Stephen Sugrue

Stephen Sugrue

Sugrue,StephenProfessor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Ph.D., University of Cincinnati 

Nano TBD

 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology | College of Engineering

Dr. Sugrue received his Ph.D. at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (Anatomy), Cincinnati, Ohio in 1979.

The long-term goal of research in the Sugrue lab is to elucidate the molecular determinants of the regulation of corneal epithelial cell phenotype. The quality of this specialized epithelium of the cornea requires it to tightly regulate cell adhesions, both cell-cell and cell-matrix. Indeed, the corneal epithelium possess many properties that are specific for its role at the anterior surface of the eye. The specific identity and differentiated qualities of the corneal epithelium are requisite for vision. There are, in fact, numerous examples of ocular surface diseases whereby the corneal epithelial quality or differentiative qualities are not maintained and significant anterior eye physiological perturbations and dramatic vision loss result. Many of these pathological states may include the transformation of the corneal epithelium to a keratinized epithelium, which is a vastly inadequate epithelium for the corneal surface and the avascular cornea. The molecular details pertaining to how the corneal epithelial identity is established and maintained are central to vision research. Resolving these molecular details and pathways will contribute significantly to the design of new therapies to impact the maintenance and repair of the corneal epithelial phenotype and the corneal epithelium physiology and barrier.

There is now significant data supporting the contention that corneal epithelial cell identity must be held in check by constant transcriptional maintenance, or it may suffer reprogramming to alternate epithelial fates. Recent studies in the Sugrue lab focus on the nuclear protein pinin (Pnn), that was first discovered in our lab and has been implicated in many activities that place it as a key regulator of epitheliogenesis. The most recent data has taken us toward an exciting new direction involving the exploration of Pnn as a key regulator of specific epithelial identity. Recent data implicates Pnn as a key contributor to the establishment and maintenance of the corneal epithelial identity.

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