Wright State receives $1.7 million grant from NIH to study sunlight

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Wright State University received a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study sunscreen for people who are hypersensitive to the sun.

The five-year NIH grant was awarded to Jeffrey Travers, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine, and Yanfang Chen, professor of pharmacology and toxicology.

“This grant is designed to try to understand how UVB radiation — the burning rays of sunlight — can signal in the body,” said Travers. “And we are particularly interested in photosensitivity — how some people have exaggerated responses to sunlight. One of the areas involves clinically testing a drug to see if it can block these exaggerated effects.”

The research, which involves studies in cells and human subjects, is titled “UVB radiation-generated microvesicle particles as effectors for photosensitivity.”

Chen is an expert in this area of subcellular particles. Travers is a clinical dermatologist and an expert on photobiology.

“Importantly, we have also found a drug that is already in use for other disorders that if given topically as a cream can block both the microvesicle particles and the abnormal UVB responses in cells/mice,” said Travers. “Hence, we could end up with an ‘uber-sunscreen’ that would be useful for those with sun sensitivity.”

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