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Skin Models

The Centre for Cell Biology and Cutaneous Research (CBCR) in the Blizard Institute is a world-leading centre for skin science.  Research within the CBCR ranges from fundamental studies on skin physiology and disease pathogenesis, to clinical and translational dermatology.  Likewise, the faculty include an interdisciplinary mix of scientists, engineers, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons.  Major research themes include the genetic basis of skin disease, skin cancer, epidermal barrier function, hair follicle biology, wound healing, and tissue regeneration. 

The CBCR has a strong emphasis on human-based research and the development of advanced in vitro models of human skin.  Bi-layered human skin equivalents, consisting of both dermal and epidermal components, have been used to uncover essential mechanisms of genetic skin diseases (Prof. Kelsell and Dr. Blaydon), squamous cell carcinoma (Prof. O’Toole and Dr. Caley), epidermal barrier function (Dr. O’Shaughnessy) and ageing (Dr. Bishop).  Prof. Michael Philpott’s group is also a leader in ex-vivo culture methods for human hair follicles and glands, and along with Dr. Adrian Biddle leads the Animal Replacement Centre of Excellence, funded by Animal Free Research UK.  In addition, work with the CREATE Lab aims to establish new biofabrication methods for next-generation skin models, and on-going research in Dr. John Connelly’s group focuses on the development novel bioinks and 3D bioprinted models of human skin.

Beyond underpinning science, the research groups within the CBCR actively collaborate with a number of different pharmaceutical and consumer health companies, and the various skin models have provided powerful experimental platforms for the development of new therapies and healthcare products.