Mechanisms of skin development

Research Area

  • Skin epidermal stratification and differentiation during embryonic development
  • Hair follicle development and patterning


Developing hair follicles in an E14.5 embryo, Credit: Dr. Houda Khatif
Developing hair follicles in an E14.5 embryo, Credit: Dr. Houda Khatif

Our research is focused on studying cell fate decisions during skin development because many skin diseases disrupt tissue homeostasis and recapitulate developmental programs. We use genetic approaches in the mouse to investigate the roles of signaling pathways, cell division and cytoskeletal organizers in in cell fate choices during hair follicle and epidermal development. To address our hypotheses, our lab also utilizes cutting edge techniques of gene editing such as the CRISPR/Cas9 system, transcriptomics, proteomics and organ and cell culture methods.

Around E 12-18 of skin development, the epidermis is transformed from a single-layered simple ectodermal epithelium into a complex stratified barrier before birth. We are studying the roles of cell division and migration during the early steps of epidermal stratification, which we believe are also used in hyperproliferative skin disorders such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Around the same time, the first hair follicles are formed through an interaction between the mesenchyme and overlying skin epithelium, and are precisely spaced and patterned (figure). We are dissecting the signaling hierarchies that determine hair follicle initiation and patterning, which will shed light on our understanding of hair disorders such as hypotrichosis.

Lab website

Group Members

Selected Publications

Tamzalit, F., Tran, D., Jin ,W., Boyko, V., Bazzi, H., Kepecs, A., Kam, L.C., Anderson, K.V., Huse, M. (2020). Centrioles control the capacity, but not the specificity, of cytotoxic T cell killing. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, pii: 201913220. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1913220117

Xiao, C., Nitsche, F. & Bazzi, H. (2018). Visualizing the node and notochordal plate in gastrulating mouse embryos using scanning electron microscopy and whole mount immunofluorescence. J Vis Exp, (141).

Bazzi, H.#, Soroka, E., Alcorn, H., Anderson, K.V.#. (2017). STRIP1, a core component of STRIPAK complexes, is essential for normal mesoderm migration in the mouse embryo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 19;114(51), E10928-E10936. # Co-correspondence.

Insolera, R.*, Bazzi, H.*, Shao, W., Shi, S.H., Anderson, K.V. (2014). Cortical neurogenesis in the absence of centrioles. Nat Neurosci, 17 (11), 1528-35. * Co-authorship.

Bazzi, H. and Anderson K.V. (2014). Acentriolar mitosis activates a p53-dependent apoptosis pathway in the mouse embryo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 111 (15), E1491-500.

Bazzi, H., Demehri, S., Potter, C.S., Barber, A.G., Awgulewitsch, A., Kopan, R. & Christiano, A.M. (2009). Desmoglein 4 is regulated by transcription factors implicated in hair shaft differentiation. Differentiation, 78(5), 292-300.

Bazzi, H., Fantauzzo, K.A., Richardson, G.D., Jahoda, C.A. & Christiano, A.M. (2007). The Wnt inhibitor, Dickkopf 4, is induced by canonical Wnt signaling during ectodermal appendage morphogenesis. Dev Biol, 305(2), 498-507.

Bazzi, H., Fantauzzo, K.A., Richardson, G.D., Jahoda, C.A. & Christiano, A.M. (2007). Transcriptional profiling of developing mouse epidermis reveals novel patterns of coordinated gene expression. Dev Dyn, 236(4), 961-70.

Bazzi, H., Getz, A., Mahoney, M.G., Ishida-Yamamoto, A., Langbein, L., Wahl, J.K. 3rd & Christiano, A.M. (2006). Desmoglein 4 is expressed in highly differentiated keratinocytes and trichocytes in human epidermis and hair follicle. Differentiation, 74(2-3), 129-40.

Kljuic, A., Bazzi, H., Sundberg, J.P., Martinez-Mir, A., O'Shaughnessy, R., Mahoney, M.G., Levy, M., Montagutelli, X., Ahmad, W., Aita, V.M., Gordon, D., Uitto, J., Whiting, D., Ott, J., Fischer, S., Gilliam, T.C., Jahoda, C.A., Morris, R.J., Panteleyev, A.A., Nguyen, V.T. & Christiano, A.M. (2003). Desmoglein 4 in hair follicle differentiation and epidermal adhesion: evidence from inherited hypotrichosis and acquired pemphigus vulgaris. Cell, 113(2), 249-60.

Publications Dr. rer. nat. Hisham Bazzi

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