Area of Research Interest:

• Innovation in skin care- actives, delivery systems, formulation optimization
• Study design (protocols) and execution: in vitro, ex vivo,  (see clinical services)
• Data interpretation
• Translation of data into claims
• Claims substantiation for efficacy (for example: skin aging, inflammation etc.)
• Study of penetration of actives into nails
• Skin deposition and metabolism studies
• Validation studies in variety of cell lines (human fibroblasts and keratinocytes)
• Three dimensional human skin models
• Comparison between topical formulations to enhance efficacy and reduce toxicity
• Topical formulation design
• Ex vivo and in vitro models for safety assessment and efficacy
• In vitro-in vivo correlations
• Toxicological profiles for skin care
• Trouble shooting challenges in skin product development

Research Opportunities
The Center for Dermal Research (CDR) will provide opportunities for research interactions with the Laboratory for Drug Delivery LDD at Rutgers (directed by Prof. Michniak-Kohn) as well as with the research groups of CDR Participating Faculty & Collaborators.

The Michniak LDD research group conducts studies on topical and transdermal as well as buccal compound delivery, skin biology, novel drug carriers and tissue engineering of skin.

The major challenge in skin research is overcoming the natural resistance of the skin to compound permeation particularly for larger molecular weight drugs due to its highly developed barrier properties. Research within the LDD will improve the design of therapeutically effective topical and transdermal formulations and find non-damaging solutions to overcoming the skin’s permeation barrier. The LDD also explores topicals and cosmeceuticals with controlled and targeted delivery of actives to skin layers while preventing fast transport into the systemic circulation. In contrast, for transdermal delivery we need fast transport across all skin layers, little drug retention in the skin and adequate clinical pharmacokinetics for the patient receiving the transdermal patch treatment.

Developing new tissue engineered skin substitutes for permeability testing of actives and for optimization of topical and transdermal formulations are additional goals of the LDD. Several projects involve tissue engineered full-thickness human skin models that have been shown to adequately predict drug permeability in human skin. Studies include evaluation of correlations between the drug permeability, stratum corneum lipid composition/organization, growth media composition, immunohistochemistry, and morphology and gross structure of the bioengineered skins. In addition, novel polymer dermal scaffolds are being tested in the model to improve its mechanical strength. Additional investigations involve the effects of protective barrier creams & other formulations on the penetration of chemical warfare agent mimics, insecticides, personal care and cosmetic actives using the skin models.

The research conducted at the LDD and through its networks and collaborations will strive to make advances in the dermatological sciences.