Dr. Pierre A. Coulombe, a native of Montréal, Québec, Canada, serves as the G. Carl Huber Professor and Chair of the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan Medical School. He is jointly appointed in the Departments of Dermatology and is a member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the same institution. Dr. Coulombe recently joined U-M after spending 25 years on faculty, including 9 years as department chair, at the Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Coulombe received a B.Sc. degree in experimental biology from the Université du Québec à Montréal (Canada) in 1982, and a Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology from the Université de Montréal (Canada) in 1987. He pursued postdoctoral training between 1988 and 1992 at the University of Chicago. As a post-doctoral fellow Dr. Coulombe led research aimed at defining the properties, regulation and function of keratin intermediate filament proteins, an interest that he has maintained to this day. He has played key roles toward the identification of the first intermediate filament-based disease, in defining the vital role of mechanical support fulfilled by keratin filaments in epithelial cells and tissues, and in the discovery of several non-canonical functions for keratin proteins. Currently, his laboratory is studying the role of keratin proteins in regulating inflammatory and immune responses in skin epithelia, with direct implications for the pathogenesis of several types of complex disease traits including cancer. Besides, research in the Coulombe laboratory continues to be focused on the pathophysiology of rare monogenic skin disorders caused by mutations in keratin genes and proteins. In addition to research and discovery efforts, Dr. Coulombe has been very active in the education and training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and also in faculty recruitment and mentoring.