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Student Research: Signaling Pathway for Sun on the Skin

January 30, 2014

Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology doctoral student Nicholas Bellono was published in an article with Elena Oancea, assistant professor of medical science and Neuroscience Julia Najera '13 Ph.D. on how the skin's response to the sun’s ultraviolet light is more than just a matter of tanning. Upon exposure, cells called melanocytes produce melanin to protect skin from damage. In studies in 2012 and 2013 Elena Oancea, assistant professor of medical science at Brown, and colleagues report a novel signaling pathway that mediates this response. In a new paper published Jan. 27 in the Journal of General Physiology, they propose a model of the molecular pathways of the process. Ultimately they hope the basic discoveries they are making can also prevent disease. “Understanding this pathway might uncover new photoprotection strategies for human skin, thus lowering the incidence of skin cancer,” they wrote in the journal.