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2013 Award and Grant Recipients

Below are brief biographies for American Skin Association's 2013 grantees. Among the information included is the title of the grant, the name of the sponsoring institution and the focus of the grant recipient's research.

  • Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD
    Abby S. & Howard P. Milstein 2010 Innovation Award for Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research
    Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
    Topic: p53 rescue as a therapeutic strategy in melanoma

    Hensin Tsao is an Associate Professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Center, the oldest multi-disciplinary melanoma unit in the country.

    Dr. Tsao graduated from Brown University with a degree in biochemistry and English. In 1993, he received an MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a PhD in Biophysics/Biochemistry from Columbia University Graduate School of Arts of Sciences. He trained both in internal medicine and dermatology, including a melanoma fellowship at the Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Division of Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

  • Liang Liu, PhD

    Liang Liu, PhD
    2013 ASA Research Scholar Award for Melanoma, Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
    Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
    Topic: Epigenetic Regulation of Skin Photocarcinogenesis by Hairless

    Liang Liu is an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Dermatology at Columbia University. Dr. Liu completed his PhD at the Uppsala University, Sweden and received post-doctoral training on epigenetics and cancer biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He joined the Dermatology Department at Columbia University in 2010.

  • Hubing Shi, PhD

    Hubing Shi, PhD
    2013 ASA Research Scholar Award for Melanoma, Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
    University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine
    Topic: Kinhome and Epigentic Reprogramming in Response to V600EBRAF Targeting in Melanoma

    Hubing Shi received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Tsinghua University in China. Dr. Shi's cancer research experience began with melanoma angiogenesis and microenvironment study during his PhD thesis work. This experience provided Dr. Shi the opportunity to comprehensively understand melanoma oncogenesis, development, and metastasis as part of his postdoctoral work. Dr. Shi's plan is to develop a career aimed at identifying how to strangle tumor cells before they acquire resistant capability rather than struggle against the relapsed tumors.

  • Anne Lynn Chang, MD

    Anne Lynn Chang, MD
    2013 ASA Research Scholar Award for Melanoma, Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
    Stanford University School of Medicine
    Topic: Chemoresistance After Smoothened Inhibitor Treatment

    Anne Lynn Chang, MD is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is founding Director of the Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma Clinic, which accepts referrals from around the world. Dr. Chang graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed her residency training in dermatology at Stanford. Her goal is to improve treatments for patients with difficult-to-treat or life-threatening basal cell carcinomas by using molecular information from patient tumor samples to inform future clinical trials.

  • William Swindell, PhD

    William Swindell, PhD
    2013 Carson Research Scholar Award in Psoriasis
    University of Michigan Health System, Department of Dermatology
    Topic: Dissection of Inflammatory- and Cytokine-Driven Shifts in Gene Expression in Psoriasis Lesions

    William R. Swindell is a Research Investigator, University of Michigan, Department of Dermatology. Dr. Swindell completed his PhD in Genetics at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio), and his MSc degree in Statistics and Probability at Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan). Dr. Swindell received postdoctoral training at University of Michigan (Departments of Dermatology and Pathology) and Harvard Medical School (Department of Genetics).

  • Sulochana Bhandarkar, MD

    Sulochana Bhandarkar, MD
    2013 ASA Research Grant for Vitiligo/Pigment Cell Disorders
    Emory University School of Medicine
    Topic: Effectiveness of a Melanocyte Keratinocyte Transportation Procedure (MKTP) for Treatment of Stable Vitiligo: Pilot & Feasibility Study

    Sulochana Bhandarkar is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Emory University. She received her MD from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education in Mangalore, India. After completing her dermatology residency in India, Dr. Bhandarkar came to the US where she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of California in San Francisco. Dr. Bhandarkar then completed an additional postdoctoral fellowship, transitional medicine internship, and dermatology residency in the Department of Dermatology at Emory University.

  • Shadmehr Demehri, MD, PhD

    Shadmehr Demehri, MD, PhD
    2013 ASA Research Grant for Skin Cancer & Melanoma
    Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
    Topic: Local and Systemic Effects of Calcipotriol on Skin Cancer

    Shadmehr Demehri earned his BS in Biology at Washington State University in 2004 and his MD and PhD degrees from the Washington University in St. Louis in 2010. Dr. Demehri has continued his research in the field of cancer immunology during his residency training in dermatology as part of the Washington University Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP). Currently, he is investigating how the chemical inducers of TSLP can be utilized to treat skin cancer.

