UC Davis Department of Dermatology Research
The UC Davis department of dermatology has expanded its research endeavors significantly in the last several years and research conducted within the department continues to make important contributions to science and medicine. The department expects to further strengthen its research programs with its new faculty additions. The chair of the department, Dr. Fu-Tong Liu, is internationally known for his contributions in the studies of the family of animal lectins, galectins, including the discovery of galectin-3 and -12. He leads the new research emphasis at UC Davis regarding the roles of these proteins in allergic inflammation, skin cancer and wound repair.
Dr. R. Rivkah Isseroff has a long-term interest in the study of skin wound repair. Her group has made important contributions to the mechanism of skin-cell migration, including the effect of the electric field. Her group has recently uncovered the important role of beta-adrenergic receptor in this process. Dr. Yoshikazu Takada was instrumental in discovering beta1 integrins as members of the integrin super family and contributed to the cloning of a number of other integrins. His group has recently demonstrated the important role of integrins as co-receptors for a large number of growth factors and other biological regulators. Their studies have led to the development of novel inhibitors of cell growth and angiogenesis that have the potential to be used for treatment of inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer. Dr. Min Zhao has been leading a group that demonstrated physiological electric signals as a predominant cue guiding cell migration in epithelial wound healing. His group identified some critical signaling and genetic basis for cells to respond to electric signals. His present research focuses on directional migration of epithelial cells to restore the barrier function. Dr. Emanual Maverakis is interested in the studies of T cells in the development of autoimmune diseases.
The Department has succeeded in recruiting Dr. William Murphy, an outstanding investigator and a leading researcher in the fields of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. His research programs that are specifically related to dermatology include the development of novel immunotherapies for treatment of skin cancers and the investigation of the cellular mechanism of graft versus host disease. He will contribute to the development of skin research program by coordinating the interactions and collaborations between the Department and the Cancer Center as well as Stem Cell Program.
The Department has also expanded its clinical research activities. The Clinical Research Unit has 8 participating faculty researchers supported by a clinical research fellow and 5 clinical research coordinators. There are currently over 15 IRB-approved on-going clinical studies that covers a variety of skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, chronic skin wound, aphthous ulcer, and skin cancer.