1. White TW, Deans MR, Kelsell DP, Paul DL (1998 Aug 13). Connexin mutations in deafness [Letter to the editor]. Nature, 394(6694), 630-1.