11 Dec 2020
Dr Yumi Matsuoka-Nakamura from Osaka University in Japan receives the LEO Foundation Award 2020 in Region Asia-Pacific. She receives the award for her internationally renowned skin research and her exceptional track record of research achievements.
This year’s winner of the LEO Foundation Award in Region Asia-Pacific, Dr Yumi Matsuoka-Nakamura, is an excellent dermatologist with an outstanding research record in skin immunology, allergy and microbiology – and a great vision for her future endeavors.
“Yumi Matsuoka-Nakamura is not only a diligent dermatologist in the hospital but also a creative scientist in the laboratory. Her research addresses key questions in relation to eczema and she has developed a novel and promising multi-omics approach to dermatology. I am certain that Dr Matsuoka-Nakamura has the potential to impact future dermatological research and that her findings could eventually pave the way for new treatment methods for skin diseases. We are very proud to select her as LEO Foundation awardee,” says Ida Brams, Chief Grant Officer at the LEO Foundation.
The LEO Foundation Award is worth USD 100,000 and is given three times annually – one in each of the three regions: Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific.
The role of Staphylococcus aureus in atopic dermatitis
Yumi Matsuoka-Nakamura is Associate Professor at Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University, Japan.
Her recent work has advanced our understanding of the role of Staphylococcus aureus in atopic dermatitis – the most common type of eczema that affects 1 in every 5 children. While it is not yet fully understood what causes atopic dermatitis, we do know that atopic dermatitis patients are more likely to be colonized by Staphylococcus aureus than healthy people.
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that commonly colonizes human skin and it is a crucial component for the skin barrier function. However, the exact role of Staphylococcus aureus in relation to atopic dermatitis remains unclear. Dr Yumi Matsuoka-Nakamura hopes to unravel this question.
“My recent work is focused on why Staphylococcus aureus colonizes the skin of atopic dermatitis patients more than it colonizes the healthy human skin. To address this clinical question, I conducted genome-wide analysis of 246 Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from children’s skin before the development of atopic dermatitis. From this analysis, it has become clear that a very specific area of the Staphylococcus aureus controls its skin colonization in atopic dermatitis,” Yumi Matsuoka-Nakamura explains.
An award for the rising stars
Since the first LEO Foundation Award in 2008 more than 25 skin researchers have received the award. On the ambitions for the LEO Foundation Award, Ida Brams says:
“The award was born out of the aim of advancing the understanding and treatment of skin diseases and strengthening the pipeline of excellent dermatology researchers. It recognizes promising young talents and hopefully provides a boost to their future careers. The award is well aligned with the foundation’s goal of continually promoting and advancing skin research.”
Yumi Matsuoka-Nakamura hopes that the award will motivate young scientists in dermatology:
“It is a true honor to receive the LEO Foundation Award 2020 for work which I am really passionate about. It certainly will stimulate me to continue the further exploration of key questions in skin research and pass on my passion for dermatology to younger scientist. I also would like to express my sincere appreciation to my former bosses and colleagues for their support!” says Yumi Matsuoka-Nakamura.