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College of Pharmacy
School of Basic Pharmaceutical and Toxicological Sciences
Dr. Jean Christopher Chamcheu's Research Interests

The primary goals of Dr. Chamcheu’s Molecular Dermatology and Experimental Therapeutics (MODET) Laboratory are; 

  1. Identifying the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying human skin diseases including skin cancers, leading to better understanding of their inheritance, chronic inflammatory, inherited, stress-induced or hyperproliferative aspects as well as new insights into skin homeostasis; and 
  2. Discovery, development, and testing of novel natural and synthetic scaffold entities and their analogs for use to control and prevent cutaneous diseases, and determining the molecular mechanism(s) of their actions. 

The MODET Laboratory, housed at the ULM School of Pharmacy-Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences programs, directs interdisciplinary research that applies tissue engineering, biomedical sciences and modern molecular medicine approaches to elucidate fundamental questions in human dermatology, health and disease conditions. Specific areas of focus are keratin genodermatoses including epidermolysis bullosa (EBS) and epidermolytic ichthyosis (EI), pachyonychia congenita (PC) psoriasis, dermatitis, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. We are also actively involved in chemoprevention and therapeutics, with emphasis on translational research that explores the utility of natural product-derived extracts/leads and their bioactive phytochemicals while also establishing the molecular basis of dermatological diseases to seek solutions to health conditions and preventions that will improve these disease patients’ quality of life. 

Our programsemploy molecular genetics, biochemical pharmacology, structural/molecular biology and other cutting-edge technologies in conjunction with human skin tissue bioengineering and preclinical models to delineate the molecular basis of diseases.  In our published work, we have identified specific target pathways involved in the pathophysiology of skin disease and have demonstrated the therapeutic effects of multiple potential nutraceuticals and natural products on those target pathways. Besides establishing novel predictive biomarkers, we are also developing novel two-dimensional (2D) and 3D-tissue bio-engineered cultures, using patients and healthy donors-derived skin cells, as models not only for normal human skin but also for diverse skin diseases including; melanoma, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), psoriasis, dermatitis, EBS and EI. These models utilize human cells and have distinct advantages over rodent skin models that differ in important ways from human skin. Our laboratory also employs and generates pre-clinical in-vivo murine models of the diseases, as well as the discovery and development of bioactive dietary phytochemicals to validate their preclinical therapeutic proof–of-concept and use them as potential future novel interventions. To date, some of the biomarker discovery studies have elucidated the role of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR, Rho/Rac, GTPases, caspase-14 and other molecular targets in inherited, stress-induced and chronic inflammatory skin conditions and skin cancers.

Through collaboration with natural product, medicinal, and synthetic chemists, as well as pharmaceutics, pharmacology, and pharmaceutical industry research partners, we also vested in the investigation and discovery of novel and potent anticancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative small-molecules that are abundantly found in natural plants, fruits and vegetables as well as the development of analogs with enhanced bioavailability, and biochemical stability. These collaborative programs aim to modulate normal and pathological tissue regeneration via tissue elasticity and bio-engineering while adapting these and other cutting-edge technologies to conduct translational research. These programs are also geared towards delineating disease pathophysiology as well as optimizing and developing natural products for the management of skin diseases such as EBS, EI, chronic inflammation and other non-melanoma skin cancers. 

Few specific projects at present include: 

  1. The mechanistic effects of "nutraceuticals" such as cannabinoids, curcumin, delphinidin, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fisetin,  resveratrol, vitamin D, and other dietary ingredients from pigmented fruits and vegetable as chemoprevention/therapeutic agents against chronic inflammatory skin diseases (psoriasis, acne, atopic dermatitis), melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers including BCC and SCC, and inherited skin fragility diseases, EBS and EI. 
  2. Targeting skin cancers with delphinidin, fisetin, and tropical rain forest-derived natural products such as graviola (Annona muricata) and its constituent ingredients as novel anticancer and anti-inflammatory agents. 
  3. Employing nanotechnology and nanomedicine approaches for targeted co/delivery of identified promising therapeutic drugs for use in chemoprevention and chemotherapy. 

Funding: Current research in the MODET Laboratory is supported by a ULM School of Pharmacy Startup Funding. Other ongoing projects include a University of Wisconsin-Madison Skin Disease Research Center (SDRC) Pilot and Feasibility Research Grant Award, and a Carson Research Scholar Award in Psoriasis from the American Skin Association (ASA). Previous support to the PI of MODET included an NIH/NIAMS R01 grant with 80% effort as co-investigator. 

Training: Undergraduate, professional and graduate students as well as visiting fellows are encouraged to directly contact the MODET Laboratory to discuss research projects and training opportunities. Graduate candidates with training in medicine, biomedical and health sciences, pharmacy, biological and engineering sciences should also contact us for training possibility. 

Collaborations: We currently collaborate with investigators within the University of Louisiana System Universities, the ULM School of Pharmacy, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Arizona State University, and currently negotiating collaborations with potential Pharmaceuticals industry partners. The MODET Laboratory is open for collaboration and partnership with interested academic and industrial partners, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss potential future joint collaborative opportunities.

Contact Information

Dr. Jean Christopher Chamcheu Jean Christopher Chamcheu, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Bienville 362
School of Basic Pharmaceutical & Toxicological Sciences
College of Pharmacy
University of Louisiana Monroe
Monroe, LA
Phone: 318-342-6820
Email: chamcheu@ulm.edu