Public Release: 

National Psoriasis Foundation awards half a million dollars in fellowships

Fellowships encourage early-career physicians to become psoriatic disease experts

National Psoriasis Foundation

PORTLAND, Oregon (June 22, 2015)--Eleven early-career physicians each received a one-year, $50,000 National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Dermatology Fellowship to study psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

These fellowships will help increase the number of scientists studying and expertly treating psoriatic disease by encouraging up-and-coming doctors to dedicate their careers to these conditions. Learn more at http://www.psoriasis.org/research.

The Dr. Mark G. Lebwohl Medical Dermatology Fellowship recognizes Mark G. Lebwohl, M.D., chairman emeritus of the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board and one of the world's leading psoriasis experts.

  • At the University of California, San Diego, Kimberly Chun, M.D., will study the Koebner phenomenon--when an injury to the skin triggers or worsens psoriasis. She'll analyze differences in gene activity between a wound on a patch of clear skin on a psoriasis patient and a wound on someone without psoriasis. Ten fellows received a National Psoriasis Foundation Amgen Medical Dermatology Fellowship, supported by a grant from Amgen.

  • At Northwestern University, Jennifer Day, M.D., will study medical records to examine the safety and effectiveness of systemic medications and phototherapy in pediatric psoriasis patients. Day will also design a patient registry for pediatric psoriasis that will allow researchers to study associated health risks, treatment effectiveness and psoriatic arthritis prevalence in children.

  • At Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Center, Tiago Matos, M.D., will use DNA sequencing of T-cells, which are involved in the inflammation of psoriasis, to determine the different variations of T-cells in psoriasis. Learning more about the different T-cells involved in psoriasis will help determine the source of inflammation involved in the disease.

  • At the University of Utah, Michael Milliken, M.D., M.P.H., will update a patient registry known as the Utah Psoriasis Initiative with new software to help improve researchers' ability to capture data. Milliken will also examine genetic information from the database to identify genetic risk factors for psoriasis. In addition, he'll work on a clinical trial investigating whether excimer laser used in combination with systemic medications effectively clears psoriasis.

  • At the University of Pennsylvania, Megan Noe, M.D., M.P.H., will use information from a medical database to examine the connection between liver and blood vessel disease and psoriasis severity. Noe will also co-lead a clinical trial testing the effects of psoriasis treatment on blood vessel disease. In addition, she will conduct a study using another medical database to study quality of life issues in psoriasis patients with skin that is almost but not completely clear.

  • At Rady Children's Hospital/San Diego and the University of California, San Diego, Emily Osier, M.D., will test and implement new screening guidelines for the associated health risks of psoriasis in children. Currently, there are no standard screening guidelines for comorbidities in pediatric psoriasis.

  • At Baylor Research Institute, Michel Pablo, M.D., will study heart disease risk in psoriasis patients by tracking the amount of calcium in their arteries. Calcium buildup hardens arteries and can cause heart problems.

  • At the University of Southern California, Mary Jane Williams, M.D., will study the effectiveness of collaborative health in treating psoriasis. In a clinical trial, Williams will test whether health care delivered online gives the same level of care as in-person appointments. In a separate project, Williams will conduct epidemiological studies of psoriasis and its associated health risks by analyzing large patient populations.

  • At the University of California, Davis, Reason Wilken, M.D., will analyze the presence of a certain type of sugar called a glycan in the immune cells and blood of psoriasis patients to better understand how these sugars are involved in autoimmune diseases.

  • At Stanford University, Marten Winge, MD., Ph.D., will study the role of a gene mutation involving the Rac1 protein in causing psoriasis. Winge will also test a treatment known as benzamil to see whether it blocks Rac1 from driving inflammation in psoriasis.

  • At Brown University, Shaowei Wu, M.D., Ph.D., will use the Nurses' Health Study database to investigate the role that alcohol, tobacco, obesity and other risk factors may play in causing psoriatic disease.

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Learn more about the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Dermatology Fellowship program: http://www.psoriasis.org/research.

About the National Psoriasis Foundation

National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world's largest nonprofit serving those with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Our priority is to provide the information and services people need to take control of their condition, while increasing research to find a cure. In addition to serving more than 2.1 million people annually through our health education and advocacy initiatives, NPF has funded more than $11 million in psoriatic disease research grants and fellowships. Learn more about the Psoriasis Foundation at http://www.psoriasis.org or call 800-723-9166. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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