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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

David Kelsell, winner of the CHANEL-CERIES Research Award 2016

Congratulations to Prof David Kelsell, winner of the CHANEL-CERIES Research Award 2016 for his work on skin molecular mechanisms and to the Kelsell Research Group for their recent publication in Nature Communications.


The CHANEL-CERIES Research Award was created in 1996 to support innovative skin research projects and enrich global understanding of healthy skin. Professor Kelsell's project will pave the way for innovative cosmetic research targeting both maintenance and repair of healthy skin. 


Christian Mahe, Senior Vice President Beauty Research and Innovation announced: “We are extremely proud to support our laureate's ground-breaking project and look forward to sharing his future findings."


Professor Kelsell quotes that "the award will allow us to specifically investigate, using molecular and cell biology tools, why the palm and sole skin is much thicker than other parts of the body and how it responds to physical and environmental stress...Receiving this award is truly a personal honour but is also a reflection of the dedicated work of the Kelsell group as a whole and the wonderful research collaborations we have had over the years."


Recent research from the Kelsell group published in Nature Communications gives insight into why are palms and soles are so thick in addition to providing new findings relevant to skin disease and oesophageal cancer.

Dr Thiviyani Maruthappu and Dr Anissa Chikh were studying a protein called iRHOM2 encoded by a gene that the Kelsell group had previously associated with an inherited form of oesophageal cancer associated with thickened palms and soles  called ‘Tylosis’. 



The palm and sole (palmoplantar) epidermis in mammals is uniquely adapted to withstand remarkable physical stress including walking and manual activities. This physical resilience may be due to the internal network or “skeleton” of the cell made up of keratin intermediate filaments.  

They have now identified iRHOM2 as a key regulator of the cytoskeletal stress keratin network. By investigating iRHOM2 knockout mice, they discovered that the mice have very thin paw skin. The study then showed that the iRHOM2-stress keratin interaction was important in determining how the skin cells respond to damage and how the skin heals itself.  The study is funded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and British Heart Foundation.







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