Announcements for 2009

January 14, 2009 (historical)

Hispanic Heritage Month - Dr. Maria Morasso Presentation

Photo of Dr. Katz, Dr. Morasso and Dr. Carter

Dr. Stephen I. Katz, Dr. Maria Morasso and Dr. Robert Carter

NIH recently celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month. This year's theme was Getting Involved: Our Families, Our Community, Our Nation .

The main event, held on October 8 and hosted by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, featured a presentation by Maria I. Morasso, Ph.D., Principal Investigator at the Developmental Skin Biology Section, NIAMS.

Dr. Morasso spoke about novel research being conducted at NIAMS on the function of specific proteins with essential roles in skin and bone development, and on a group of pathological disorders defined as ectodermal dysplasias. These disorders can result in sparse hair, skin disturbances, missing teeth and vision difficulties.

Dr. Morasso and her staff have discovered that a particular protein is a key regulator of hair follicle development and regeneration. Mutations in this protein are associated with the hair, teeth and bone abnormalities. Dr. Morasso's group is determined to find the effects of these mutations. Their work is important because it could provide new molecular understanding of how mutations in genes cause ectodermal dysplasias, and how to better treat those affected.

Dr. Morasso completed her graduate studies at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Investigations, located outside of Caracas . In 1991, she moved to the United States and came to NIH to pursue postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Sargent at NICHD. In May 2000, she was recruited as a tenure track investigator by NIAMS and was recently tenured.