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: 
TCDD induces dermal accumulation of keratinocyte-derived matrix metalloproteinase-10 in an organotypic model of human skin.De Abrew KN, Thomas-Virnig CL, Rasmussen CA, Bolterstein EA, Schlosser SJ, Allen-Hoffmann BL. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2014 May 1;276(3):171-8. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2014.02.010. Epub 2014 Feb 24. PMID: 24576722
Classical human epidermal keratinocyte cell culture. Rasmussen C, Thomas-Virnig C, Allen-Hoffmann BL. Methods Mol Biol. 2013;945:161-75. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-125-7_11. PMID: 23097107
Nonviral human beta defensin-3 expression in a bioengineered human skin tissue: a therapeutic alternative for infected wounds. Gibson AL, Thomas-Virnig CL, Centanni JM, Schlosser SJ, Johnston CE, Van Winkle KF, Szilagyi A, He LK, Shankar R, Allen-Hoffmann BL. Wound Repair Regen. 2012 May-Jun;20(3):414-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2012.00786.x. PMID: 22564233.
Clinical Evaluation of NIKS-Based Bioengineered Skin Substitute Tissue in Complex Skin Defects: Phase I/IIa Clinical Trial Results. Schurr MJ, Foster KN, Lokuta MA, Rasmussen CA, Thomas-Virnig CL, Faucher LD, Caruso DM, Allen-Hoffmann BL. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2012 Apr;1(2):95-103. PMID: 24527287.
A Bioengineered Human Skin Tissue for the Treatmentof Infected Wounds. Thomas-Virnig CL, Allen-Hoffmann BL. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2012 Apr;1(2):88-94. PMID: 24527286.
Chimeric Human Skin Substitute Tissue: A Novel Treatment Option for the Delivery of Autologous Keratinocytes. Rasmussen CA, Allen-Hoffmann BL. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2012 Apr;1(2):57-62. PMID: 24527281
StrataGraft skin substitute is well-tolerated and is not acutely immunogenic in patients with traumatic wounds: results from a prospective, randomized, controlled dose escalation trial.
Centanni JM, Straseski JA, Wicks A, Hank JA, Rasmussen CA, Lokuta MA, Schurr MJ, Foster KN, Faucher LD, Caruso DM, Comer AR, Allen-Hoffmann BL. Ann Surg. 2011 Apr;253(4):672-83. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e318210f3bd. PMID: 21475006.
The StrataTest® human skin model, a consistent in vitro alternative for toxicological testing.
Rasmussen C, Gratz K, Liebel F, Southall M, Garay M, Bhattacharyya S, Simon N, Vander Zanden M, Van Winkle K, Pirnstill J, Pirnstill S, Comer A, Allen-Hoffmann BL. Toxicol In Vitro. 2010 Oct;24(7):2021-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2010.07.027. Epub 2010 Aug 3. PMID: 20688150