- Experiential Students
- Rotation Sites
Skin development, diseases and cancer. Our laboratory is investigating into the mechanisms of skin development in space and time from stem cells using mouse genetics, biochemical, cellular and molecular approaches. In collaboration with laboratory of Mark Leid, we have discovered that transcriptional regulatory protein Ctip2 regulates key processes during skin formation. The mechanisms of activation of Ctip2 with response to external cues, it’s dynamic role in integrating with multiple other signaling cascades thus allowing formation of an intact and healthy skin are some areas of active research.
We have identified key factors that are essential in maintenance of a balance in skin tissue, lack of which can lead to childhood mortality (e.g. lamelllar or harlequin ichthyosis) or in a milder form can trigger onset of inflammatory skin diseases such as Psoriasis or Atopic dermatitis. The mechanisms of protective skin barrier formation and contribution of skin cells in triggering such immune responses due to a leaky barrier are being investigated. A lipidomics approach for profiling skin lipids and predict disease progression in human atopic dermatitis patients are currently underway in collaboration with faculties at OHSU and OSU.
The mechanisms by which many of these developmental processes are dysregulated in cancer is another research focus. We are studying the cell-cell signaling that are functional within a tumor-microenvironment and contributing to cancer metastasis. We have discovered that nuclear receptor (NR) signaling between skin keratinocytes & melanocytes can contribute to formation of malignant melanomas. The crosstalk of NR signaling with other signaling pathways and their role in mediating metastasis and de-differentiation are being investigated. We have developed multiple pre-clinical models of human diseases such as those exhibiting skin barrier defects (icthyosis), atopic dermatitis, skin pigmentation disorder, and for invasive melanomas. In collaboration with medicinal chemists (Taifo Mahmud, Fred Stevens), we are utilizing these animal models to screen for natural compounds as new drug leads for effective therapeutic intervention.
Dr. Filtz offers a research rotation to students who are interested in learning more about molecular pharmacology. Students will be expected to read the primary research literature to familiarize themselves with background material on projects related to immune system development and abnormalities, or cardiac disease. Students will conduct assays to detect proteins, protein modifications, and protein activities under various conditions. P4 clerkship students must be willing to work a full day in lab. P1, P2 or P3 students will create research schedules with Dr. Filtz based on credits and research demands.
Students are expected to:
Students will present their results at lab meetings and in informal discussions. Interested students need permission from Dr. Filtz prior to registering for this elective. Registration is limited.