Training Program Details

Training program: Molecular Basis of Skin/Mucosa Pathobiology

This program provides predoctoral and postdoctoral training opportunities for careers as academic scientists and clinician-scientists committed to innovative research on cancer and inflammation of skin, head & neck, and intestinal epithelia with an impact on understanding causes and improving future treatment of muco-cutaneous diseases and providing more effective patient care.
Research Training Program

Why Skin/Mucosa?

The vast majority of human cancers arise in the epithelium. Our training program is centered on interactive pathways in cancer and inflammation that are shared in three epithelial linings: skin, head and neck, and intestine. At the cellular level, all these organs express characteristic intermediate filaments (keratins) specific to each site, and share basic rules of growth, differentiation, death signaling and transcriptional programming that are compromised in cancer. Skin is the most accessible organ of the body, offering opportunities to follow pathological development from the earliest stages.

Dermatology is by nature interdisciplinary, involving multiple cell types (epithelial, stromal, endothelial and immune cells) and multiple treatment approaches (medical, genetic, immunological and surgical). Our program, while based in the Department of Dermatology, gathers mentors from the departments of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Molecular & Medical Genetics, Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Cancer Biology Program. Our mentors offer core research resources and cross-disciplinary tools, including specialized cell culture of keratinocytes and dendritic cells; isolation, separation and molecular profiling of human mucosa/skin tissue; transgenic, knock-in and knock-out mice; and non-invasive real-time imaging of developing cancers and stromal changes.

Features of the program

  • A core of faculty from the OHSU Departments of Dermatology, Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Molecular &Medical Genetics, Molecular Microbiology &Immunology, and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Cancer Biology Program
  • A multidisciplinary team of scientists with international recognition in areas of epithelial, immune and endothelial cellular growth, differentiation and apoptosis
  • Lectures in the graduate program at OHSU related to specific research areas, e.g., developmental models in cancer, techniques, and medical bioinformatics, including a clinical experience segment designed specifically for trainees, research forums for postdoctoral fellows, and classes in grant application writing and career development
  • Translational Topics in Skin/Mucosa Biology joint seminars presented by scientists and residents
  • OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Dermatology, and basic sciences departmental research forums, seminars and journal club options
  • Leading researchers from around the country and the world as visiting scientists
  • Monthly Cutaneous Biology Research Group joint lab meetings and techniques seminars
  • Travel to national or international meetings in skin/mucosa biology