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BCM - Baylor College of Medicine

Giving life to possible

DeBakey Awards

Dennis R. Roop, Ph.D.

Molecular & Cellular Biology and Dermatology

2001 Recipient

Winners of the 2001 Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Awards. From left: Joseph S. Coselli, M.D., Susan M. Rosenberg, Ph.D., Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Salih J. Wakil, Ph.D, Lutfi Abu-Elheiga, Ph.D., Dennis R. Roop, Ph.D.

Epidermal stem cells as therapeutic targets

Dr. Roop received the award for his research on epidermal stem cells. The epidermis, which forms the outer layer of the skin, is a constantly self-renewing tissue that provides a fascinating system to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms governing tissue formation and homeostasis. Crucial to these processes are multipotent stem cells, which are located in the basal layer of the epidermis and in hair follicles. These stem cells can generate hair follicles, sebaceous glands and the epidermis, and we have recently identified a key pathway that influences stem cell fate decisions. To further explore pathways involved in stem cell maintenance and commitment to different cell fate lineages, the Roop laboratory has developed mouse model systems that allow focal activation or repression of genes in multipotent stem cells. Using these mouse models, they discovered the molecular and cellular basis of certain skin disorders. Their findings suggest that epidermal stem cells are attractive therapeutic targets for both inherited and acquired skin diseases.

Dr. Roop’s nomination was based on the following publications:

Arin MJ, Longley MA, Wang XJ, Roop DR. Focal activation of a mutant allele defines the role of stem cells in mosaic skin disorders. J Cell Biol. 2001 Feb 5;152(3):645-9.

Cao T, Longley MA, Wang XJ, Roop DR. An inducible mouse model for epidermolysis bullosa simplex: implications for gene therapy. J Cell Biol. 2001 Feb 5;152(3):651-6.

Waikel RL, Kawachi Y, Waikel PA, Wang XJ, Roop DR. Deregulated expression of c-Myc depletes epidermal stem cells. Nat Genet. 2001 Jun;28(2):165-8.