The research interests of Saranya P. Wyles, M.D., Ph.D., focus on the science of skin aging and wound healing through the lens of cellular aging (senescence) and regenerative medicine. She also pioneered the development of a novel regenerative medicine curriculum for medical and graduate students to better prepare the next generation of health care workers in regenerative clinical practice. The goal of Dr. Wyles' current work is to develop new regenerative therapies and clinical trials in dermatology to counteract the detrimental impact of senescent cells with aging and age-related skin diseases.
Dr. Wyles is the program director of Clinical Regenerative Medicine Education in Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics, and associate program director of Masters in Regenerative Sciences in Medicine. She also serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Dermatology.
- Cellular senescence and wound healing. Diabetes and obesity are associated with accumulation of senescent cells in fat and other tissues including skin. Dr. Wyles' research group is working on ways to alleviate the complications of diabetes by clearing senescent cells or blocking them from producing factors that cause or exacerbate skin dysfunction. Dr. Wyles' team has developed a wound-healing model in genetically engineered mice with mutations that increase life span and lower senescent cell burden compared with that of nonengineered mice and mice with a diabetes-like phenotype. Dr. Wyles and her team devised a novel strategy to use the first topical senolytic drugs — agents that selectively eliminate senescent cells — in chronic wounds.
- Tissue engineering 3D bioprinted skin. Inflammaging (chronic inflammation-related aging) causes senescent cells to accumulate in human skin. This leads to pathological changes including decreased protection against pathogens (infection), increased susceptibility to irritation (itch), delayed wound healing and increased skin cancer susceptibility. Dr. Wyles is working to understand how senescent cells accumulate in aging skin by modeling telomere-induced senescence and UV-radiation-induced senescence in 3D skin organoids and 3D human skin equivalents.
- Regenerative dermatology. Regenerative medicine, aiming to restore form and function, offers cellular (stem cell-based) and acellular (exosome-based) therapies in its toolkit. Exosomes, a new tool in regenerative research, have implications for skin regeneration, wound healing and aesthetic rejuvenation. Dr. Wyles leads a Mayo Clinic Center for Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery clinical trial to evaluate the role of topical platelet-derived exosomes in skin rejuvenation and pre-juvenation. New efforts are arising for immunomodulatory, purified cord-derived cell populations as well as acellular biotherapies engineered for autoimmune and inflammatory skin disease.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Wyles' program capitalizes on emerging regenerative technologies to transform therapeutic modalities in dermatology. In particular, the ability to target cellular senescence, the molecular root cause of age-associated chronic disease, through regenerative medicine can advance the dermatological therapeutic armamentarium. Specific contributions include the development of novel biotherapeutics to accelerate regenerative technologies to clinical readiness through the discovery-translation-application platform for patients with chronic age-related diseases including diabetes and associated skin complications, which account for the bulk of worldwide morbidity and mortality.
- Co-director, Wound Symposium: The Edges of Wound Care, 2022
- Member, Plummer Dialogue with Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, 2021-present
- Faculty at-large, Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, 2020-present
- Kogod Scholar, Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging, Mayo Clinic, 2021
- Mayo Scholar, Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, 2021
- Richard K. Winkelmann Research Award, Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, 2021
- Eugene M. Farber Travel Award for Young Investigators, Society for Investigative Dermatology, 2017
- Young Women Leadership Recognition, The White House Project, 2007