B. Lynn Allen-Hoffmann, PhD

Portrait of B. Lynn Allen-Hoffmann, PhD
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
5605 MSC
1300 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 262-2884
Focus Groups: 
Signal Transduction
PhD, Cornell University
Research Summary: 
Keratinocytes; cancer biology; extracellular matrices
Research Detail: 

Epithelial tumors are the most frequent form of human cancer. The process(es) by which human epithelial cells acquire aberrant growth and differentiation properties are fundamental to our understanding of the biology of epithelial cancers. Research in my laboratory is currently addressing questions regarding:

  • The role of cell-substratum interaction in gene expression and terminal differentiation of epithelial cells (Sadek and Allen-Hoffmann, 1994),
  • Use of keratinocytes to detect genotoxic damage caused by environmental agents (Allen-Hoffmann et al., 1993), and
  • Changes in production of extracellular matrix glycoproteins that may contribute to progression of epithelial tumors to malignancy (Sheibani et al., 1991).

My research group is interested in cell signaling that regulate differentiation in keratinocytes from human stratified squamous epithelia. Potential signaling molecules include physical templates (basement membrane glycoproteins and their cognate cell surface receptors), as well as growth promoting, growth inhibitory, and differentiation factors. We have found that release from adhesion causes early and persistent changes in keratinocyte gene expression and triggers features of programmed cell death. Our studies on suspension-induces changes in keratinocyte gene expression have led us to identify a novel mechanism for cytochrome P450IA1 induction. P450IA1 has been shown to play a critical role in the metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in environmental pollutants. We have found that induction of P450IA1 gene expression and enzyme activity in skin is an early, cell type-specific response to release from substrata attachment and/or changes in cell shape. A major focus of this project is to identify the specitechnology to identify novel early genes induced by perturbation of specific adhesive events.

Selected Publications: 
Thomas-Virnig CL, Centanni JM, Johnston CE, He LK, Schlosser SJ, Van Winkle KF, Chen R, Gibson AL, Szilagyi A, Li L, Shankar R, Allen-Hoffmann BL. (2009) Inhibition of Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii by Nonviral Expression of hCAP-18 in a Bioengineered Human Skin Tissue. Mol Ther. 17(3):562-569.
Schurr MJ, Foster KN, Centanni JM, Comer AR, Wicks A, Gibson AL, Thomas-Virnig CL, Schlosser SJ, Faucher LD, Lokuta MA, Allen-Hoffmann BL. (2009) Phase I/II clinical evaluation of StrataGraft®: a consistent, pathogen-free human skin substitute. J Trauma. 66(3):866-873; discussion 873-874.
Gill EM, Rasmussen CA, Straseski JA, Liliensiek SJ, Eliceiri KW, Ramanujam N, White JG, Allen-Hoffmann BL. (2009) Visualization of morphological and molecular features associated with chronic ischemia in bioengineered human skin. J Microscopy Microanalysis (Accepted for Publication)
Rasmussen C, Gibson ALF, Schlosser SJ, Schurr MJ, Allen-Hoffmann BL. (2009). Chimeric composite skin substitutes for delivery of autologous keratinocytes to promote tissue regeneration. Ann. Surg. (in revision)
Straseski, JA, Gibson AL, Thomas-Virnig CL, Allen-Hoffmann BL. (2009). Oxygen deprivation inhibits basal keratinocyte proliferation in a model of human skin and induces regio-specific changes in the distribution of epidermal adherens junction proteins, aquaporin-3, and glycogen. Wound Repair Regen (in revision)
De Abrew KN, Thomas-Virnig CL, Rasmussen CA, Bolterstein EA, Schlosser SJ, Allen-Hoffmann BL. (2009) TCDD induces dermal accumulation of kerationcyte-derived matrix metalloproteinase-10 in an organotypic model of human skin. J Biol Chem (in revision)
Van Pay L, Pickart MA, Rasmussen CA, Allen-Hoffmann BL. (2009) ╬▓-catenin is required for endogenous AHR-dependent, suspension mediated induction of CYP1A1 in Hepa 1c1c7 cells. Submitted to Tox Appl Pharm.
Gibson AL, Schurr MJ, Schlosser SJ, Comer AR, Allen-Hoffmann BL. (2008) Comparison of therapeutic antibiotic treatments on tissue-engineered human skin substitutes. Tissue Eng.: Part A 14(5):629-638.
Slavik MA, Allen-Hoffmann BL, Liu BY, Alexander CM (2007) Wnt signaling induces differentiation of progenitor cells in organotypic keratinocyte cultures. BMC Dev. Biol. 7:9