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Personal profile

Research interests

The laboratory of Dr. Ryan Hobbs broadly studies how skin keratinocytes respond to mechanical, chemical and environmental stressors at the cellular and molecular levels. The inability to control stress responses is a key feature in all skin disorders. Thus, the lab's research seeks to identify and understand molecular mechanisms that underlie a number of distinct skin disorders including non-melanoma skin cancers, alopecia, vitiligo, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Major efforts are centered around the study of autoimmune regulator (Aire) in skin keratinocytes. Aire is a unique transcriptional regulator that is classically known as a master regulator of autoimmunity, owing to its abundant expression in a subset of medullary thymic epithelial cells and function as a key regulator of negative selection to eliminate self-reactive T-lymphocytes. Previous findings indicate Aire becomes abundantly expressed in skin keratinocytes in response to acute and chronic stressors. Loss of function mutations in Aire are causative for the disease autoimmune-polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy (APECED). These patients often present with many skin abnormalities including hair loss, nail dystrophy, vitiligo, and oral mucocutaneous candidiasis. A central focus of the research program is to elucidate when, where, how and why Aire is expressed and functional in skin.

Teaching and educational interests

Dr. Ryan Hobbs is actively engaged in teaching dermatology residents (Basic Science of Skin Discussion), M1 MD/PhD students (BMS 506B, Biological Basis of Human Health and Disease) and PhD students (BMS 597, Cancer Biology Colloquium; MICRO560, Concepts in Immunology).

Dr. Hobbs also serves as a co-representative of the Department of Dermatology to the College of Medicine's Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University

… → 2017

Life Sciences (Field of Cellular and Molecular Biology), PhD, Northwestern University

… → 2010

Biochemistry, BS, University of Missouri in Columbia

… → 2004

Microbiology, AB, University of Missouri in Columbia

… → 2004


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