James G. Rheinwald, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School
Associate Professor, Dermatology, Brigham And Women's Hospital
DF/HCC Program AffiliationCutaneous Oncology and MelanomaHead and Neck Cancer
The Rheinwald lab's research interest is growth regulation, replicative potential, stem character, and tumor suppressor mechanisms in epithelial cells and tissues. Most of our studies have been on the keratinocyte—the cell type that forms stratified squamous epithelia such as the oral, corneal, conjunctival, and exocervical epithelia, and the epidermis, and the mesothelial cell--the cell type that forms the simple lining epithelium that covers the inner surfaces of the body cavities (peritoneal, pleural, and pericardial) and the outer surfaces of all the organs conteined within these cavities. As "comparative cell biologists", we also study other epithelial cell types, including myoepithelial, urothelial, and prostate, tracheobronchial, endocervical, and mammary epithelial cells. Our experimental system is primary cell lines cultured from human tissue specimens. We use retroviral and lentiviral vectors to stably express or knock down the expression of specific oncogenes and other growth regulatory genes in these cells, seeking to understand the molecular basis of complex biological systems and pathologies. Other experimental tools we use include immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, flow cytometry, DNA microarray analysis of gene expression, and PCR. Our current research projects are (1) elucidating the signal pathways responsible for a coupled Laminin 5- and p16INK4A-dependent hypermotility and growth arrest mechanism actived during wound healing and as a tumor suppressor in many epithelia, (2) oxidative stress-related replicative lifespan attenuation in mesothelial cells, and (3) characterizing somatic epithelial cell types derived from human embryonic stem cells in culture.
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