Project 1. The role of non-coding RNAs in human skin wound healing
The goal of our research is to develop novel RNA-based treatments to improve healing of human skin wounds. The immense economic and social impact of deficient wound healing e.g. chronic ulcers post-surgical wounds care and skin scarring, calls for attention and allocation of resources to understand biological mechanisms underlying wound complications. Due to the complex nature of wounds, efficient targeted approach to enhance healing are essentially lacking today.
The recent discovery of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) as powerful gene regulators provides hope to develop novel RNA-based treatments for a wide variety of diseases. However, the role of ncRNAs in human skin wound healing remains largely unexplored.
The objective of our study is to reveal the role(s) of ncRNAs in skin wound healing and to explore the potential of RNA-based therapy for chronic wounds. We primarily focus on small ncRNAs, i.e. microRNAs (miRNAs) and long-non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and study:
(i) The expression profiles of miRNA/lncRNA in injured human skin;
(ii) The biological function of differentially expressed miRNAs/lncRNAs in wounds;
(iii) The molecular mechanisms mediating the biological functions of wound related miRNAs/lncRNAs;
(iv) The therapeutic potentials of targeting wound related miRNAs.
Our research network is composed of both clinicians and scientists, which allows us to perform ‘Bench-to-Bedside’ research. At present, we are investigating the novel roles of miRNAs and lncRNAs in skin wounds using our unique collection of human wound tissues. In the next step, we aim to translate our basic scientific findings into therapeutic interventions for wound patients.
Project 2. Investigation of the mechanistic links between psoriasis and co-morbidities
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease of the skin. It is a lifelong disease with spontaneous remissions and exacerbations, affecting the patients’ life quality substantially, and there is no cure for it today. Epidemiological studies show that psoriasis patients have increased risks of developing systemic co-morbidities, e.g. obesity, overt diabetes and cardiovascular disease; however, the molecular mechanisms behind these co-morbidities remain unexplored. We have previously demonstrated that miRNAs play important roles in skin inflammation of psoriasis. Here, we study whether miRNA could also be a key mechanistic link between psoriasis and its co-morbidities, using materials from a large biobank of psoriasis patients in Stockholm. This study will further increase our understanding about pathogenesis of psoriasis. It is essential for the effective management of psoriasis and prevention of its related co-morbidities.