The Department of Dermatology at UWCM has a long established research laboratory that has over the years provided various specialist services to both the University research community and the NHS. These laboratories have been recently refurbished to provide a modern cell and molecular biology research environment together with the more established histopathology, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence (including CLSM), cell culture and electron microscopy (together with the EM Unit). We conduct a wide range of cell and molecular techniques and can offer a modern molecular genetic screening service.
Basic Laboratory Research
Basic research is divided into two main subject areas: understanding the cellular and molecular pathology of cutaneous diseases including genodermatoses and understanding gene regulation during the hair growth cycle. Both of these areas use overlapping techniques to examine gene expression, gene regulation and signal transduction pathways. We are also developing new are more rapid techniques for screening patients with genetic diseases of the skin.
Recent projects have included:
In October 2004, Dr Rebecca M. Porter was appointed as Lecturer in Cell and Molecular Biology. Her work centres on the study of the hair follicle. Click here for more information.
Integrated Research Groups (IRGs)
We are involved with two IRGs (Genomic Approaches to Health and Disease; Repair, Regeneration and Replacement) and actively seeking collaborative projects in these research areas.
Collaborative Research (UWCM)
We offer laboratory based projects that lead to various postgraduate degrees including MSc, MD and PhD. There is a teaching element in all three degrees but they are based to a large extent on laboratory research in the subject areas listed above.
Testing and Screening Services
We screen for gene mutations in a variety of skin disorders as well as conducting specialist histopathology, immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy diagnostics.
Keratin Gene Mutations in various Genodermatoses:
Epidermolysis Bullosa Simplex (EBS)
Cryostat sections of skin are prepared for diagnostic immunofluorescence. This valuable technique is used to diagnose a variety of cutaneous diseases:
We are able to offer a comprehensive service for the preparation and diagnosis of skin specimens at a competitive rate:
Skin tissue is processed and prepared for both transmission and scanning electron microscopy. This service is available as a research tool and diagnostic aid.
Photobiology and Photodermatology:
The photodermatology unit within the Department of Dermatology at the University of Wales College of Medicine and University Hospital of Wales has over fifteen years experience in this specialised field.
We are able to offer a complete diagnostic service for patients presenting with potential light aggravated disorders in our dedicated clinic. The range of photodermatoses and conditions investigated includes:
Monochromator Light Testing:
An important and invaluable component of the service we offer is our ability to carry out monochromator light testing using a xenon arc system, enabling us to distinguish the exact wavelength of UV or visible light responsible for the cutaneous photo-induced reactions.
Conventional patch testing and photo-patch testing is also a routine service available within the Dermatology Department at the University of Wales College of Medicine and University Hospital of Wales.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT):
Topical PDT is a novel, safe and effective treatment for the eradication of non-melanoma skin cancers and pre-cancerous lesions such as Basal Cell Carcinoma, Bowen's Disease and Solar Keratoses. We are able to offer effective treatment to such patients based on topical 5-Aminolaevulinic acid (ALA) as the photosensitizer followed by irradiation with red light centred at 630nm.
This treatment targets the diseased cells and avoids conventional treatments including surgery where multiple, large or cosmetically sensitive lesions are present.
For further information contact:-
Dr Paul E Bowden
Professor Andrew Y Finlay