Oro Lab in the department of Dermatology

Regulation of Epithelial Tissues

The Oro Lab uses epithelial tissue as a model system to study the molecular and cell biological regulation of skin and hair morphogenesis. While it is known that carcinogenesis stems from unregulated epithelial proliferation and invasion, additional information is needed about the mechanistic events controlling these two critical processes. One of the most common malignancies of the skin is Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), which stem from misregulation of the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway. The precise temporal and spatial regulation of Shh target gene induction within the BCC requires interactions with the surrounding stromal environment. We focus on identifying both the tumor cell-intrinsic regulators of Shh signaling and the non-cell autonomous stromal factors that affect tumor function.

We use human and mouse skin as a model system for studying organogenesis, differentiation and regeneration. Murine hair follicles provide an invaluable approach to modeling fundamental processes of regeneration and provide a unique opportunity to define cellular mechanisms by which complex developmental events are modulated and organized by tissue morphogens. Our lab uses human tissue models of disease and mouse models of skin development to study epithelial and mesenchymal interactions during development and regeneration. This includes cell fate decisions, cell migration and differentiation. These model systems are also used to develop next-generation keratinocyte-stem cell therapy for a number of skin diseases.

Our lab routinely uses mouse genetics, human and mouse tissue regeneration and grafting, primary tissue and cell culture, in vivo live imaging, and an array of biochemical and cell biological techniques throughout our studies.

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