Dr Charlotte Illsley

Dr Charlotte Illsley

Lecturer in Integrated Dental Science

Peninsula Dental School (Faculty of Health)



Charlotte is employed at the University of Plymouth as a lecturer in Integrated Dental Science. Teaching Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and Dental Therapy & Hygiene (BDTH) years 1 and 2, Charlotte focuses on the physiology and molecular biology that underpins dentistry.  Charlotte is the Professional Development module co-lead and the schools Student Feedback co-lead. 

Originally graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences, Charlotte started her PhD in Dr Bing Hu's research group in 2017 and has been investigating various proteins involved in cell fate and differentiation in healthy human skin and cancer. Charlotte's research currently focuses on the mechanisms involved in epidermal stratification and differentiation and investigating how these might be involved in the initiation and progression of skin cancer, while exploring how some of these proteins could be manipulated to form novel cancer therapies. Alongside this, Charlotte is currently exploring some of the mechanisms involved in the metastasis of oral cancers.

August 2022 - Present 

Lecturer in Integrated Dental Science

May 2021 - July 2022 

Research Fellow 

October 2017 - April 2021

Research Associate in Stem Cell and Cancer Biology


2023, PhD The Role of Tau in Epidermal Stratification and Differentiation and its Implications in Skin Cancer, University of Plymouth, UK 

2016, Bachelor of Science (Hons) Biological Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, UK

Professional membership

  • International Association of Dental Research
  • British Society for Oral and Dental Research
  • Association of Science Educators in Dentistry 



Teaching interests

Charlotte is co-lead for the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and Bachelor of Dental Therapy & Hygiene (BDTH) Professional Development (PD) modules. She currently teaches years 1 and 2 BDS and BDTH students at Plymouth and is an academic tutor for year 1 BDS students. Charlotte is also co-lead for student feedback in Peninsula Dental School. 

Her teaching interests are:

  • Molecular biology
  • Physiology
  • Stem cell maintenance and differentiation
  • Cell signalling
  • Tissue engineering for regeneration and disease
  • Cancer 
  • Regenerative Medicine



Research interests

(1) Skin and squamous cell carcinoma 

Investigating mechanisms and key proteins involved in epidermal stratification and differentiation.

Investigating novel molecular mechanisms involved in the initiation and progression of non-melanoma skin cancer and potential therapies.

(2) Tissue engineering and 3D bio-printing 

Using a pneumatic micro-extrusion 3D bio-printer to test different bio-materials and develop 3D skin and oral mucosal models to help reduce and replace animal models in research. 

Working alongside industry partners in Cornwall, as part of an ERDF grant, the skin models were used to test novel skin care ingredients. This research was broadcast by BBC spotlight and covered by other local news. You can read the article published by the University of Plymouth using the link below:



Other research


Gao, Y., Kok, WL., Sharma, V., Illsley, C.S., Hanks, S., Tredwin, C., Hu, B. SARS-CoV-2 infection causes periodontal fibrotic pathogenesis through deregulating mitochondrial beta-oxidation. Cell Death Discovery, 2023. doi:10.1038/s41420-023-01474-2

Walker, J.V., Zhuang, H., Singer, D., Illsley, C.S., Kok, W.L., Sivaraj, K.K., Gao, Y., Bolton, C., Liu, Y., Zhao, M., Grayson, P.R.C., Wang, S., Karbanová, J., Lee, T., Ardu, S., Lai, Q., Liu, J., Kassem, M., Chen, S., Yang, K., Bai, Y., Tredwin, C., Zambon, A.C., Corbeil, D., Adams, R., Abdallah, B.M., Hu, B. (2019). Transit amplifying cells coordinate mouse incisor mesenchymal stem cell activation. Nature Communications,10:3596. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11611-0.

Denes, B.J., Bolton, C., Illsley, C. S., Kok, W., Walker, J.V., Poetsch, A., Tredwin, C., Kiliaridis, S., Hu, B.(2019). Notch signalling coordinates periodontal ligament maturation through regulating Lamin A. Journal of Dental Research. doi:10.1177/0022034519871448.



Other academic activities

Conferences attended

PER-IADR Oral Health Research Congress 2022, Marseille 

ASEiD Symposium 2022, Plymouth

Annual Postgraduate Research Event University of Plymouth Faculty of Health 2022, Plymouth

BSODR 2019, Leeds

Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula Cancer Research Symposium 2019, Truro

Annual Research Event University of Plymouth Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry 2018, Plymouth (Best oral presentation prize winner)

IADR 2018, London

BSODR 2017, Plymouth

Related articles on the University website