The Department of Cell Biology of the Skin – AG Niessen aims at understanding how regulation of cell structure determines the shape and function of epithelial barriers. We ask how regulators of cell architecture integrate with signals that control metabolism, inflammation and growth to control the formation and maintenance of the multilayered epidermal skin barrier and how alterations in these biomechanical networks result in disease.
The Niessen laboratory aims at understanding how adhesion, mechanical and biochemical signals integrate to establish and regenerate stratifying epithelial barriers. The explicit aim is to understand how these signals coordinate cell shape, fate and position within the tissue. We focus on the skin epidermis as this provides a paradigm for spatial separation of differentiation states in distinct compartments.