Collaborative Research Unit

Declercq team - Molecular skin biology (VIB)

Co-ordinator
Other information
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Animal cell and molecular biology
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Dermatology not elsewhere classified
    • Cell signalling
  • Engineering and technology
    • Medical biotechnology not elsewhere classified
Description
The skin constitutes the first protective barrier of the organism, protecting it against water loss and external physical, chemical, andbiological insults such as wounding, UVB radiation, and microorganisms. The skin exists of an outer squamous epithelium, the epidermis, and an inner connective tissue, the dermis. The barrier is mainly constituted by the epidermis, which is continuously rejuvenated due to keratinocyte proliferation. Imbalances in the delicate physiological turn-over of proliferatingor differentiating keratinocytes can result in the disturbance of the skin barrier function and are reflected in many skin disorders, such as psoriasis, eczema, etc. In addition, improper removal of damaged cells by the keratinocyte terminal differentiation program can result in cancerous lesions. Our research group tries to understand the role of molecules involved in homeostasis, cell death and inflammation in the skin. Therefore we developed substantial expertise in the field of molecular signal transduction in cell death and inflammation using in vitro and in vivo model systems (about 120 publications in the field of expertise). Currently, we focus on studying the involvement of caspases, RIP kinases and regulators thereof in skin homeostasis and pathology.