University of Aberdeen, Cell and Immunobiology, BSc
The Hair Research Laboratory is dedicated to understanding the biology of the human hair follicle as it relates to the skin and a variety of immunologic and developmental human diseases in general. We know that the hair follicle is metabolically one of the most rapidly proliferating units of the skin. This has significant health implications.
The hair follicle unit has health promoting properties. For example, the cells that are involved in the regeneration of wounded skin are derived from adjacent hair follicles. However, the hair follicle unit can also be involved in the development of skin diseases, including some forms of skin cancer. It is believed that up to one third of basal cell carcinoma skin cancers are due to mutations in stem cells derived from hair follicles. This represents a new understanding of the reliance of the skin on hair follicles as a facilitator for tissue renewal and disease development.
The Hair Research Laboratory investigates a range of hair follicle related issues including:
inflammatory hair loss diseases (alopecia areata, scarring alopecia)
hormone-related hair loss (male pattern baldness)
hair follicle growth and cycling
the role of the hair follicle in cutaneous wound healing and tissue regeneration
hair follicle associated neoplasias including basal cell carcinomas
A key objective of the laboratory is to unlock the links between the immune system and disordered hair growth, and the link between hormones and aging with hair growth. This will teach us much about hormones, growth, and aging in general in the body – three areas that influence normal and diseased human physiology. The hair follicle is an ideal model system for studying the relationships between the dermis and the epidermis, which in turn provides significant insights into epithelial-mesenchyme interactions.