Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Our lab studies skin stem cells to understand mechanisms of tissue regeneration and carcinogenesis. We have a longstanding interest in the mechanisms of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling in the hair follicle and n the pathogenesis of the most common human tumor, basal cell carcinoma (BCCs) of the skin. We have provided clinical evidence for the first hedgehog pathway inhibitor and are developing novel targets for next generation inhibitors that target the transcription factor Gli. We are studying the mechanisms of tumor evolution and the development of chemoresistance to targeted agents in both patients and mouse models using genomics and bioinformatic methods followed by functional validation.
We are also interested in the mechanisms of human skin development and early ectodermal differentiation and have developed in vitro human skin differentiation from embryonic stem cells. Using this system, we are exploring how early ectoderm commits to stratified epithelium. We have used our system, in collaboration with other labs at Stanford, to manufacture corrected human epidermal sheets from patient-specific iPS cells.