Personal profile


Professor Ralf Paus researches into the biology and pathology of the hair follicle, skin neuroendocrinology,  and the science and applications of stem cells residing in human skin.


After his medical studies at the Unversities of Wuerzburg, Berlin and Vienna, MD thesis work at the University of South Florida, Tampa, USA, and an internship at the University Hospitals of Basle and Zurich, Switzerland, Ralf graduated from the Free University of Berlin (1987).

Following post-doctoral research at Yale University (1987-90), where he became interested in hair research, Ralf trained as a clinical dermatologist in Berlin, where he became consultant dermatologist and junior faculty at the Charité University Hospital. From 1999-2004 Ralf served as Professor and Vice-Chair of the Dept. of Dermatology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, University of Hamburg. He was Visiting Scholar at the University of California San Diego (1992), Visiting Professor at the Dept. of Molecular Medicine at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Munich-Martinsried (2005), and Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Bradford until 2010 and again since 2012. From 2005-2013, Ralf's primary affiliation was as Professor and Head of Experimental Dermatology, Dept. of Dermatology, University of Luebeck, Germany.

In 2008, Ralf  joined the University of Manchester as Professor of Cutaneous Medicine (secondary affiliation), before moving his main laboratory to Manchester in 2013, where he has also served as Director of Research and Deputy of the Centre for Dermatology Research, University of Manchester, since 2014. From 2013-2016 Ralf had a secondary affiliation with the University of Münster, as Head of the Laboratory for Hair Research and Regenerative Medicine in the Dept. of Dermatology. During this time in his home town, Münster, he also founded "Monasterium Laboratory - Skin & Hair Research Solutions GmbH", for which Ralf acts as Chief Consultant.

Besides having served as President of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dermatologische Forschung (ADF, Berlin) and as Associate and Section Editor for the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Ralf has been Editor of Experimental Dermatology since 2007.

Research interests

Ralf researches into the biology and pathology of the hair follicle as a microcosmic miniorgan in which many of the fundamental problems of biology can be studied exemplarily. Currently, he is most intrigued by the astounding neuroendocrine properties of the human hair follicle, their impact on mitochondrial function and hair follicle immune status, and the use of adult hair follicle stem cells for regenerative medicine purposes. 

Ralf's particular interest is in:

  • better defining and in manipulating various neuroendocrine pathways established in the human hair follicle (HPA and HPT axis equivalent systems) and in elucidating novel functions of this neuroendocrine activity, such as neuroendocrine controls of mitochondrial activity and biogenesis in human skin, stem cell biology,  and wound healing
  • understanding the controls and functions of hair follicle immune privilege and its disorders that lead to alopecia areata or scarring alopecia
  • characterizing, selectively labelling, isolating and differentiating various stem cells populations associated with human scalp skin and its appendages
  • role of clock genes and olfactory receptors in the control of human hair growth and pigmentation

Methodologically, Ralf employs mainly human hair follicle and scalp skin organ culture, K15-GFP+ human epithelial hair follicle stem cells, and immunohistology/immunofluorescence, gene expression profiling, and analyzes the hair and skin phenotype of relevant mouse mutants.

My collaborations

see Ralf's PubMed-listed publications for indications of his extensive international collaboration network

post-doctoral researchers currently affiliated with Ralf's laboratory at the University of Manchester:

Drs. David Ansell, Chris Platt, Jonathan Hardman and Talveen Purba

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute


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