ASA Welcomes New Officers and Awards Research Grants

The American Skin Association (ASA) has appointed David Norris, MD, as its new president. Dr. Norris, chairman of the department of dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, will be taking over for Philip Prioleau, MD, who has held the position since 2014.

Dr. Norris has been on the faculty of the University of Colorado for 39 years and has supervised 25 trainees, many of whom have entered academic careers. He is the director of the NIAMS-funded P30 Skin Diseases Research Core Center at the University of Colorado Denver and is co-director of the NIAMS T32 training grant that has been funded for 34 years. For 12 years, Dr. Norris has also been funded by a Department of Veterans Affairs Merit Award to study drug combinations that kill melanoma by overcoming anti-apoptotic defenses, especially in melanoma initiating cells. He has been a member of the ASA since 1997, serving on its Board of Directors and as the chair of its Medical Advisory Committee.

“As chairman of ASA, I would like to congratulate Dr. David Norris. He has been an integral member of the ASA team for 20 years, and his insights and vision as our new president will help us to continue our most vital work of bettering the lives of those afflicted with skin cancers and diseases,” said Howard P. Milstein, chairman of ASA’s Board of Directors.

The ASA has also announced that Emma Guttman, MD, PhD, a renowned educator and researcher, will become a member of the Medical Advisory Committee. Dr. Guttman is vice chair of research in the Dermatology Department and a professor of dermatology and immunology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. She is also director of the Center for Excellence in Eczema and the Occupational/Contact Dermatitis Clinic, and the director of the Laboratory of Inflammatory Skin Diseases at Mount Sinai. Dr. Guttman brings her experience in atopic dermatitis/eczema, contact/occupational dermatitis, alopecia areata and psoriasis to the ASA Medical Advisory Committee.

“I am delighted that Dr. Guttman will be joining ASA’s Medical Advisory Committee. She has an exemplary record of success in the field of dermatology and will be a tremendous asset to ASA as we further our goals of improving the lives of individuals affected by skin cancers and inflammatory skin diseases. I look forward to her participation,” said Milstein.

The Association has also announced the funding of 18 research grants for 2017. Funding has been awarded in a variety of concentrations, including melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer, psoriasis and inflammatory diseases, vitiligo and pigment cell disorders, and childhood skin diseases.

“The doctors and medical students awarded these grants bring hope to the millions suffering from devastating skin cancers and diseases. ASA vows to continue our efforts so that our vital work can continue,” said Milstein. “We are extremely excited for the potential ground-breaking innovations these scientists and their projects may bring.”

Following are the recipients of the 2017 American Skin Association Research Scholar Awards and Research Grants:

  • ASA Carson Research Scholar Award in Psoriasis: Cory L. Simpson, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, “Role of Autophagy in Psoriasis Pathogenesis”
  • ASA Milstein Research Scholar Awards in Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer: Willy Hugo, PhD, UCLA Dermatology/Medicine, “A Novel Combination of MAPK and Immune Checkpoint Inhibition for Melanoma”
  • ASA Calder Research Scholar Award in Vitiligo/Pigment Cell Disorders: Jillian M. Richmond, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, “Determining Mechanisms of Melanocyte Killing in Vitiligo”
  • ASA Research Scholar Awards: Anjali Mishra, PhD, The Ohio State University, “Targeting IL-15 Signaling Pathway in Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma;” and Kavita Sarin, MD, PhD, Stanford University, “Repurposing Systemic Therapies to Improve Outcomes in Advanced Basal Cell Cancer”
  • ASA Research Grant for Psoriasis/Inflammatory Skin Diseases: Eddy Wang, PhD, The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, “Reversal of Alopecia Areata via Topical Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors”
  • ASA Research Grant for Childhood Skin Disease/Disfigurement: Joy Wan, MD, University of Pennsylvania, “Investigation of Systemic Medications and Phototherapy for Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis”
  • ASA Research Grant for Quality of Life/Health Services/Outcome Studies: Aaron M. Secrest, MD, PhD, University of Utah Dermatology, “The Effect of Pain and Pruritus on Quality of Life in Patients with Autoimmune Bullous Disease”
  • ASA Research Grant for Skin Cancer and Melanoma: Chiara Vardabasso, PhD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, “Towards Selective Inhibition of BET Proteins in Melanoma”
  • ASA Research Grant for Vitiligo and Pigment Cell Disorders: Victor Huang, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, “Variation of Serum and Local Inflammatory Markers in Individuals with Autoimmune Depigmentation”
  • ASA Hambrick Medical Student Grants Targeting Melanoma & Skin Cancer Research: Hyunje Grace Cho, Stanford School of Medicine, “Clinical and Genetic Risk Factors in Individuals with High Frequency of Basal Cell Carcinomas;” Anand Rajan, The Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles, “Evaluating the Role of AIM2 in Melanoma;” Sarah Ahmed, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, “Genetic Engineering of Melanoma - Targeting T-cells in Tumor-Bearing Host;” Amanda Truong, University of Utah School of Medicine, “Investigating Enhanced Melanoma Invasion as an Emergent Property of Targeted Therapy Resistance;” Michael F. Gowen, New York University School of Medicine, “Impact of a Germline Variant on Response to Target Therapy in BRAF Wild-type Melanoma;” Pooja Hitendra Rambhia, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, “Investigating the Functional Role of a Novel Germline XPC Mutation in a High Risk Melanoma Family;” Andrea Schneider, Penn State University College of Medicine, “IL-6 Drives the Expression of an EMT-like Phenotype in Squamous Cell Carcinomas;” and Edward Kim, Boston University School of Medicine, “p300 Mediates Melanoma Cell Growth and Survival Through the Transcriptional Regulation of MITF”
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