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Professor Mike Philpott, B.Sc. D.Phil


Professor of Cutaneous Biology

Telephone: 020 7882 7162


Professor Philpott obtained a BSc in Marine Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Wales, Bangor in 1986 and his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in 1989.  The title of his thesis was ‘Studies on isolated hair follicles’ from which he published on the in vitro culture and growth of human hair follicles now referred to as the ‘Philpott model’. This paper reported, for the first time, the successful isolation and culture of human hair follicles and showed that hair follicles could be kept alive in the laboratory and continue to produce hair at the same rate as that produced while still in the scalp. The Philpott model has allowed scientists to carry out many experiments previously impossible to investigate the effects of growth regulatory factors on human hair growth.  He continued his research into hair follicle biology at the University of Cambridge from 1989 until 1994. In 1994 he joined Unilever Research, leaving in 1996 to take up a lectureship at Barts and The London SMD.  He was appointed senior lecturer in 1999, Reader in 2003 and Professor of Cutaneous Biology in 2005. He became Centre lead for Cutaneous Research in 2006.

Member British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB), European Society for Investigative Dermatology (ESDR)and European Hair Research Society (EHRS). Honorary Fellow Trichological Society.


We are investigating the role of Gli2 in protecting human keratinocytes from UVB induced apoptosis as well as its role in cell ploidy. We are also investigating the role of Gli2 in the canonical and non canonical Wnt signalling as well as the role of Gli2 in epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). In Basal Cell Carcinoma we are investigating the role of paracrine Hedgehog (HH) signalling between the stroma and epithelium and the role of oncogene induced senescence (OIS). We have made stable Gli1 and Gli2 expressing cell lines as well as PTCH knockdowns (in both N/TERT-1 and NEB-1) keratinocytes and these are being used as in vitro models to investigate the HH pathway in skin cancer and in conjunction with BCC derived stromal cells to develop novel in vitro models of BCC as alternatives to animals. We are also investigating the role of oxidative stress, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) on balding hair follicle senescence and the role of TGF-β. Studies are also being carried out to investigate the role of skin steroid synthesis in both the hair follicle in relation to hair loss and in eczema and psoriasis.

Recent and ongoing research projects: 

  • The role of Gli in human skin cancer
  • In vitro modelling of skin carcinogenicity and human Basal cell carcinoma
  • The role of oxidative stress in human hair growth
  • Steroidogenesis in skin
  • In vitro modelling of the human eccrine sweat gland


MBBS : Fundamentals of Medicine, Locomotor and Human development PBL facilitator. Developmental biology lectures.
BDS: Lectures on Cell cycle, epithelium, skin and glands. Epithelium. Skin and Glands microanatomy.
Intercalated B.Med.Sci. and Intercalated BSc Exp Pathology courses. Stem Cells.
Intercalated B.Med.Sci. and B.Sc Basic Medical Science. Project students

Topics for PhD supervision

Hair follicle and skin glands and appendages, Steroid synthesis and function in skin, hair follicles and sebaceous glands, Basal cell carcinoma Gli and Sonic Hedgehog. In vitro models of human skin and in vitro modelling of skin carcinogenesis, alternatives to animal models in skin.


Research Interests:

  • Biology of the hair follicle and sebaceous gland.
  • The role of steroids in skin.
  • Hedgehog signalling in skin cancer.



Rosalind F. Hannen, Anthony E. Michael, Adil Jaulim, Ranjit Bhogal, Jacky M. Burrin, Mike P. Philpott. Steroid Synthesis by Primary Human Keratinocytes; Implications for Skin Disease. Biochem Biophys Res Comm. 2011, 404(1):62-7.

Muy-Teck Teh, Emilios Gemenetzidis, Tracy Chaplin, Bryan D. Young, Adiam W. Bahta, David Sugden and Michael P. Philpott. FOXM1B Promotes Aberrant Cell Survival via Bypass of Cell Cycle Arrest and Induction of Genomic Instability in Human Keratinocytes. Mol Cancer. 2010: 9:45

Graham W Neill, Wesley J Harrison, Mohammed S Ikram, Tomos D Williams, Judith L Green, Lucy Ghali, Anne-Marie Frischauf, Edel O’Toole, Fritz Aberger, Michael P Philpott. GLI1 repression of ERK activity correlates with colony formation and impaired migration in human epidermal keratinocytes. Carcinogenesis. 2008; 29(4):738-46

Kasper M, Schnidar H, Neill GW, Hanneder M, Klingler S, Blaas L, Schmid C, Hauser-Kronberger C, Regl G, Philpott MP, Aberger F.Selective Modulation of Hedgehog/GLI Target Gene Expression by Epidermal Growth Factor Signaling in Human Keratinocytes. Mol Cell Biol. 2006;26(16):6283-98.

