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Skin Study Center

Industry and Academic Collaborations Help Advance Skin Disease Research

The Center’s Skin Study Center collaborates with industry and academic partners to provide services and support investigators examining the skin, skin products and skin diseases. Research support includes study design, IRB approval, compliance, specimen acquisition, specimen processing, EMR/database clinical informatics, and skin disease-related expertise in bioinformatics and clinformatics analysis.

The Skin Study Center's centralized research capacity advances the Department’s central goal of advancing basic, clinical and translational skin science by understanding cutaneous inflammation including potential co-morbidities, host/microbe alterations and immune response, and by enabling Research Community Investigators through core support designed to enhance their studies and understanding of skin disease. It is specifically designed to promote and facilitate the involvement of human subjects in skin and skin disease-related research. The Center aims to derive maximum information from human studies by providing a resource that integrates outcomes research, clinical studies, and laboratory investigation.

The Objectives of the Skin Study Center are to provide a centralized and cost-effective facility that will:

  • Identify and recruit normal human subjects and patients with skin diseases who are willing to provide appropriate tissue specimens (skin and/or blood) or ii) participate in clinical research studies
  • House the necessary equipment to conduct the required studies; and
  • Manage a central repository for patient cohort datasets. The center also provides expertise in the design and implementation of human studies, including assistance in the preparation of requisite FDA and IRB documents and design of clinical studies, including data and safety monitoring

The Center provides a critical bridge between patients and researchers with professional staff highly trained to ensure that human studies are conducted at the highest levels of regulatory compliance while maintaining a service focus to the investigative community. Expertise in design and implementation of human research involving sample acquisition, skin physiology, interventions, and clinical database management is integrated with coordination of patient, nurse, physician and lab researcher’s schedules. The Center is an absolutely critical component of the Departmental research mission, in particular as researchers increasingly are looking for translational opportunities, while the bar for regulatory expertise required for clinical research is ever higher. The Skin Study Center was developed to respond to individual researcher needs and innovation, and the result has been many examples of a solid stream of translation and Psoriasis Center of Research Translation.

The Psoriasis Center of Research Translation combines detailed clinical informatics from EMR downloads and curated databases with detailed clinical annotations with advanced high-dimensional protein expression, transcritomics, microbiome, and metabolomic patient characterization. Advanced bioformatics and clinical informatics approaches are used to identify personalized medicine pathways and therapies based on identification of previously unrecognized subgroups.

In photomedicine, the Department is renowned worldwide for its work on how UV and visible light rays affect the skin, in particular photobiology, photoimmunology, reversal of UV injury and photodynamic therapy.