Professor Mike Philpott

We are delighted to announce that Professor Mike Philpott (PROFESSOR OF CUTANEOUS BIOLOGY, QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY LONDON) will give a keynote presentation within the "More Human Relevant ALI Models" at ACTC Cambridge.

Professor Philpott obtained a BSc in Marine Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Wales, Bangor in 1986 and his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in 1989.  The title of his thesis was ‘Studies on isolated hair follicles’ from which he published on the in vitro culture and growth of human hair follicles now referred to as the ‘Philpott model’. This paper reported, for the first time, the successful isolation and culture of human hair follicles and showed that hair follicles could be kept alive in the laboratory and continue to produce hair at the same rate as that produced while still in the scalp. The Philpott model has allowed scientists to carry out many experiments previously impossible to investigate the effects of growth regulatory factors on human hair growth.  He continued his research into hair follicle biology at the University of Cambridge from 1989 until 1994. In 1994 he joined Unilever Research, leaving in 1996 to take up a lectureship at Barts and The London SMD.  He was appointed senior lecturer in 1999, Reader in 2003 and Professor of Cutaneous Biology in 2005. He became Centre lead for Cutaneous Research in 2006.

Member British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB), European Society for Investigative Dermatology (ESDR)and European Hair Research Society (EHRS). Honorary Fellow Trichological Society.


Research Summary

We are investigating the role of Gli2 in protecting human keratinocytes from UVB induced apoptosis as well as its role in cell ploidy. We are also investigating the role of Gli2 in the canonical and non canonical Wnt signalling as well as the role of Gli2 in epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). In Basal Cell Carcinoma we are investigating the role of paracrine Hedgehog (HH) signalling between the stroma and epithelium and the role of oncogene induced senescence (OIS). We have made stable Gli1 and Gli2 expressing cell lines as well as PTCH knockdowns (in both N/TERT-1 and NEB-1) keratinocytes and these are being used as in vitro models to investigate the HH pathway in skin cancer and in conjunction with BCC derived stromal cells to develop novel in vitro models of BCC as alternatives to animals. We are also investigating the role of oxidative stress, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) on balding hair follicle senescence and the role of TGF-β. Studies are also being carried out to investigate the role of skin steroid synthesis in both the hair follicle in relation to hair loss and in eczema and psoriasis.

Recent and ongoing research projects:

  1. The role of Gli in human skin cancer
  2. In vitro modelling of skin carcinogenicity and human Basal cell carcinoma
  3. The role of oxidative stress in human hair growth
  4. Steroidogenesis in skin
  5. In vitro modelling of the human eccrine sweat gland