University of Kentucky


Welcome to the D'Orazio Lab at the University of Kentucky!

We study the molecular mechanisms of melanoma development in order to develop new preventive anti-melanoma therapies. Our focus is on the melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH) - melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) signaling axis since this important hormonal skin pathway plays a major role in resistance to UV damage. Projects in the lab range from understanding how this hormonal pathway is activated to discovering exactly how it protects melanocytes against mutations from UV radiation. We are studying the intersection of the MSH-MC1R signaling pathway and UV damage because sun exposure and tanning bed use are both major risk factors for melanoma development and it is well-established that people with problems in MSH-MC1R signaling are up to 4 times more likely to develop melanoma. Thank you for your interest in our work. If you would like more information or have research suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact us!