Angela Christiano is a molecular geneticist recognized for her work in defining the pathogenesis of skin and hair disorders. She is recognized for her contributions in determining the genetic basis of complex dermatologic diseases and conducting functional studies in animal models of these disorders. Her lab?s work led to the recent discovery of new treatment targets for the autoimmune disease, alopecia areata. Christiano was born and raised in Nutley, NJ where her first laboratory experience was as a work-study student at Hoffman-LaRoche as a high school senior. She graduated from Douglass College of Rutgers University with a degree in biology and from Rutgers University in 1991 with a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She was a postdoctoral fellow in dermatology and cutaneous biology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1995. She has been president of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, where she initiated new programs focused on diversity and inclusion. She was recently named the inaugural Advisory Dean for Basic Science Faculty at Columbia University, Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons. Christiano is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Angela Christiano's research program is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control skin and hair follicle homeostasis by studying the manner in which these processes are perturbed in human skin diseases and mouse models. The lab utilizes a classical genetic approach to study inherited skin and hair disorders in humans, by identifying causal genes and their impact on disease. The lab performs functional studies in mice, as well as 3D models of skin diseases that address basic questions relating to skin autoimmunity and inflammation, cell adhesion, basement membrane zone biology, epidermal differentiation and hair growth and cycling, among others. The underlying hypothesis that drives much of the lab's work is that defining the gene(s) responsible for a disease phenotype is the key initial step in understanding disease pathogenesis. The lab's recent work has been focused on defining the genetic basis of the autoimmune disorder, alopecia areata, using GWAS studies, gene expression analyses, single-cell RNAseq, and functional immunology using the C3H/HeJ mouse model which closely mimics the human disease. Their work in alopecia areata has led to development of targeted therapies for this disease, based on defining the underlying immunopathogenesis using genetic approaches.

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Primary Section

Section 42: Medical Physiology and Metabolism

Secondary Section

Section 26: Genetics