Cory Simpson
Assistant Professor
Division of Dermatology
MD, UWMC-Roosevelt
Principal Investigator, Simpson Lab

Faculty Information


Dr. Cory Simpson is a board-certified dermatologist at UW Medical Center's Roosevelt Dermatology Clinic and an Assistant Professor and Researcher in the Division of Dermatology at the University of Washington. A native of Granite City, Illinois, Dr. Simpson received his MD and PhD in Cell Biology from Northwestern University in Chicago, with his doctoral thesis focused on the role of desmosomal cadherins in epidermal differentiation and skin disease. After his residency in dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Simpson spent several years as a Clinical Instructor at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. There, he built a subspecialty clinic focused on patients with inherited and autoimmune bullous disorders, which will continue to be his focus at UW. Dr. Simpson’s clinical expertise includes skin blistering diseases such as pemphigus and pemphigoid as well as genetic skin barrier disorders such as ichthyoses and Darier disease. 

Dr. Simpson launched a research laboratory at the University of Washington in 2021 to study epidermal differentiation and how it is compromised in dermatologic disease. The Simpson Lab focuses on the role of autophagy and organelle degradation in human keratinocytes and how these cellular pathways drive maturation and homeostasis of the epidermal tissue. Using an organotypic model of human skin coupled with advanced microscopy, his lab can visualize the live tissue at the level of single organelles to better understand how the epidermis forms and how disease-associated mutations disrupt the tissue. Ultimately, the Simpson Lab aims to identify novel treatment strategies to promote epidermal tissue regeneration after skin injuries and to restore skin barrier function in inherited and currently incurable dermatologic diseases.

Dr. Simpson’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the Dermatology Foundation, the American Skin Association, and the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Education & Training: 
Post-doctoral Fellowship in Cutaneous Biology
Dept. of Physiology, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA
Residency in Dermatology
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Internship in Internal Medicine
University of Chicago, NorthShore University Health System
Evanston, IL
PhD, Cell Biology
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL
Medical Scientist Training Program, Northwestern University
Chicago, IL
BA in Biology, Minor in Spanish (Summa Cum Laude)
Washington University
St. Louis, MO
Patient Care Hero Award for Clinical Volunteerism, American Academy of Dermatology
Presidential Citation for Teledermatology Outreach, American Academy of Dermatology
World Congress of Dermatology Scholarship, American Academy of Dermatology
Mentoring Grant, Diversity Mentorship Program, American Academy of Dermatology
Mailing Address: 

For appointments with Dr. Simpson, please visit the UW Medicine website.

Research & Clinical Interests
Research Interests: 

Dr. Simpson’s research focuses on the skin, which serves as a protective shield between the human body and its environment. Dr. Simpson focuses on understanding the biology of skin cells called keratinocytes with the goal of understanding how they normally mature to form an effective barrier tissue and how they are compromised in skin disease.

To learn more about Dr. Simpson's research interests, visit the Simpson Lab wesbite.

Clinical Interests: 

Dr. Simpson’s clinical expertise includes skin blistering diseases such as pemphigus and pemphigoid as well as genetic skin barrier disorders such as ichthyoses and Darier disease. 


Selected Publications

Simpson CL, Tokito MK, Uppala R, Sarkar MK, Gudjonsson JE, Holzbaur EL. NIX initiates mitochondrial fragmentation via DRP1 to drive epidermal differentiation. Cell Reports. Feb 2; 34(5): 108689. PMID: 33535046

Moore AS, Coscia SM, Simpson CL, Ortega FE, Wait EC, Heddleston JM, Nirschl JJ, Obara CJ, Guedes-Dias P, Boecker CA, Chew T-L, Theriot JA, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Holzbaur EL. Actin cables and comet tails organize mitochondrial networks in mitosis. Nature. 2021 Mar; 591(7851): 659-664. PMID: 33658713

Tamazian S, Simpson CL: Autoimmune bullous disease in skin of color: A case series. JAAD Case Rep, 2020. 6(11):1173-8. PMID: 33145386

Wang LL, Moshiri AS, Novoa R, Simpson CL, Takeshita J, Payne AS, Chu EY (2020): Comparison of C3d immunohistochemical staining to ELISA and immunofluorescence for diagnosis of bullous pemphigoid.  J Amer Acad of Dermatol, 2020. 83(1):172-8. PMID: 32068042

Holmes AN, Chansky PB, Simpson CL: Teledermatology consultation can optimize treatment of cutaneous disease by non-dermatologists in under-resourced clinics. Telemed J E Health, 2020. 26(10):1284-90. PMID: 31800369