Teh M-Y, Wong S-T, Neill GW, Ghali LR, Leigh IM, Philpott MP, Quinn AG. FOXM1 is a downstream target of Gli1 signaling in basal cell carcinoma Cancer Res 62: 4773-4780, 2002.

Philpott MP, Sanders DA, Kealey T. Effects of insulin and insulin-like growth factors on human hair follicles: IGF-I at physiologic concentrations is an important regulator of hair follicle growth in vitro. J Invest Dermatol 102: 857-861, 1994

Philpott MP, Green MR and Kealey T. Human hair growth in vitro. J Cell Sci 97: 463- 471, 1990.


Storey AS, Bergamachi D and Philpott MP. Models of skin cancer. In Cancer Handbook (2007)

Philpott MP. Antimicrobial peptides and acne In Acne and its therapy (eds GF Webster and AV Rawlings) Marcel Dekker Inc NY (2007)

Philpott MP The roles of growth factors in hair follicles: investigations using cultured hair follicles In Hair and its disorders: Biology pathology and management (eds Camacho FM, Randall VA, Price VH) Martin Dunitz, 103-113, 2000

Philpott MP, Sanders DA and Kealey T. Whole human hair follicle culture. In Dermatologic Clinics (ed Stough D and fitzpatrick RE). WB Saunders Press. pp 315-329, 1999

Philpott MP and Paus R. Principles of hair follicle morphogenesis. In Molecular basics of Epithelial Appendage Morphogenesis of the skin (ed C-M Chuong) RG Landes and Co. pp75-110 (1998)

Philpott MP, Sanders DA and Kealey T. Whole human hair follicle culture. In Dermatologic Clinics (ed Whiting DA). WB Saunders Press. pp 595-607, 1997

Kealey T, Philpott MP and Guy R. Human pilosebaceous culture. Methods Mol Biol ;75:101-15, 1997

Kealey T, Guy R and Philpott MP. Regulatory biology of the human pilosebaceous unit. In Baillieres Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology: Hyperandrogenic states and histutism (eds Rosenfield R) 11: pp 205-227, 1997.

Kealey T, Philpott MP, Guy R and Dove N. Skin gland and appendage epithelial cells. In: Handbooks in practical animal cell culture: Epithelial Cell Culture: (ed Harris A). Cambridge University Press. pp 145-175, 1996.

Kealey T and Philpott MP. Human pilosebaceous culture: the background. In: The Keratinocyte Handbook (eds Lane B, Leigh IM and Watt F). Cambridge University Press pp 109-129, 1994.

Philpott MP and Kealey T. Culture of human pilosebaceous units. In: The Keratinocyte Handbook (eds Lane B, Leigh IM and Watt F). Cambridge University Press pp 37-44, 1994.


Philpott M P. In vitro maintenance of isolated hair follicles: current status and future development. Exp Dermatol 1999 (4):317-9.

Sanders DA, Philpott MP and Kealey T. Is the sebaceous gland important for inner root sheath breakdown. Excerpta Medica International Congress Series pp 393-395, 1996

Rudman S, Philpott MP and Kealey T. The role of IGF-I in the hair follicle. Excerpta Medica International Congress Series pp 439, 1996

Philpott MP. Sanders DA and Kealey T. The effects of removing the hair follicle bulb from cultured hair follicles. Excerpta Medica International Congress Series pp 187-189, 1996

Philpott MP, Sanders DA, Westgate GE and Kealey T. Human hair growth in vitro: A model for studying hair follicle biology. J Dermatology 1994

Philpott MP, Westgate GE and Kealey T. The in vitro human hair growth model. Science of hair 6: 3-22, 1992.

Philpott MP, Westgate GE and Kealey T. An in vitro model for the study of human hair growth. Proc NY Acad Sci USA 642: 148-166, 1991.

Kealey T, Philpott MP and Williams R. Metabolic studies on isolated human hair follicles. Proc NY Acad Sci 642: 301-307, 1991.

Kealey T, Philpott MP, Ridden CC, Colletta AA and Williams R. The differentiation of the human pilosebaceous unit: In vitro models. Science of hair 5: 30-45, 1991. REVIEW ARTICLES.

Philpott MP. Keratin. Biological Sciences Review 9: 36-38,1996.

Philpott MP. Hair Growth. Biological Sciences Review 10: 37-39, 1998

View all Mike Philpott's Research Publications at:

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