Department of Dermatology

Immunology at the Skin Barrier

The skin is structurally divided into the outermost stratum corneum, the epidermis and the dermis.  In the steady state, the epidermis consists of stratified layers of keratinocytes (KCs) and Langerhans cells (LCs), while the dermis is comprised of loosely packed extracellular matrix (ECM) housing fibroblasts, dermal dendritic cells (DCs), macrophages, mast cells (MCs), innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), and peripheral sensory neurons. The partnership between these cells provides a physical and immunological barrier against mechanical, microbial, and chemical assaults.  The faculty at Pitt-Derm is making great strides towards understanding the relationships between these cells in health and in disease.

  • Dr. Kaplan’s lab researches the interactions between immune cells in the cutaneous microenvironment and their relationships to pathogens.
  • Dr. Larregina’s lab investigates the role of neuropeptides in contact and allergic dermatitis.
  • Dr. Mather’s lab is investigating molecular mechanisms promoting  pathogenesis in psoriasis.
  • Dr. Sumpter’s lab is interested in understanding mechanisms mediating mast cell homeostasis and activation in relation to allergic disease.