Our Research Our Research Projects MicroRNA targets in Scarring Alopecia Alopecia UK funds invested: £1000 When: March 2019 - October 2019 (Completed) Project Type: Data collection Project Lead: Dr Kehinde Ross Length of Project: 6 months Research Institute: Liverpool John Moores University Conditions of interest: Lichen planopilaris, frontal fibrosing alopecia Funds being used for: Completion of next-generation sequencing to determine overall changes in gene outputs in patient skin samples Research Question: Do small gene products of the microRNA family contribute to disease processes? Justification for the research project: MicroRNAs are small genetic molecules that have emerged as tractable drug targets for a range of complex diseases, from cancer to heart failure. In order to ensure patients with scarring alopecia can benefit from the potential of microRNA-directed therapies, it is crucial to decipher the microRNA alterations associated with the disease, as well as the impact of such changes on inflammation and other biological processes. The data generated will provide novel insights into the underlying mechanisms of scarring alopecia and support larger grant applications for further translational studies designed to benefit patients. Who is leading the project: The study is led by Dr Kehinde Ross, Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry and Cell biology at Liverpool John Moores University. His research focuses on the role of microRNAs and associated pathways in skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, impaired wound healing and alopecia. He also has an interdisciplinary collaboration on the development of lipid and polymer nanocarriers for miRNA-directed therapy for inflammatory diseases. Dr Ross has been studying microRNA expression and function in the skin for over 10 years and is a member of the British Hair and Nail Society, the British Society for Investigative Dermatology, and the RNA Society. The project involves collaboration with computational biologists and world leaders in scarring alopecia and hair biology. He has recently published the results of a study showing that microRNA-184 regulates keratinocyte differentiation.