Rochelle L. Castillo, MD, MS: Spatial Transcriptomics Stratifies Health and Psoriatic Disease Severity by Emergent Cellular Ecosystems

Poster Presenter: Rochelle L. Castillo, MD, MS, Clinical Instructor, New York University Grossman School of Medicine

Poster Title: Spatial Transcriptomics Stratifies Health and Psoriatic Disease Severity by Emergent Cellular Ecosystems

Ignite Session 1C
Saturday, November 12 | 1:05–1:10 p.m. ET | South Philly Stage
All ACR Convergence 2022 poster presentations are available on demand to registered meeting participants through October 31, 2023.

What is your poster about?
Our poster uses a cutting-edge platform called spatial transcriptomics (ST), which is somewhat like Google Maps for gene expression. It precisely localizes where in the tissue particular genes of interest are being expressed and to what extent, providing insights into the nuances in the patterns of expression of certain genes relative to the layers and structures in the skin across different phenotypes. In this study, we employed ST on lesional and non-lesional skin samples from patients with psoriatic disease and skin from healthy controls.

Why did you decide to investigate this topic?
Because the skin is typically affected before joints in the vast majority of patients with psoriatic arthritis and is more accessible than synovium, we wanted to discover molecular signals or cellular niches in the skin that would allow us to understand potential drivers of arthritis and modulators of cutaneous disease severity in patients with psoriasis.

What are you working on next related to this research?
We are validating the results of this study using multiplex immunofluorescence assays, among other methods, and have also successfully used ST on other tissues such as synovium from patients with psoriatic arthritis. We also plan on investigating spatial gene expression in the context of other rheumatologic diseases with profound skin and systemic involvement such as dermatomyositis.

What excites you most about your work?
The depth and breadth of information that can be obtained from adding a spatial dimension to gene expression profiles is enormous and represents an important step forward in advancing our practice of precision medicine. My field of interest, rheumatology-dermatology, is particularly conducive to skin-focused spatial transcriptomics as a significant number of connective tissue diseases start out with cutaneous manifestations, making the skin a plausible window into the immunopathogenic mechanisms influencing other target organ involvement.


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