Affiliation: UCSD SOM
Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Chief, Division of Dermatology
Phone: (619)543-5580 ; Lab: (858)642-3504
Richard Gallo received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Chicago
and his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Rochester School of
Following an internship in Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Gallo
Dermatology and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School.
As an Assistant
Professor at Harvard, Dr. Gallo was first to identify the presence of antimicrobial
mammalian skin. In 1999 he joined the faculty of the University of California, San
Diego as an
Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Chief of Dermatology at the VA
Our laboratory is interested in understanding the innate molecular mechanisms of epithelial
defense and repair.
Through a problem-based approach we employ a variety of biochemical, cellular and
molecular techniques to
understand the healing process and protection from infection. Critical discoveries include
finding that the
skin makes natural antibiotic molecules known as Cathelicidins. Cathelicidins are cationic
molecules (Figure 1) that inhibit microbial function by targeting microbial membranes.
interact with host pattern recognition receptors to stimulate cellular immune defense.
expressed in a variety of specific cell types including many epithelia. Gene targeting and
by our laboratory has shown cathelicidins are critical to mammalian immunity and are
associated with human disease.
For example, patients with atopic dermatitis (Figure 2) suppress expression of cathelicidins
and defensins and thus
are more susceptible to skin infections. Likewise, Cnlp knock-out mice are susceptible to
infection by Group A
Streptococcus (Figure 3). Numerous questions remain in this field. What moleculaes and
signal transduction events
contol expression of antimicrobial peptides? What is the function and active domain of
conserved pro-cathelicidin? Are other innate antimicrobials present in skin? Is the
human diseases influenced by antimicrobial peptides? Can antimicrobial peptdies be
Why haven1t bacteria become resistant to gene-enccoded antibiotics?
A related interest of our group is the function of tissue Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). These
molecules act as immune signaling molecules and co-factors in wound repair. Important
growth factors such as
FGF-2 and FGF-7 require the GAG Dermatan sulfate in order of bind and activate their
signaling receptor. Active
questions remain in this field as well. What are the important ligands for
glycosaminoglycans in vivo? How do
glycosaminoglycans influence inflammation in the skin? Current projects include in vitro
and in vivo structure-function
analysis of antimicrobial peptides and GAGs, discovery of new antimicrobials, and analysis
of the regulation of
these molecules in human disease and in gene-therapy trials in animal models.
References From PubMed (NCBI)