Dermatology & Global Health

Dr. Sigrid Collier's research is focused on improving access and quality of care for skin disease in underserved and vulnerable populations around the world.  She has an ongoing research project characterizing the burden and epidemiology of skin disease among the refugee population in the United States. She is also currently developing projects focused on the application of implementation science to dermatologic care for underserved populations in the United States and in East Africa. Domestically, Dr. Collier is investigating diagnostic accuracy in severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCARs). 

Quality Improvement and Dermatology Education

Dr. Roy Colven’s investigative interests include validation of store and forward telemedicine for dermatologic consultation and the impact of case-based learning on practice behavior. Dr. Colven is also exploring  the impact of interpreter use in understanding instructions, in follow up, and in treatment outcome among non-English language dermatology clinic patients. As Program Director of the Dermatology Residency Program, Dr. Colven is interested in evaluating curriculum developments and professional stewardship programs for improving resident education and engagement.

Ichthyoses and Nail Disease

Dr. Philip Fleckman’s research focuses on the following: the pathophysiology of the ichthyoses, clinical aspects of nail disease. He created and maintains, together with scientists at Yale University, the National Registry for Ichthyosis and Related Disorders, a large reference database of individuals affected by ichthyosis which serves as a valuable resource for investigators of this disorder around the world.

Multidisciplinary Research

Dr. Andrea Kalus is the Co-Director of the Rheumatology-Dermatology Clinic at the University of Washington and the Director of the Phototherapy Unit.  Her clinical interests include autoimmune disease, complex medical dermatology and phototherapy.  Dr. Kalus partners with multidisciplinary research teams to investigate conditions like lupus, dermatomyositis and skin changes in patients with medical conditions like diabetes.  Her teaching and curricular interests include incorporating the humanities into medical student and resident education.

Skin Cancer

Dr. Masaoki Kawasumi is the Principle Investigator of the Kawasumi Lab, pursuing research questions related to Ultraviolet-induced damage to skin cells and the effects of caffeine on the prevention of skin cancer. Ultraviolet (UV) from one-hour sunlight generates 100,000 DNA lesions per cell that are potentially mutagenic, leading to the most prevalent cancers in humans. Understanding how cells respond to UV-induced DNA lesions could be helpful to selectively kill DNA-damaged cells and prevent UV-associated skin cancers. 

Strikingly, multiple human epidemiological studies demonstrated that caffeinated coffee intake is associated with decreased risks of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer and melanoma. The Kawasumi Lab seeks to understand this connection and harness it to create strategies to reduce the incidence of skin cancer.

Merkel cell carcinoma

Dr. Paul Nghiem’s research focuses on the biology, treatment and prevention of skin cancers. A major interest is in the biology and optimal therapy of Merkel cell carcinoma—a relatively rare, but often lethal form of skin cancer that is typically caused in part by a virus that is commonly on our normal skin, the Merkel cell polyomavirus. Dr. Nghiem's team has created a large data and specimen Repository for Merkel cell carcinoma to learn more about this challenging disease. The T lymphocyte immune response appears to play a central role in fighting this cancer and a key goal is to find effective means of stimulating relevant immune function in MCC patients.  A second major interest is the role of the protein kinases ATR and Chk1 in the ‘replication checkpoint’--a key aspect of the response of cells to ultraviolet DNA damage. Caffeine intake is associated with decreased skin cancer rates and this appears to be via inhibiting the function of ATR (promoting death of pre-malignant/UV-damaged cells).  

Teledermatology

Dr. Greg Raugi, following a three-year project funded by the Office of Rural Health to implement and evaluate a regional teledermatology program in VISN 20 (Northwest Network) of the VA, has received strong administrative and financial support to continue and expand teledermatology to include the regional urban centers. The pilot and feasibility project has become an independent Section in the Hospital and Specialty Service Line. While continuing to provide essential clinical services to Veterans in the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Raugi is continuing to develop and implement new evaluative methods for teledermatology services with the intent of improving the quality, timeliness, and effectiveness of Teledermatology care and improving the access to traditional dermatology services.

Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma

Dr. Michi Shinohara established a multidisciplinary Clinic for Cutaneous Lymphomas at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in 2013. Her research interests include investigating the quality of life in patients with cutaneous lymphoma, and clinical trials investigating novel therapies for patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. She is the current Principle Investigator of SOLAR: A Phase 2, Randomized, Open-label, Parallel-group, Active Comparator, Multi-center Study to Investigate the Efficacy and Safety of Cobomarsen (MRG-106) in Subjects with Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL), Mycosis Fungoides (MF) Subtype.