Molecular genetics of recalcitrant warts

Grantee: Hassan Vahidnezhad, Assistant Professor, Thomas Jefferson University

Amount: DKK 2,131,526

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2022

Geography: USA

This project led by Hassan Vahidnezhad aims to elucidate the mechanisms behind skin warts that do not resolve automatically.

Warts are very common, approximately present in 20-35% of the general population. While they typically disappear within a few months, some linger and may be hard to get rid of. These persistent warts are caused by infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in persons where the immune response is insufficient due to genetic defects. Particularly, defects in T cells are suspected as a causation, but exactly how the warts are formed and how they persist is to a large degree unknown.

Hassan and his team seek to identify the genetic and molecular causes of recalcitrant warts, which will not only better the understanding of the skin’s immunological response to HPV infection, but may also provide diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic improvements for patients with recalcitrant warts.

The role of eosinophils in atopic dermatitis skin inflammation and itch

Grantee: Nathan Archer Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Amount: DKK 3,783,727

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2022

Geography: USA

This project led by Dr. Nathan Archer investigates the interplay between bacterial colonization and a specific immune cell, the eosinophil, in development of atopic dermatitis (AD).

AD is a very common skin disease, particularly amongst young people, and the associated healthcare costs in the U.S. alone are estimated at USD 5.2 billion. Thus, there is a strong incentive to better understand the disease to improve its treatment.

The cause of AD is still unclear, but one interesting observation is that a specific type of immune cell, the eosinophil, infiltrates the affected areas and correlates with disease severity. The role of these eosinophils in AD remains unknown, but initial observations by Dr. Archer and his team point to a link between skin colonization of a specific bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, and the observed infiltration – which may lead to both inflammation and itch. This bacteria-immune cell interaction is unusual, and Dr. Archer and his team will investigate the observed interaction in detail, with an aim to provide novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of AD.

Adherens Junction Dysfunction in Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Grantee: Amanda Nelson, Assistant Professor, The Pennsylvania State University

Amount: DKK 3,996,947

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2022

Geography: USA

Amanda Nelson’s project investigates the role of two proteins, E-cadherin and p120, in the relatively common inflammatory skin disease Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), which is characterized by skin lesions that cause intense pain, odor, drainage and scarring.

The cause of HS remains unclear, and this limits the current treatment options. The current hypothesis is that there is a blockage in the hair follicle unit, which triggers the immune response. Amanda and her team have found that E-cadherin and p120, both important for skin integrity, are lost in HS-affected skin, and their project seeks to understand how this loss may contribute to the hair follicle breakdown and subsequent inflammation. If the link is proven it may provide novel approaches for treatment of HS.

The LEO Foundation Award 2022 – Region Americas

Grantee: Dr. Shadmehr Demehri

Amount: USD 100,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2022

Geography: USA

Dr. Shawn Demehri is Associate Professor at the Department of Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, USA.

He receives the award for his more than noteworthy contributions to the dermatology field, his truly exciting trajectory within skin research as well as his clinical skills. Dr. Demehri is a brilliant and exceptionally talented physician-scientist who leads a creative and accomplished research team studying the intersection between the immune system and early cancer.

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SID Resident and Post Doc Retreat

Grantee: Society for Investigative Dermatology

Amount: EUR 15,000

Grant category: Education and awareness grants

Year: 2022

Geography: USA

The SID mission is to advance the sciences relevant to skin disease through education, advocacy and scholarly exchange of scientific information.

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