The research program in my laboratory has its primary focus on characterization of iron-related early cellular events promoting various pathological types of damage to human skin cells either as a result of acute/chronic exposure to oxidizing agents such as ultraviolet A (UVA, 320-400nm) radiation and hydrogen peroxide or as a result of alteration in iron homeostasis observed in a series of iron-related skin disorders such as skin cancer and Psoriasis. The results obtained from these studies provide us with valuable knowledge to design a series of synthetic small molecules with iron chelation and antioxidant properties that may be used as therapeutic tools to prevent the promotion or progression of such disorders.
Current research in my laboratory focuses on:
Design and study of novel ‘light-activated caged-iron chelators’
We have developed a series of novel light-activated ‘caged’ iron chelators that minimize the side effects of prolonged siderophore exposure. These compounds are inactive due to temporary blockade of the iron binding site and only become activated upon exposure to an external light source. Current research involves the evaluation of both photoprotective and therapeutic potential of CICs in both monolayer and organotypic (artificial) three dimensional skin cultures.
Design and study of novel ‘organelle-targeted’ iron sensors/chelators
Recent studies of a range of human disorders as well as cellular studies with environmental oxidizing agents such as UVA have indicated that mitochondrial and lysosomal redox active and chelatable labile iron plays a key role in conferring cellular sensitivity to oxidative damage and the resulting pathologies and cell death. Iron chelators that target specifically the mitochondrial and lysosomal iron could therefore be beneficial both as preventive and therapeutic agents. Current research involves the evaluation of the exact role of subcellular labile iron distribution (or misdistribution) in oxidative injuries and iron-related disorders.