Another Productive Year in the Falsetta Lab
By: Megan L. Falsetta (Wood), PhD Assistant Professor
This signature also offers several new targets for therapeutic intervention, including 3 major enzymes families involved in the production of pro-resolving and proinflammatory mediators: cytochrome P450 (CYP450), lipoxygenase (LOX), and cyclooxygenase (COX). NIH PREP student Bianca Flores is investigating CYP450, while undergraduate Biochemistry honors student Sarah Fischer is investigating the LOX and COX pathways. Existing therapies might target these pathways in an “off-label” fashion. The most promising of which, CYP450, could be targeted with vaginal yeast medications (azoles), whether over-the-counter or prescription.
The group also has pilot funding from the Mae Stone Goode Foundation entitled “The Role of Scarring in Vulvar Lichenoid Disease: New Paths to Improving Treatment” to study vulvar lichens sclerosis (vulvar scarring). Lichens sclerosis is a common dermatological condition that can affect any body site. This work has been led by undergraduate Biochemistry student Hawraa Ahmed who found that scarring markers are elevated in lichens sclerosis affected tissues and are inducible in response to endogenous scarring signals, such as transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ). During this pilot, the research team has also established the cell strains and tools necessary to collect the remaining pieces of supporting data for a new R01, likely by the end of this academic year.