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Michael Deans

Michael Deans, PhD

Languages spoken: English

Academic Information

Departments Primary - Surgery , Adjunct - Neurobiology , Adjunct -


Academic Office Information

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

Postdoctoral Fellowship Harvard Medical School
Postdoctoral Fellow
Harvard University; Division of Medical Sciences
Undergraduate Michigan State University

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Duncan JS, Fritzsch B, Houston DW, Ketchum EM, Kersigo J, Deans MR, Elliott KL (2019). Topologically correct central projections of tetrapod inner ear afferents require Fzd3. Sci Rep, 9(1), 10298.
  2. Ghimire SR, Ratzan EM, Deans MR (2018). A non-autonomous function of the core PCP protein VANGL2 directs peripheral axon turning in the developing cochlea. Development, 145(12).
  3. Stoller ML, Roman O Jr, Deans MR (2018). Domineering non-autonomy in Vangl1;Vangl2 double mutants demonstrates intercellular PCP signaling in the vertebrate inner ear. Dev Biol, 437(1), 17-26.
  4. Goodyear RJ, Lu X, Deans MR, Richardson GP (2017). 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.
  5. Cetera M, Leybova L, Woo FW, Deans M, Devenport D (2017). Planar cell polarity-dependent and independent functions in the emergence of tissue-scale hair follicle patterns. Dev Biol, 428(1), 188-203.
  6. Duncan JS, Stoller ML, Francl AF, Tissir F, Devenport D, Deans MR (2017). Celsr1 coordinates the planar polarity of vestibular hair cells during inner ear development. Dev Biol, 423(2), 126-137.
  7. Cheng H, Burroughs-Garcia J, Birkness JE, Trinidad JC, Deans MR (2016). Disparate Regulatory Mechanisms Control Fat3 and P75NTR Protein Transport through a Conserved Kif5-Interaction Domain. PLoS One, 11(10), e0165519.
  8. Simmons AB, Merrill MM, Reed JC, Deans MR, Edwards MM, Fuerst PG (2016). Defective Angiogenesis and Intraretinal Bleeding in Mouse Models With Disrupted Inner Retinal Lamination. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 57(4), 1563-77.
  9. May-Simera HL, Petralia RS, Montcouquiol M, Wang YX, Szarama KB, Liu Y, Lin W, Deans MR, Pazour GJ, Kelley MW (2015). Ciliary proteins Bbs8 and Ift20 promote planar cell polarity in the cochlea. Development, 142(3), 555-66.
  10. Copley CO, Duncan JS, Liu C, Cheng H, Deans MR (2013). Postnatal refinement of auditory hair cell planar polarity deficits occurs in the absence of Vangl2. J Neurosci, 33(35), 14001-16.
  11. 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.
  12. Deans MR, Krol A, Abraira VE, Copley CO, Tucker AF, Goodrich LV (2011). Control of neuronal morphology by the atypical cadherin Fat3. Neuron, 71(5), 820-32.
  13. 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.
  14. Deans MR, Antic D, Suyama K, Scott MP, Axelrod JD, Goodrich LV (2007). 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Volgyi B, Deans MR, Paul DL, Bloomfield SA (2004). Convergence and segregation of the multiple rod pathways in mammalian retina. J Neurosci, 24(49), 11182-92.
  17. Long MA, Deans MR, Paul DL, Connors BW (2002). Rhythmicity without synchrony in the electrically uncoupled inferior olive. J Neurosci, 22(24), 10898-905.
  18. Deans MR, Volgyi B, Goodenough DA, Bloomfield SA, Paul DL (2002). Connexin36 is essential for transmission of rod-mediated visual signals in the mammalian retina. Neuron, 36(4), 703-12.
  19. Landisman CE, Long MA, Beierlein M, Deans MR, Paul DL, Connors BW (2002). Electrical synapses in the thalamic reticular nucleus. J Neurosci, 22(3), 1002-9.
  20. Deans MR, Gibson JR, Sellitto C, Connors BW, Paul DL (2001). Synchronous activity of inhibitory networks in neocortex requires electrical synapses containing connexin36. Neuron, 31(3), 477-85.
  21. Deans MR, Paul DL (2001). Mouse horizontal cells do not express connexin26 or connexin36. Cell Commun Adhes, 8(4-6), 361-6.
  22. White TW, Deans MR, OBrien J, Al-Ubaidi MR, Goodenough DA, Ripps H, Bruzzone R (1999). 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.


  1. Deans MR (2013). 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). Connexin mutations in deafness. [Letter to the editor]. Nature, 394(6694), 630-1.

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