The primary focus of Dr. Brynn Voy's laboratory is understanding the changes in gene expression that underlie biochemical pathways involved in normal and pathological physiology of skin and hair. Our efforts utilize cDNA microarrays, which allow simultaneous analysis of differential expression of thousands of genes. The scale of microarray experiments provides a broad molecular snapshot, identifying multiple genes that are differentially-expressed in response to a specific treatment or gene mutation. We exploit this capacity in a multi-group project designed to understand gene regulatory networks in eukaryotes. This collaboration includes research groups from the Computational Biology section of the Life Sciences Division and from the Computer Sciences and Mathematics Division, combining experimental, computational and bioinformatic approaches.
Our laboratory also focuses on the molecular basis for hair loss in a specific and novel ORNL mutation in the mouse hairless gene (Hr n). These animals lose their hair in a unique way compared to other hr mutants, and they are also highly susceptible to UV- and chemically-induced carcinogenesis. The expression phenotype in skin of these mice is compared to / contrasted with those of other ORNL hair loss mutants to detect genes with expression levels uniquely altered in Hr n mice, as well as to identify networks similarly affected across various mutants with a common phenotype. Our lab also collaborates with Dr. Russ Knapp in the Nuclear Medicine Division and with a large pharmaceutical company to evaluate and compare the efficacy of novel antidiabetic drugs in select target tissues, particularly adipose tissue. In all cases, results from microarray experiments serve as the launching pad for detailed biochemical, histological and genetic analyses of the relevant mouse models and associated physiological responses.
- Ph.d.: Physiology program of University of Tennessee (1996)