Skip to content

CLaSSiC - a two partner EU funded network project

CLaSSiC is an interdisciplinary EU FP7 Marie Curie funded project leveraging insights on the molecular, cellular, and biophysical impact of light on skin stem cells towards development of novel devices for regenerative therapy. CLaSSiC is a collaborative network between the Centre for Skin Sciences and Philips under the European Industrial Doctoral training scheme.

ClaSSiC project commenced in 2013 and was completed in 2017. Three fellows were recruited who each worked on their own doctoral training project. All three fellows succeeded in being awarded a PhD.

CLaSSiC science themes

CLaSSiC Fellows

Serena Buscone. I’m a Biologist from Italy, where I graduated in Molecular Biology at Bicocca University in Milan. In CLaSSiC I was  focused on investigation of the effects of light on hair follicles and hair follicle stem cells. I discovered that surprisingly hair follicles express receptors involved in vision, and in this project I reached my research goal to show that light modulation of those receptors can impact hair phisiology. I strongly believe that understanding insights about molecular, cellular and biophysics effects of light on hair will give us the opportunity to develop new tools that could help people in the management of hair disorders. 

Charles Mignon. My background is in Optical Engineering combined with Biomedical Engineering and within the CLaSSiC project I am responsible for driving my research project along three directions: devices, modeling, and photobiology. In particular, I am proud that I created a novel light-based devices for treatment of stem cells, developed optical modeling tools to describe light propagation in the skin and hair, and carried out experimental work with skin cells using a designed statistical approach. To me combining biology and physics is challenging and rewarding at the same time, because it helps to combine new approaches to address biological related.

Irene Castellano. Originally from Zaragoza (Spain), I obtained my BSc in Biotechnology from the University of Lleida, Spain. Within the CLaSSiC project, I was responsible for investigating the interaction of light with the skin to identify novel solutions for wound healing. I discovered key molecular pathways involved in light reception and how to modulate them using wound healing models. I really enjoyed participating in this European Industrial Doctorate with the opportunity to work with people with very different educational backgrounds, learn from all of them and experience working with both University and industry. 

CLaSSic Team. From left to right Julie Thornton (CSS), Charles Mignon, Andrei Mardaryev (CSS), Irene Castellano, Gill Westgate (CSS), Serena Buscone, Des Tobin (CSS), Natasha Botchkareva (CSS) and Natallia Uzunbajakava (Philips)

Publications from CLaSSiC

Full text articles

  • C. Mignon,D. J. Tobin, M. Zeitouny, N.E. Uzunbajakava. Impact of the Skin layers optical properties inaccuracies on Monte Carlo Optical Model simulations. (In preparation)
  • Mignon C, Uzunbajakava NE, Botchkareva NV, Tobin DJ. Differential response of human dermal fibroblast subpopulations to visible and near-infrared light: potential of photobiomodulation for addressing cutaneous conditions. [Accepted].
  • Mignon C, Tobin DJ, Zeitouny M, Uzunbajakava NE. Shedding light on variability of the optical skin properties: finding a path towards more accurate prediction of light propagation in cutaneous compartments. Biomed Opt Express. 2018;9:852-872.
  • Mignon C, Uzunbajakava NE, Raafs B, Botchkareva NV, Tobin DJ. Towards standardized protocols for photobiomodulation studies: unraveling impact of cell culture conditions and treatment protocols on experimental outcome of in vitro studies using primary human dermal fibroblasts lineages. Scientific Reports. 2017 Jun 5;7(1):2797
  • Buscone S, Mardaryev AN, Raafs B, Bikker JW, Sticht C, Gretz N, Farjo N, Uzunbajakava NE, Botchkareva NV. A new path in defining light parameters for hair growth: Discovery and modulation of photoreceptors in human hair follicle. Lasers Surg Med. 2017 Sep;49(7):705-718. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22673. Epub 2017 Apr 18. PubMed PMID: 28418107.
  • C. Mignon, N. E. Uzunbajakava, B. Raafs, M. Moolenaar, N. V. Botchkareva, D. J. Tobin. Photobiomodulation of distinct lineages of human dermal fibroblasts: a rational approach towards the selection of effective light parameters for skin rejuvenation and wound healing. SPIE  BIOS, 2016, 9695-7.
  • C. Mignon, N. V. Botchkareva, N.E. Uzunbajakava, D. J. Tobin.  Photobiomodulation devices for hair regrowth and wound healing: a therapy full of promise but a literature full of confusion. Invited  Review, Experimental Dermatology, 2016.
  • Uzunbajakava NE, Falcone D and Westgate G. Effect of UV, Blue, and Visible Light on the Skin and its Appendages: New Phototransduction Mechanisms, the Extended Therapeutic Window from UV to Blue, and a Rising Trend in Home-use Phototherapy. The Cosmetic Chemist (2016),

