Laboratory of Epidermal Biology
Interticated role of epidermal barrier function and immune system in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis; Head: Associate Prof. Sandrine Dubrac, PhD, PI
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronically relapsing inflammatory skin disease with a high prevalence worldwide (affecting 1-36% of children and up to 20% of adults) that imposes a huge socioeconomic burden. The quality of life of AD patients is seriously impacted because of itching and scratching, which, in severe cases, can cause sleep deprivation, food limitation, pain, bleeding in children, and depression in adults. Importantly, AD is the initial step in the so-called ‘atopic march', where an average of 40% of children with AD goes on to develop asthma and/or allergic rhinitis later in life. AD is a complex disease whose full pathogenesis has not yet been elucidated. However, epidermal barrier impairment is considered the pathologic cornerstone of AD, as it is observed in all AD patients. Moreover, there is a consensus that abnormal epidermal barrier function is the driving force in the development of skin inflammation, which, in turn, further weakens the barrier and perpetuates a vicious pathological cycle.
Our research focuses on understanding cellular and molecular abnormalities leading to or worsening AD. We are exploring pathomechanisms involved in AD pathogenesis, including lipid and energy metabolism, oxidative stress and environmental triggers. A large network of collaborators based in the USA, Australia, and in several European countries participates to our ongoing projects, which connect the lab bench to the patient bed and may pave the way to the discovery of new therapeutical targets.
Team: Petra Pavel, dr.pharm (Hungary), PhD student; Deborah Minzaghi, Msc Pharma (Federal Pharmacist, Switzerland), PhD student; Andreas Elentner, Lab technician