  • Jenny Kim, MD, PhD

    Jenny Kim, MD, PhD
    2013 ASA Research Grant for Childhood Skin Diseases & Disfigurement
    University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine
    Topic: The Role of Inflammasome in Acne Pathogenesis

    Dr. Jenny Kim received her M.D. and PhD at UCLA and is an Associate Professor of the Dermatology Division at UCLA as well as the Chief of Dermatology at the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System VA. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Kim's laboratory has focused on the investigation of immune responses and host defense mechanisms in the skin. To study these mechanisms in the skin, her lab utilizes common skin conditions such as acne vulgaris, wound healing, skin aging, and skin cancer as models. Dr. Kim's laboratory demonstrated the importance of host innate immune responses in disease progression, including the evidence that normal skin microbe, Propionibacterium acnes can elicit inflammation via Toll-like receptors 2 and inflammasomes. Her lab also discovered that the human sebocytes are not only sebum producing cells but rather, important innate immune cells. Her lab is also focused on translational-based research, taking bench findings to pre-clinical to develop novel therapeutics that could be made for treatment of human skin diseases.

  • Javed Mohammed, PhD

    Javed Mohammed, PhD
    2013 ASA Research Grant for Autoimmune & Inflammatory Skin Diseases
    Regents of the University of Minnesota
    Topic: Keratinocytes Control Homeostatic and Inflammation Induced Langerhans Cell Migration

    Javed Mohammed is a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, Department of Dermatology. Dr. Mohammed earned his DVM from Acharya N. G. Ranga Agriculture University, India, and his PhD from University of Connecticut. He did a post-doctoral fellowship at Pennsylvania State University before moving to the twin cities.

  • Sylviane Lambert, PhD

    Sylviane Lambert, PhD
    2013 ASA Research Grant for Psoriasis
    University of Michigan Health System, Department of Dermatology
    Topic: Role of Psoriasis-Associated TRAF31P2 Coding Variants in IL17 and TNF Signaling in Keratinocytes

    Slyviane Lambert is a Research Associate in University of Michigan's Department of Dermatology where she also held a Post-Doctoral Fellow. She received her undergraduate degree, Master's, and PhD from the University of Namur in Belgium where she studied the localization and processing of the EGFR in cholesterol depleted keratinocytes.

  • Esther Freeman, MD

    Esther Freeman, MD
    2013 ASA Research Grant for Quality of Life Study
    Massachusetts General Hospital
    Topic: Risk of Kaposi's Saracoma in HIV Infected and Uninfected Patients in North America in the ART Era

    Esther E. Freeman MD, PhD is an Instructor in Dermatology at Harvard Medical School. She received both an MSc and a PhD in infectious disease epidemiology as a British Marshall Scholar at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom. She received her medical degree (MD) from Harvard Medical School. She completed her internship at Lahey Clinic, followed by dermatology residency at Harvard Medical School.

    Dr. Freeman is a physician-scientist performing epidemiological research in the area of HIV dermatology and global health. Her particular area of interest is in HIV-associated malignancies including Kaposi's sarcoma. She has received the most highly cited author award in Epidemiology in AIDS. She is a consultant to the World Health Organization in Geneva in the area of HIV-associated skin disease and is the Director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

  • Annemieke de Jong, MD

    Annemieke de Jong, MD
    2013 ASA Research Grant
    Columbia University Medical Center
    Topic: Role of CD1a in the Development of Psoriasis

    Annemieke de Jong is an associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center, department of Dermatology. Dr. de Jong received her PhD from Leiden University in the Netherlands, after which she completed her postdoctoral training at Brigham and Women's Hospital / Harvard Medical School in Boston.

  • Randie Kim, MD, PhD

    Randie Kim, MD, PhD
    2013 ASA Research Grant
    New York University School of Medicine
    Topic: Investigating the Intestinal and Cutaneous Microbiome in Patients with Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

    Randie Kim is currently a second year dermatology resident at New York University. Prior to that, she completed a Transitional Year Internship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Kim received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology in 2003. Dr. Kim then completed a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2009 and received my MD in 2011 from University of California, Davis.

  • Lori Fiessinger

    Lori Fiessinger
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    University Hospital at Case Medical Center
    Topic: Contribution of MDSCs and IFN-y to the Pathogenesis of Malignant Melanoma

    Lori Fiessinger is originally from Middletown, OH. She graduated summa cum laude with a BS in microbiology from The Ohio State University. While there, she developed an interest in cancer immunology. Lori is currently a fourth year medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University completing a dedicated year of research in melanoma.