Travel Grants

S. Buscone, N.E. Uzunbajakava, A. Mardaryev, N.V. Botchkareva. 2017. Opsins and Cryptochrome photoreceptors mediate blue light stimulatory effect on hair growth. 47th European Society for Dermatological Research, Salzburg, Austria. 2017

I. Castellano-Pellicena, N.E. Uzunbajakava, C. Delatorre, V. E. Botchkarev, M. J. Thornton.. Opsins and cryptochromes in human epidermal keratinocytes: a perspective for blue light therapies. 47th European Society for Dermatological Research, Salzburg, Austria. 2017

C. Mignon, N.E. Uzunbajakava, B. Raafs, N.V. Botchkareva, D.J. Tobin. The importance of the selection of optical parameters, cell culture conditions and treatment protocols in photobiomodulation in vitro: a multi-factorial analysis of the response of primary human dermal fibroblasts to visible and NIR light. 37th Annual Conference of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, San Diego, CA, USA. 2017

I. Castellano Pellicena, N.E. Uzunbajakava, M. Moolenaar, B. Raafs, C. Mignon, V. Botchkarev, M. J. Thornton. Molecular Mechanisms of photobiomodulation in wound healing. British Society for Investigative Dermatology Annual Meeting, Dundee, Scotland. 2016

S. Buscone, B. Raafs, M.A.A. van Vlimmeren, A. Mardaryev, N. E. Uzunbajakava, N.V. Botchkareva. A new path in defining light parameters for hair growth: discovery and modulation of light sensitive receptors in human hair follicles. 36th Annual Conference of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Boston, MA, USA. 2016

S. Buscone, N.E. Uzunbajakava, G.Westgate, N.Farjo, A.N. Mardaryev, N.V. Botchkareva. Can Hair Follicles “See” the Light? Analysis of Light-Sensitive Receptors in Human Hair Follicles. Submitted to the 9th World Congress for Hair. 2015


CLaSSiC fellows at conferences


Winner of the Keith Foundation Best of Photobiomodulation Session. I. Castellano-Pellicena, N.E. Uzunbajakava, V.A. Botchkarev, M.J. Thornton. Understanding photobiomodualtion for human wound healing. 37th Annual Conference of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, San Diego, CA, USA. 2017

Exciting news came in on Friday January 13th 2017 from Beth Bartelt, Education Program Manager at the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).

On behalf of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery Inc., she informed us that the Abstract of Irene Castellano, ‘Understanding photobiomodulation for human wound healing’ has been selected by the Photobiomodulation Section Chairs for the award at the 2017 ASLMS Annual Conference: ‘Best of Photobiomodulation Session’.

Recognition of this prestigious award, including a Plaque and Honoraria of $1,000 (Sponsored by the Kerith Foundation), took place during the Plenary Session at the ASLMS 2017 Annual Conference in San Diego. 

We are very proud for Irene and congratulate her and the whole CLaSSiC for this great team effort!