Driving Innovation in Dermatology

Researcher using pipette in chemical fume hood

Our faculty and investigators conduct cutting-edge basic research and clinical trials and publish in the world’s leading dermatologic journals on skin, hair and nail disorders and diseases.

Dr. Nghiem assisting a researcher at a computer
Researcher holding petri dish
Merkel cells
This is unpublished


UW Dermatology is one of the top funded research departments in the nation in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Our faculty and investigators conduct cutting-edge basic research and clinical trials and publish in the world’s leading dermatologic journals on skin, hair and nail disorders and diseases.


Faculty Research Interests

Faculty investigators have broad research interests, from basic science research related to dermatology and skin diseases, as well as translational research and clinical trials.

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Dr. Nghiem and researcher reviewing pathology slides

Research Laboratories

The Department of Dermatology is home to several labs and centers that provide national stewardship on novel skin conditions, including cancer, and innovative tracking and treatment modalities. 

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child reading book

Featured Publication

How do we teach and talk about sun safety for children of all skin tones? Resident Dr. Anna Tappel and team have analyzed this question in a recent Pediatric Dermatology article: "Fair‐y Tales: An analysis of children’s books about sun safety". The authors found 17 children's books mentioning at least one sun safety practice. Most books featured several, but few featured all, of the AAD's sun protection guidelines, and there is much room for improvement in representing darker skin tones.

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Research By the Numbers

$18.5 M — Current Grant Funding

46,000+ — Total Citations

7 — 2020 Publications

UW Derm Publications 2015-2020

The UW Derm team has been actively expanding our research productivity. Over the last 5 years, dermatology faculty, trainees and lab members have doubled their number of scholarly publications from 34 in 2015 to 72 in 2020.

Publications accounted for have at least one UW Derm affiliated author at the time of publication. Many publications have multiple UW Derm co-authors as well as co-author collaborators from within the UW Medicine system, the dermatology community in Seattle and across the nation. Of the articles published between 2015-2020, almost 40% were published in “high-impact” journals in dermatology, journals that are highly cited by fellow researchers in the field.

Individual articles are also widely accepted and referenced by fellow researchers, with all articles published from the Department having been cited by over 46,000 other articles.  

Chart showing increase in publications

Active Research Projects

The Department of Dermatology currently has 16 active industry, NIH and foundation funded research projects and clinical trials, and faculty and trainees are currently pursuing independent research and scholarly work on over 100 projects and topics. Projects focus in a number of areas related to dermatology, with some specifically including:

  • Quality improvement projects including education and process improvements in dermatology (including teledermatology, interpreter services, volunteerism, mentorship and professional stewardship);
  • Gender-equity among academic dermatologists and trainees;
  • Dermatology needs for skin of color and LGBTQ community members
  • New therapeutic and diagnosis strategies for skin conditions including hidradenitis suppurative, Liveoid vasculopathy, t-cell lymphoma, melanoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma.
Merkel cell illustration

Merkel cell carcinoma

The Nghiem laboratory is simultaneously pursuing over 40 research questions related to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Merkel cell carcinoma. Some of their recent developments include changing the practice standards related to the surgical treatment of MCC and recent updates to the suggested approach to imaging for management of MCC in newly diagnosed patients. The team is also working to develop a therapeutic vaccine to prevent recurrence of MCC in patients for which initial surgery and/or radiation removes all evident cancer.

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Researcher working with petri dishes With a faculty that is actively engaged in research and mentorship, residents have the opportunity to pursue any number of research interests. The Resident Research and Career Building Elective provides protected, non-clinical time for residents to participate in mentored-research projects. The first residents to participate in this newly initiated elective are Drs. Rachael Ward and Jason Ya for the 2021 academic year.