In our Lab Talk series on topics like health, skincare, and beauty Tomorrowlabs regularly invites experts and scientists from all around the world to provide insights into their daily work and the latest industry trends.
Today, we present Saranya Wyles MD, Ph.D., who is a dermatologist and scientist at the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, United States. Her lab studies the biology of skin aging, cell senescence, and wound healing.
Tomorrowlabs: Could you tell us a little bit about your background as a doctor and researcher?
Saranya: I have always been fascinated by the concept of wound healing and how our bodies heal naturally. I am originally from New York and attended Barnard College, Columbia University to study stem cell biology. Then worked at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to learn more about a bioengineered stem cell technology that had just won the Nobel Prize (induced pluripotent stem cells). These early investments in research solidified my interest to pursue the physician-scientist pathway. I came to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for the M.D./Ph.D. program and stayed here to complete my dermatology residency. I practice as an academic physician-scientist at Mayo Clinic Department of Dermatology and Center for Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery. I am involved in launching skin regenerative clinical studies and teaching medical students/residents about this new field. I also have a basic science laboratory here studying cellular senescence as related to wound healing and skin aging – it's my dream job!
Tomorrowlabs: What made you choose dermatology and regenerative medicine as your fields of academic and clinical interest?
Saranya: The skin is the largest organ that regenerates routinely. Any disruption to this process can cause visible diseases that significantly affect the patient quality of life – it can range from pigmentation diseases like melasma, or scarring conditions like acne scarring or keloids. Regenerative medicine aims to restore or replace tissue form and function. In this goal, regenerative medicine has a natural connection to dermatology and offers a wide variety of toolkit to ameliorate age-associated dysfunction. We have launched several clinical trials to see the role of regenerative technologies such as topical extracellular vesicles or exosomes and their effect on skin renewal. The potential to address patient unmet needs captivated me to pioneer the field of regenerative medicine in dermatology.
Tomorrowlabs: Your academic work deals with identifying the link between cellular senescence and aging. Could you tell us what cellular senescence means and how it affects us? In what way are these studies relevant to people looking for ways to keep their skin healthy and retain a youthful appearance?
Saranya: Cellular senescence is a new biomarker for skin aging. It is a cell fate that accumulates with aging. As we age, our bodies accrue senescent cells which are turned on by injury, UV damage, or other harmful environmental factors. Senescent cells in the skin could represent senescent fibroblasts, which affect the production of healthy collagen and elastin. Senescent cells also slow down natural skin regeneration, leading to poor wound healing and aged skin phenotypes. It will be important to evaluate the role of cellular senescence in skin aging so that we can better target interventions for health restoration.
Tomorrowlabs: Our HSF technology is all about youthful and beautiful looking skin via the restoration of cellular regenerative pathways. Are there other ingredients with scientifically proven effects customers should look out for?
Saranya: Decades of research inform us that retinol and retinoid-based products are helpful in skin renewal and slowing of age-related decline including fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, Vitamin-C has also demonstrated an antioxidant effect to reduce photodamage and associated sequelae such as brown spots and dyschromia. We have now entered a new chapter in aesthetic medicine and surgery which involves the use of regenerative medicine technologies, including cellular and acellular products that aim to restore beauty from within. It is an exciting time for skin science.
Tomorrowlabs: Do you have other practical tips for those who want to do something for their skin?
Saranya: As a dermatologist, I tell all my patients the four key steps to healthy skin – cleanse, moisturize, sunscreen and repeat. Consistency is key. I also recommend visiting your dermatologist on a regular basis for skin cancer screening examination.
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