Basic Science Research

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George Wilcox, PhD, Professor and Goltz Professor representing neurodermatology.

Dr.Wilcox's role in the department research program is to lead the development of neuroderm research. His strengths are that he has had decades of continuous NIH-funded research in neuropharmacology, has had one R21 on peripheral opioid synergy (pas) as well as $200,000 current internal funding for preclinical development of a peripheral opioid analgesic combination. Dr. Wilcox also has access to efficient behavioral and electrophysiological laboratories and new colony of "blue light nociceptor" mice for optogenetic studies of cutaneous pain and analgesia mechanisms. George's challenges include the submission of proteomics and peripheral analgesic papers that have been generated with the neurodermatology team, refunding a R01 with peripheral (skin) components and harmonizing his neuropharmacological mission with the neurodermatological mission.

Marna Ericson, PhD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Ericson's role in the department research program is as an Assistant Professor. She is the director of the Tissue Imaging Research Laboratory within the Department of Dermatology. Her research goal is to develop improved detection methodologies and understand mechanisms of persistence of the re-emerging stealth bacteria pathogen Bartonella spp. Her most recent NIH submission in her research area was scored at the 11th percentile, funding was at the 10th percentile. This grant has been resubmitted and is currently under review. Dr. Ericson is being mentored by George Wilcox, PhD, Professor in Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Neuroscience and Kalpna Gupta, PhD, Professor of Medicine. She also has collaborators outside the University who are leaders in her field as advisors. Dr. Ericson is currently also training a visiting dermatologist from the University of Kufa in Iraq on imaging techniques and he, Dr. Azar Maluki, is working with Dr. Ericson on her projects. Her major challenges are to compete successfully for grant funds to be able to carry out her vision of developing fast, reliable testing methodologies to detect stealth pathogens, generating new "biofilm-busting" strategies to help eradicate pathogens resistant to conventional antibiotic therapy and to determine the role of persistent, undetected Bartonella spp. infection in metastatic melanoma.

Visit this website to make a donation for support of Bartonella research or to learn more about Bartonella henselae.

Javed Mohammed, PhD, newly recruited Assistant Professor

Dr. Mohammed's role in the department research program is as an Assistant Professor and member of the Masonic Cancer Center's Tumor Microenvironment Program. His goal is to develop an independent extramurally funded research program focused on exploring pathways regulating latent TGFbeta activation and targeting them to treat melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. He is being mentored by Dan Kaplan, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Dr. James McCarthy from the Cancer Center and Dr. Dave Masopust from the Immunology Center. Javed's strengths lie in his expertise in TGFbeta biology and role of TGFbeta in skin biology and immunology. His challenges and opportunities include setting-up an independent core laboratory (equipment, personnel, etc.) that can successfully complete proposed experiments and acquire NIH funding (R01).