William Montagna Lecturer
Daniel Kaplan, MD/PhD
University of Pittsburgh
Title: Cutaneous Neurons Modulate Skin Inflammation
Daniel H. Kaplan, MD/PhD is a Professor within the Department of Dermatology and Immunology, University of Pittsburgh (Kaplanlab.pitt.edu; @kaplanlab). His research is dedicated to understanding the mechanisms that underlie skin immunity and the interplay of different immune cells types that reside in the skin. As a graduate student at Washington University, St. Louis he participated in the re-invigoration of the concept of tumor immunosurveillance by observing an increased frequency of skin tumors in immunodeficient mice. During his fellowship/postdoc at Yale University, he developed a number of genetically modified mouse lines with a selective deficiency of Langerhans cells (LC) and showed that these cells have the unexpected capacity to suppress tissue immune responses. As an Assistant and later Associate professor at the University of Minnesota, his lab found that LC and dermal dendritic cells have unique functions in the development of anti-pathogen responses. More recently, his lab has focused on the contribution of non-hematopoetic cells to skin immunity. In particular, they have found that keratinocytes participate in maintaining epidermal residence of both LC and CD8+ resident memory T cells through the transactivation of autocrine TGFβ. This mechanism shapes both skin-resident and circulating memory T cell pools. The lab has also found that TRPV1-expressing neurons in the skin can directly sense and respond to C. albicans and are both necessary and sufficient for the development of cutaneous Type-17 innate immune responses. These neurons not only participate in local innate immunity but also alert adjacent skin sites to potential danger in a process termed “anticipatory immunity”. Current efforts in the lab focus on determining the regulation of KC-mediated TGFβ transactivation, exploring the immune functions other subtypes of cutaneous neurons and mapping-out the precise intracellular networks driving different types of local inflammation.
About the Lectureship:
The William Montagna Lecture is given annually at the SID’s Annual/Virtual Meeting. The award is intended to honor and reward young investigators with primary emphasis given to researchers in skin biology.