|KNUH Hair Research Center
Our research on hair began with two simple questions.
First, why do male sex hormones (androgens) cause the beard and moustache to
grow but the hair on the top of the head to fall out? Second, why, in even severe
baldness, does the hair on the sides and back of the head continue to grow while
the hair on the top of the head falls out?
There are clear differences among the hairs in the beard and those on the top and in
the back of the head. The differences result from gene expression. If those genes
can be identified, the mechanism of androgenic alopecia can be explained, and new
treatment modalities could be found.
We have worked to find the genes for baldness since early 1990s. At that time, we
collaborated with the world renowned geneticist Dr. Victor A. McKusick, Johns
Hopkins Medical School.
After a month, we received this response, “There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that there is not one
baldness gene rather, many genes are involved. It will be difficult to find all of them even in a lifetime of research.
The good news is that because they would be difficult for anyone to find, you can enjoy researching this subject for
your whole life.”
Many colleagues have asked us why we study hair rather than focusing on other serious,
life-threatening diseases, such as cancer or cardiac disorders. While hair loss is not a life-threatening issue,
it is a quality-of-life issue. We have seen that efficient, successful treatment based on solid research provides positive
patient outcomes. Our continuing research in the area of hair loss has led us to the forefront of the field.