CANCELLED: GEM Science Work-In-Progress Talk: Izzy Starr

Monday, March 30, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
955 Main St., Room 2220A
Free and Open to the Public
Izzy Starr, PhD Candidate, Gokcumen Lab; Department of Biological Sciences
UB Genome, Environment & Microbiome Community of Excellence; UB College of Arts and Sciences; Office of Research and Educational Development

CANCELLED: Work-In-Progress talk from UB Biological Sciences PhD candidate and 2019-2022 Microsoft Ada Lovelace Fellow, Izzy Starr.

Presentation: "A novel model for psoriasis within an evolutionary medicine framework"

One of the most noticeably unique human traits is our skin: it is thicker, oilier, and less hairy than that of our closest primate relatives. We hypothesize that human-specific use of fire, clothing, agriculture, and other technological buffers have reflexively impacted skin evolution, leading to further expression of these traits. From this, human skin microbiome composition and epidemiology differ most greatly within recent primate evolutionary history. Because we share more than 99% of our genomic sequences with our primate relatives, several studies have shown that the majority of traits underlying human uniqueness have evolved through regulatory rewiring of gene expression, rather than changes in protein structure and function.

Within this evolutionary context, we found that genes showing significant variation in expression in the human skin as compared to non-human great apes are also involved in psoriasis, a genetically and environmentally-linked immune-mediated skin disorder. Our results address a fundamental question in epidemiology: why do genetic variants that confer susceptibility to immune-mediated diseases remain in the population? This study identifies dozens of genes that are associated with skin barrier function as novel targets for downstream analysis, both for investigating functional mechanisms leading to psoriatic phenotypes, as well as understanding primate skin immunity evolution. Collectively, our results build on an evolutionary medicine paradigm, where recent human evolution leads to susceptibility to disease within the context of immune-mediated skin disorders.

These informal talks are part of the GEM Work-in-Progress series held at 4:00 p.m. on the 4th Monday of each month. Talks will take place in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Building, located at 955 Main St. on UB's Downtown Campus. The speaker schedule is available on the GEM website: www.buffalo.edu/gem.

GEM is currently seeking speakers for our Fall 2020- Spring 2021 series! If you would like to present at a GEM Work-in-Progress session, let us know (coe-gem@buffalo.edu) and we will get you onto the schedule.



For more information, contact:

Email: msthomas@buffalo.edu