NPF-Funded Research

Keratins As Regulators of Inflammation and Development of Psoriasis

Erez Cohen, Ph.D

Principal Investigator: Erez Cohen, Ph.D.
University of Michigan

Grant Mechanism: Early Career Research Grant
Funding Amount: $50,000
Project Start Date: September 1, 2022
Project End Date: August 31, 2023
Status: Active
Keywords: Psoriasis, Basic Science, Cell Biology, Immunology

Project Summary:

The skin is the largest and most exposed barrier between our body and the outside world. Cells of the skin constantly respond to potentially harmful stimuli including pathogens, injuries, or environmental insults such as UV radiation. Precise regulation of the skin’s response to insults is critical, and over-reaction can trigger excessive immune inflammation, which can then persist as occurs in psoriasis. Thus, investigating the proteins that regulate skin inflammation can identify new targets for intervention in the onset and development of psoriatic diseases. The project aims are to elucidate the role of Keratin-16 (K16), a stress-responsive protein associated with psoriasis, in inflammation and identify genetic and therapeutic interventions focused on K16 function. K16 has been used as a clinical marker of psoriasis, yet little is known about K16’s function in the setting of this disorder. Importantly, recent studies uncovered a role for keratins in regulating cellular signaling, such as K16’s role in regulating redox balance and recruitment of immune cells. Understanding the role of K16 during inflammation will thus advance our knowledge of psoriasis development and provide new targets for therapeutic intervention.

This grant was supported by the Sue Shoenberg Endowment for Early Career Research.

Researcher Profile:

Dr. Erez Cohen completed undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, then moved to the U.S. to obtain a Ph.D. at Duke University. Dr. Cohen accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan to pursue his research interest, understanding how cells respond to stress and injury. Dr. Cohen is mentored by Pierre A. Coulombe, Ph.D., the G. Carl Huber Professor and Chair, Cell and Developmental Biology.

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