The Human Skin Immune Atlas: Three-dimensional reconstruction of serial histology and computational image analysis of dermal immune populations in normal and diseased skin

Grantee: Philip L. Tong, PhD, Department of Dermatology, Royal Prince Albert Hospital, University of Sydney, Australia, Dr Ben Roediger and Professor Wolgang Weninger, Centenary Institute, Newtown, Australia, and Dr Weimiao Yu, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR, Singapore

Amount: DKK 708,500

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2016

Geography: Australia, Singapore

This research project, led by Dr Philip Tong from the University of Sydney, has the potential to represent a technological advancement in the field of human skin immunological research. By use of 3D histological reconstruction and computational image analysis, the aim is to develop the world’s first Human Skin Immune Atlas of dermal immune populations in normal and diseased skin.

The members of the team assembled for this project are already established experts in the fields of skin immunology, microscopy, inflammation and computational analysis, and the project will have an international platform with sites across Asia and Oceania.

The skin is a complex organ, wherein topographical and micro-compartmental specialisation of the immune system has been demonstrated. The general spatial understanding of the skin immune system has been advanced through the use of transgenic laboratory animals with live imaging tools. These, however, have yet to be validated in humans. The work realised in this project may provide fundamental insights into the human skin immune system.

Moreover, the data generated may have wide reaching implications for the development of better in vitro skin substitutes, validation of in vivo microscopic skin imaging tools for human use and improved quantification of skin inflammation in clinical trial settings.

The natural history of skin cancer formation: from normal skin to cancer

Grantee: Associate Professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani, University of Queensland

Amount: AUD 268,239

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2015

Geography: Australia

Associate Professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani from The University of Queensland leads a team that has hypothesized that upon UV irradiation and acquisitions of mutations, only epidermal cells that can rapidly proliferate are likely to give rise to pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions.

This hypothesis will be tested using multicolour lineage tracing to follow simultaneously multiple epidermal clones that will further be microdissected to establish their mutational profile.  This study has the potential to fundamentally change our understanding of field cancerisation, cell of origin of squamous cell cancer establishing potentially new therapeutic targets.

Preventing Basal Cell Carcinoma formation by targeting the tumor environment

Grantee: Associate Professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani, University of Queensland

Amount: AUD 415,386

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2015

Geography: Australia

In this study, Associate Professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani of The University of Queensland in Australia proposes to better characterise the molecular nature of the factors provided by fibroblasts to support basal cell carcinoma (BCC) growth in vivo in order to find new targets for therapies that would prevent BCC development. He and his team will also show proof of principle demonstrating that targeting this process can actually prevent BCC development.

These findings have the potential to translate in effective prevention strategies, allowing field therapy of normal looking skin to avoid the development of new BCCs. Such finding will have strong health benefits in terms of morbidity associated with multiple surgeries, years of healthy life enjoyed by individuals and finally in terms of economic cost.

The LEO Foundation Scholarship for Dermatological Research

Grantee: Scholarship programme

Amount: DKK 2,200,000

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2012

Geography: Australia, Denmark

The LEO Foundation Scholarship for Dermatological Research aims to strengthen research collaboration within the field of skin cancer between Australia and Denmark by supporting training of and research by young scientists.

One scholarship is offered annually on behalf of the LEO Foundation, alternating between Australia and Denmark.

A candidate from Australia travels to work within a Danish tertiary institution and a Danish student is selected with a view to joining an Australian campus.

The funds received may be used as part of an ongoing PhD project or for postdoctoral research. The funds must in part support a research/educational stay in Australia of at least six months for the Danish student.

Publications

Automated detection of actinic keratoses in clinical photographs

Hames SC, Sinnya S, Tan JM, Morze C, Sahebian A, Soyer HP, Prow TW.

PLoS One. 2015 Jan 23;10(1):e0112447. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112447. eCollection 2015

Counting actinic keratosis – is photographic assessment a reliable alternative to physical examinations in clinical trials?

Sinnya S, O’Rourke P, Ballard E, Tan JM, Morze C, Sahebian A, Hames SC, Prow TW, Green AC, Soyer HP.

Acta Derm Venerol. 2015 May;95(5):604-5. doi: 10.2340/00015555-2040. No abstract avaliable

The future of keratinocyte skin cancer surveillance: automated image analysis to identify and monitor keratinocyte dysplasia

Hames SC, Prow TW.

Curr Probl Dermatol. 2015;46:77-84. doi: 10.1159/000366540. Epub 2014 Dec 18

Automated segmentation of skin strata in reflectance confocal microscopy depth stacks

Hames SC, Ardigò M, Soyer HP, Bradley AP, Prow TW.

PLoS One. 2016 Apr 18;11(4):e10153208. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153208. eCollection 2016.

Automated detection of actinic keratoses in clinical photographs

Hames SC, Sinnya S, Tan JM, Morze C, Sahebian A, Soyer HP, Prow TW.

PLoS One. 2015 Jan 23;10(1):e0112447. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112447. eCollection 2015.

Counting actinic keratosis – is photographic assessment a reliable alternative to physical examination in clinical trials?

Sinnya S, O’Rourke P, Ballard E, Tan JM, Morze C, Sahebian A, Hames SC, Prow TW, Green AC, Soyer HP.

Acta Derm Venereol. 2015 May;95(5):604-5. doi: 10.2340/00015555-2040. No abstract available.

The future of keratinocyte skin cancer surveillance: automated image analysis to identify and monitor keratinocyte dysplasia

Hames SC, Prow TW.

Curr Probl Dermatol. 2015;46:77-84. doi: 10.1159/000366540. Epub 2014 Dec 18

Anatomical skin segmentation in reflectance confocal microscopy with weak labels*

Hames SC, Ardigò M, Soyer HP, Bradley AP, Prow TW.

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_aa.jsp?arnumber=7371231&tag=1

* This won the Canon Extreme Imaging Competition (DICTA category) prize in late 2015