Disruptions in epidermal differentiation underlie more than 100 genetic skin conditions with varied clinical and histopathological features. Our group is interested in discovering new protein-coding and noncoding regulators of skin homeostasis and establishing their epistatic relationships within key signaling networks.
We also identified previously uncharacterized skin cancer-associated lncRNAs and unannotated transcripts with features of lncRNAs including SCC Misregulated Transcript (SMRT)-2, a Ras-regulated transcript altered in SCC that mediates epidermal homeostasis [Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2018)]. We helped identify the first lncRNAs involved in somatic stem cell differentiation, including the ANCR stem cell lncRNA [Genes & Development (2012)] and the terminal differentiation lncRNA, TINCR [Nature (2013)]. Given the reciprocal relationship between homeostasis and tumorigenesis, discovery of previously unappreciated mechanisms of cancer progression through a deeper understanding of essential homeostatic regulators is another major focus of our lab.