  • Sara Harcharik

    Sara Harcharik
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine
    Topic: Defining the Role of D2 in Disease Progression and Overall Survival Among Patients With Melanoma

    Sara Harcharik is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in Biology and Economics. She is currently a fourth year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and has devoted a year to investigating gene expression in melanoma.

  • Rebecca Hartman, MD

    Rebecca Hartman, MD
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
    Topic: Modeling Decreased Indoor Tanning Utilization: Impact on Melanoma Incidence and Mortality

    Rebecca Hartman received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and earned a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University. She is currently attending the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is investigating the impact of indoor tanning on melanoma incidence and mortality in the United States. She is originally from Potomac, Maryland.

  • Mary Larijani

    Mary Larijani
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
    Topic: Non-viral T Cell Engineering for Melanoma Immunotargeting

    Mary Larijani received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, where she majored in Neuroscience and minored in Gender and Health. She is currently a third year medical student at Jefferson Medical College. She is originally from Wayne, Pennsylvania.

  • Nayoung Lee

    Nayoung Lee
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital
    Topic: Identifications of Merkel Cell Carcinoma Initiating Cells and their Significance in Chemoresistance

    Nayoung Lee graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Biology. She is currently a fourth year medical student at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and has devoted a year to pursue research on cancer stem cells in cutaneous malignancies under the mentorship of Dr. Tobias Schatton at the Department of Dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She plans on applying for residency in Dermatology this year. Nayoung was born in South Korea and was raised in Boxborough, MA.

  • Scott Lindsey

    Scott Lindsey
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    Stanford University School of Medicine
    Topic: A Potential Role for Rec8 in Genomic Instability During Melanomagenesis

    Scott Lindsey is originally from Winter Park, Florida. He graduated cum laude from the Honors College and the University of Florida in 2008. After graduating, he spent a year working as a research associate in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Florida where he studied the pathogenesis and lifecycle of poxvirus. He then attended the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where he is currently studying the role of meiosis proteins in the development of melanoma. He will be applying for dermatology residency positions this year.

  • Matthew Ning

    Matthew Ning
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    Topic: MicroRNAs as Markers and Therapeutic Targets in Merkel Cell Carcinoma

    Matthew Ning is a third-year medical student at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He grew up in Northern Virginia and received his BS in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech, where he was named the Outstanding Graduating Senior of the College of Science in 2011.

  • Keith Roby

    Keith Roby
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
    Topic: Role of Human Antimicrobial Peptide Cathelicidin and Mast Cells in IL-9 Mediated Melanoma Immunity

    Keith Roby is a fourth year medical student at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from UCSD and spent several years after graduation working in a Systems Neurobiology laboratory at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA. He was born in Naples, Italy and grew up in San Diego, CA.

  • Eva Simanyi

    Eva Simanyi
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    University of Alabama School of Medicine
    Topic: Role of p53 in Modulation of Toll Like Receptor Mediated UV Radiation Induced Cutaneous Responses

    Eva Simanyi is a second year medical student at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences at Auburn University in 2011. She was born in Budapest, Hungary, and moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 1999.

  • Nicholas Theodosakis

    Nicholas Theodosakis
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    Yale University School of Medicine
    Topic: Metabolic Reprogramming of Melanoma by BRAF Inhibitors: Determination of the Mechanism of Inhibition

    Nicolas Theodosakis is a third year medical student in the Yale School of Medicine's MD/PhD program. Nick graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia in 2008 with a distinguished BSc in Biochemistry and a BA in Psychology. At UVA, he served as a research assistant in the lab of David Jones, MD studying correlations between PET scanning and the presence of select tumor biomarkers in the setting of lung and esophageal cancer. He also spent two summers in the lab of Malcolm Brock, MD at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute studying lung cancer epigenetics. Additionally, Nick spent 6 months in Tokyo, Japan researching the use of methylation profiling as a prognostic tool in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. At Yale, Nick conducts research into melanoma metabolomics in the lab of Marcus Bosenberg, MD, PhD. He is originally from Newport News, Virginia.

  • Karen Yan

    Karen Yan
    2013 Medical Student Grant Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
    Stanford University School of Medicine
    Topic: Elucidating the Role of MITF in Melanoma Resistant to Targeted BRAF Inhibition

    Karen Yan was born and raised in San Francisco Bay Area. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from UCLA where she conducted translational research in non-small cell lung cancer. She is currently a third year medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine. A personal learning objective is to combine research endeavors and clinical practice in her future career in medicine.

Recipients list by year: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

Complete List of Research Grant & Award Recipients