LE STUDIUM Guest Research Fellow
In residence at
Prof. Francesco Piazza
Studying the fundamentals of macromolecular transport and kinetic processes in skin models
The skin is the largest organ of the human body, both in terms of weight and surface; it is also the most directly exposed to the external environment. The outer surface of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, functions as a barrier. Transport through this cutaneous barrier all the way to the innermost layers of the derma occurs by passive diffusion through a complex environment consisting of a dense, highly structured multi-layer matrix.
For drugs and active molecules that are intended to act locally on certain areas of the skin, transdermal drug delivery is the preferred route, even though for injectable medications there is a risk of pain and infection. Thus, any research that examines the effectiveness of drug transport across the epidermis is useful to the Cosmetosciences program. In addition, the functioning of important drugs, such as anti-aging inhibitors of collagenase and of other matrix remodeling enzymes, is profoundly influenced by the native environment of the enzymes. The epidermis and extracellular matrix are complex, congested and confining environments, which must be properly taken into account in order to obtain quantitative information on the functioning of these molecules.
In collaboration with the group of the host researcher, Professor Piazza, the candidate will establish an ambitious project at the forefront of cosmetology and soft tissue physics. The goal of this project is to use advanced experimental and computational physics techniques to study the kinetics of important skin remodeling enzymes in realistic artificial environments and the diffusion penetration of a range of related anti-aging and protective inhibitors. This proposal is of fundamental relevance to the Cosmetosciences program, and will advance the understanding of how the finely tuned complexity of living media actively regulates the bulk dynamic processes that are at the core of life.