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Professor in the Department of Biosciences+44 (0) 191 33 41246
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing+44 (0) 191 33 41246


Research Interests


Understanding how cell-cell interactions regulate skin stem cells

The skin is a dynamic organ in which the outer layers are continually shed and replaced by stem cells. My lab is characterising how the interplay between the epithelia and underlying supporting cells regulates these skin stem cells. We found activation of Notch signalling in the basal epithelial layer dramatically alters the organisation and composition of both the epithelia and the underlying dermis. The Notch signalling network in conjunction with other molecular stimuli directs differentiation and cell lineage choice in skin keratinocytes. We demonstrated that the Notch signalling pathway acts downstream of the WNT/ßcatenin pathway and that the Notch ligand, Jagged1, is a direct target of the WNT/ß-catenin pathway. Additionally we showed that the Notch pathway is essential for hair cell maturation and hair follicles maintenance.

Currently, we are investigating how the Notch signalling network is transmitted in skin cells by looking for expression of Notch pathway genes in the skin and hair follicles. Additionally, my lab is using a combination of proteomic and genomic approaches to investigate how epithelial-mesenchymal interactions regulate skin stem cells in vivo with a view to understanding their role in skin homeostasis and disease. Abnormal Notch activity causes skin phenotypes that are highly akin to a human conditions, tufted hair folliculitis and lichenoid-reaction diseases. The onset of these skin conditions in both mouse skin and in human patients is concurrent with the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the skin. We are investigating the potential role of the Notch signalling pathway in human inflammatory skin diseases.




Chapter in book

Journal Article

Supervision students