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The Art in Science

Product Image Fire in the Forest

Fire in the Forest

Raji Nair, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Coulombe Laboratory), Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan Medical School 

Skin is the barrier that protects our body from outside world. Skin is exposed to external factors like UV rays, chemicals, etc. which could potentially harm the genetic material (DNA) in the cells, causing diseases like skin cancer. Thankfully, cells are equipped with ways in which they can respond and be protected from damage most of the time. This image shows skin cells (keratinocytes, in green) of a mouse; the cells were irradiated to induce DNA damage. The nuclei of the cells is orange and the yellow dots contain a specific histone protein (gamma-H2AX), that should accumulate at the site of DNA damage as a response to DNA breaks. In some pathological cases, this response does not occur correctly. We are studying this response of skin cells to DNA damage to better understand how, when and why this response goes wrong during skin cancer.