The main focus of the research group is to understand mechanisms of tissue development, and regeneration, both in normal conditions, and in response to disease or injury. The hair follicle is used as a model, as it is an accessible and elegant system to study organ regeneration. Research into developmental, and regenerative processes means we can try and recreate them in a lab setting, and exploit the inherent properties of interacting cells to engineer new tissues and structures.
Hair follicles contain specialised cells located in a small mesenchymal compartment at the base of the follicle, termed the dermal papilla. Interaction between the dermal papilla and the bulge (the epithelial stem cell compartment of the follicle), drives the hair follicle cycle. Work in the lab encompasses understanding how these cells acquire their specialised ability to instruct hair growth, in addition to elucidating the role of these cells in response to traumatic injury, and their behaviour during skin repair.
Claire’s research publications can be found on Google Scholar.
Gill gained her undergraduate Biochemistry degree at the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in hair research. Her cosmetics and personal care industry experience was obtained at Unilever Research in the UK, where she led their scalp and hair biology research programme for many years. During this time, Gill developed in vitro models that provided both fundamental understanding of the regulation of hair growth as well as scientific claims support for several global hair-care brands.
Gill has an established Consultancy business, combining her experience and knowledge of skin and hair science with the needs of R&D in Industry. She is a past President of the European Hair Research Society and a member of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists. She serves on the organising committees for UK and international conferences and is well known in the skin and hair research field.
Gill is a co-founder and Chair of Cosmetics Cluster UK (CCUK), a networking organisation for the sector and brings over 30 years’ industry experience, research leadership skills, access to experts, funding, facilities and mentoring. She is currently working within CCUK to improve higher education development for the cosmetics sector to improve employability in the UK. Gills other is golf, which she plays regularly.