Weill Cornell Medicine Dermatology laboratory investigation involves basic and translational research activities, with principal areas of investigation including: immunobiology of the skin and its relationship to inflammatory skin disorders, examination of novel cell photoprotectants and anti-inflammatory agents, biological roles of signaling pathways in immune responses, carcinogenesis and pigmentation, the immunobiology of cancer (especially melanoma) and the biology of metastasis.
Our Laboratory Investigators
Richard Granstein, M.D., directs the Weill Cornell Medicine Dermatology Research Laboratory and coordinates major research efforts that involve the study of:
- Immune process regulation within the skin.
- Immunity in the skin regulated by neuropeptides and cytokines (small proteins that communicate important signals from one cell type to another).
- Mechanisms by which ultraviolet radiation alters immune responses in the skin.
- The role of the immune system in host response to cutaneous malignancies.
- Gene therapy approaches to augment host immunity against malignant tumors.
Our laboratory research is also carried out in coordination with the Rockefeller University Laboratory of Investigative Dermatology, under the direction of James Krueger, M.D., Ph.D. Work in this laboratory centers on investigation into the pathophysiology of psoriasis and novel therapeutic approaches for the disorder.
Jonathan Zippin, M.D., Ph.D., is a board-certified scientist and dermatologist with a small clinical practice providing treatment for patients who suffer from UltraViolet (UV) light-induced disease, allergy and skin cancer. He focuses his laboratory investigation on dermal biology - specifically, cAMP signaling. Over the past 15 years, as a Ph.D. student, postdoctoral fellow and young Weill Cornell Medicine Dermatology faculty member, he has worked to establish the role of distinct cAMP microdomains in mammalian cells and human disease. His work has led to the discovery of cAMP microdomains in mitochondria and nuclei, as well as the identification of noncanonical cAMP signaling pathways with regard to neuronal biology, glucose-induced insulin release and cancer. Zippin also developed new reagents and mouse models capable of differentiating the role of distinct cAMP microdomains in mammalian cells. These discoveries led to the development of multiple, patented diagnostic markers for human cancers. Recently, he has focused his efforts on the examination of cAMP microdomains in melanocytes. He routinely uses both cell and mouse models for the study of pigmentation, normal melanocyte biology and skin cancer.
Niroshana Anandasabapathy, M.D., Ph.D., is an investigative physician and scientist formally trained in clinical translation, cancerous biology, immunology and dermatology. Her research program broadly investigates how mechanisms of homeostasis in peripheral tissues such as the skin lead to the tumor-immune escape of cancers. Since 1998, she has studied immune system adaptations that improve tolerance and immunity. Her research includes characterization of the molecular basis for T cell tolerance (identifying and characterizing the GRAIL gene), and study of Dendritic Cell (DC) biology in humans and mice as related to vaccine science, immune surveillance in peripheral tissue and outcomes of cancer immunotherapy tolerance and immunity. Anandasabapathy's studies use native human tissues and cells and relevant preclinical murine models. As a principal investigator for a phase 1 clinical trial bringing Flt3L back into clinical use, she has developed immunotherapy agents and laid the groundwork for subsequent trials coupling Flt3L to DC-targeted immunization in stage 3 melanoma patients. Through these efforts, Anandasabapathy has developed strong ties to basic and translational immunologists and has worked closely with the cancer immunotherapy network (Celldex, IDRI, Sanofi, CITN, etc.).
Elena Piskounova, Ph.D., utilizes clinically relevant models to dissect metabolic and signaling pathways that regulate metastasis. She has developed a unique combination of skills over the last ten years training in a variety of labs. Her undergraduate thesis work concerning chemical properties of amyloid peptide folding used a combination of molecular biology and protein chemistry approaches. This work inspired her to continue her training at Harvard Medical School as a biological and biomedical science Ph.D. candidate. There, she focused on detailing the posttranscriptional regulation of microRNAs with RNA-binding protein Lin28a. Transitioning into translational research, Piskounova explored regulation of melanoma metastasis from the unique angle of metabolic transitions that occur as cells metastasize. Currently, she is focused on determining the metabolic adaptations that cancer cells undergo during metastasis, making new discoveries showing that metastasizing cells experience high levels of oxidative stress in both circulatory and visceral organs, and identifying specific signaling and metabolic pathways used by metastasizing cells to survive in hostile environments and migrate to distant sites. Combining her knowledge of molecular and biochemical approaches with her understanding of metastasis, she aims to find novel metabolic pathways specific to metastasizing cells and ultimately create novel therapeutic opportunities to target metastatic disease and cancer. Piskounova Lab