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Molecular Organisation of the Human Skin Barrier

The stratum corneum (SC) is the topmost layer of skin. This very thin layer is an amazing biological barrier which prevents substances in the environment from getting inside the body and stops water from escaping. A thorough understanding of the SC is important for numerous applications including new treatments for skin diseases, transdermal drug delivery (the delivery of drugs across skin e.g. using patches), innovative touch technologies and the development of personal care products to protect and maintain healthy skin.

Stratum corneum zoom

Our research in this area is concerned with:

  • The molecular structure and organisation of the lipid layers of the stratum corneum skin barrier;
  • The transport of molecules across the skin and drug penetration enhancement;
  • The molecular factors that govern the contact mechanics and tribological behaviour of the surface of the skin;
  • The elastic and barrier properties of keratin intermediate filament proteins found in the stratum corneum and the effects of additive molecules.

Selected Publications

  • Notman, R. and Anwar, J. (2012) Breaching the Skin Barrier - Insights from Molecular Simulation of Model Membranes. Accepted to Adv. Drug Del. Rev.
  • Notman, R., Anwar, J., Briels, W.J., Noro, M.G. and den Otter, W.K. (2008) Simulations of skin barrier function: Free energies of hydrophobic and hydrophilic transmembrane pores in ceramide bilayers, Biophys. J. 95,4763.
  • Notman, R., Noro, M.G. and Anwar, J. (2007) Interaction of oleic acid with dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) bilayers simulated by molecular dynamics, J. Phys. Chem. B 111,12748.
  • Notman, R., den Otter, W.K., Noro, M.G., Briels, W.J. and Anwar, J. (2007) The permeability enhancing mechanism of DMSO in ceramide bilayers simulated by molecular dynamics, Biophys. J. 93,2056.
  • Notman, R., Noro, M.G, O'Malley, B. and Anwar, J. (2006) Molecular basis for dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) action on lipid membranes, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128,13982.


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