The Dermatology Branch conducts clinical and basic investigations of skin biology and researches the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of skin disease. Biochemical and biological studies of skin are carried out in the laboratories and the clinic. Research areas include:
- The skin as an immunological organ and the role of tissue-leukocyte-microbiota crosstalk in mediating immunological and structural homeostasis.
- Inflammatory skin diseases in patients and in murine models.
- The human microbiome in healthy individuals as well as patients with atopic dermatitis and selected primary immunodeficiencies.
- Long-term clinical and laboratory studies and investigator-initiated therapeutic trials in chronic graft-versus-host disease.
- Skin stem cells.
- Cutaneous malignancies, including Merkel cell carcinoma.
Observational and interventional clinical studies are conducted in the Branch involving patients with a broad range of diseases. Some studies are led by Branch investigators while others are performed in collaboration with outside investigators.
Led by Edward W. Cowen, M.D., M.H.Sc., the Dermatology Consultation Service is one of the busiest clinical services in the NIH Clinical Research Center and is responsible for all outpatient and inpatient dermatologic care. It evaluates and treats patients with a variety of rare diseases with cutaneous manifestations as well as any patients who experience adverse reactions to experimental therapeutic agents or manifest unrelated skin conditions while at the NIH.
Led by Isaac Brownell, M.D., Ph.D., the lab studies signaling pathways, such as Hedgehog signaling, that regulate the development and maintenance of normal skin, and the changes in these signals that occur during the formation of skin cancer.
Led by Heidi H. Kong, M.D., M.H.Sc., the lab studies the skin microbiome in healthy individuals with the goal of expanding our understanding of host-microbe interactions.
Led by Keisuke (Chris) Nagao, M.D., Ph.D., the lab studies hair follicle (HF) immunology and mechanisms of microbiome-driven eczematous inflammation in mice.
The Dermatology Branch has a long tradition as a laboratory and clinical fellowship training center. Many of our fellows have gone on to become outstanding physician/scientists and leaders in investigative dermatology in the United States and abroad. Learn more about our training programs.