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Press Release

March 25, 2016

Kathleen Reichert
American Skin Association

American Skin Association Announces 2016 Research Scholar Awards and Research Grants

March 25, 2016 - New York, New York – As American Skin Association (ASA) celebrates 29 years of promoting good skin health through research and education, they continue their long history of awarding significant research grants by announcing the funding of 18 grants for 2016. Grants are concentrated in various areas: melanoma, non-melanoma, skin cancer, psoriasis and inflammatory diseases, vitiligo and pigment cell disorders, and childhood skin diseases. Although recipients have pursued investigations in subjects ranging from acne to stem cell replacement, many have chosen to focus on melanoma, the most fatal of all skin diseases.

In 2016, two Milstein Research Scholar Awards for Melanoma/Non-melanoma Skin Cancer have been awarded. The recipients are Dr. Willy Hugo from UCLA Dermatology/Medicine on the "Combinatorial MAPK and Immune Checkpoint Inhibition in Melanoma" and Dr. Tobias Schatton of Brigham and Women's Hospital for his research, "Immune and Tumor Cell Intrinsic Roles of the PD-1 Checkpoint Receptor in Melanoma." A list of all grants awarded can be found below.

"We are excited for the potential ground-breaking innovations these scientists and their projects may bring. The doctors and medical students awarded these grants offer hope to the millions suffering from devastating skin cancers and diseases. ASA looks forward to continuing our efforts so that their vital work can go on," said Howard P. Milstein, Chairman of ASA.

Although the skin is our largest and perhaps most vulnerable organ, dermatological research remains one of the most underfunded areas of medicine. While one in three Americans suffers from skin disorders, the National Institutes of Health devotes less than 2% of its annual budget to discovering their cause and finding better methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. ASA's Medical Advisory Committee, comprised of leading physicians and scientists, oversees the annual grant review and award process. Under its aegis, the program has supported the work of more than 200 investigators, ranging from gifted young researchers in the earliest phases of their careers to acknowledged leaders in the field.

ASA has also provided highly significant special research awards to established investigators studying melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. ASA has promoted the early careers of many talented young investigators, and has had a profound positive impact on both dermatology research and clinical care of dermatologic disease. The cutting edge work Research Scholar awardees in areas such as antimicrobial peptide research, skin stem cell function, wound healing, and skin cancer has laid the groundwork for better treatments of infection, hair loss, and cancer. In particular, ASA-funded researchers have had a broad impact on melanoma research, improving our understanding of its diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Through an exclusive focus on skin disease research, ASA has helped to open new frontiers in skin science, producing results that can change how we understand and treat skin disease.

The following are the recipients of the 2016 American Skin Association Research Scholar Awards and Research Grants:

Carson Research Scholar Award in Psoriasis
Dr. Jean Christopher Chamcheu
Board of Regents of UW System
Role of PI3K/Akt/mTOR Signaling and its Targeting in Psoriasis Pathogenesis and Treatment

Milstein Research Scholar Awards in Melanoma/Non-melanoma Skin Cancer
Dr. Willy Hugo
UCLA Dermatology/Medicine
Combinatorial MAPK and Immune Checkpoint Inhibition in Melanoma

Dr. Tobias Schatton
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Immune and Tumor Cell Intrinsic Roles of the PD-1 Checkpoint Receptor in Melanoma

Calder Research Scholar Award in Vitiligo/Pigment Cell Disorders
Dr. Jillian Richmond
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Determining the Contributions of Dermal Resident and Recruited Cells in Vitiligo

Research Scholar Award
Dr. Panteleimon Rompolas
University of Pennsylvania
Elucidating The Molecular Mechanism of Stem Cell Fate in Hair Follicle Regeneration

Research Grants

Psoriasis/Inflammatory Skin Diseases
Dr. Haley Naik
University of California, San Francisco
A Pilot Study Examining Skin Microbiome Shifts in Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Dr. Teal Furnholm
University of Michigan
Global Metabolome Analysis to Elucidate Microbiome Involvement in Psoriasis

Childhood Skin Disease/Disfigurement
Dr. Jennifer Huang
Boston Children’s Hospital
Melanoma and Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer in Children and Young Adults with Iatrogenic Risk Factors

Quality of Life/Health Services/Outcome Studies
Dr. Arianne Kourosh
Massachusetts General Hospital
Avatoras – A Telehealth Innovation to Address Access & Compliance Barriers for Chronic Skin Disease

Mandelbaum Research Grant for Skin Cancer and Melanoma
Dr. Thomas Strub
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Hess Center for Science and Medicine
Epigenetic Regulation Underlying Melanoma Resistance to MAPK Signaling Inhibitors

Mulvaney Family Foundation Research Grant for Vitiligo and Pigment Cell Disorders
Dr. Prashiela Manga
New York University School of Medicine
Delineating Cellular Stress Response Pathways Implicated in the Onset of Vitiligo

Medical Student Grants Targeting Melanoma & Skin Cancer Research
Ms. Sarah Ahmed
Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
Intralesional and Intradermal Non-Viral Genetic Engineering of Melanoma-Targeting T Cells

Ms. Allison Dobry
Harvard Medical School
Testing Inhibitors of NRSA-Associated Pathways as Potential Therapeutic Strategies for Preclinical Models of Congenital Giant Nevi

Ms. Madeleine Gantz
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Investigation of BET Proteins as Prognostic and Therapeutic Tools for Melanoma

Mr. Charles Gast
Oregon Health & Science University
Cancer-Macrophage Fusion as a Mechanism for Metastatic Disease in Melanoma

Ms. Chloe Goldman
New York University of Medicine
Metabolic Reprogramming and Its Association with Invasion in Melanoma

Mr. Sanghee Lim
Boston University School of Medicine
Defining Novel Mechanisms of Genome Instability in Melanoma

Ms. Caroline Tan
Stanford University School of Medicine
Understanding the Genetic Etiology of Basosquamous Carcinomas


A four star Charity Navigator charity with 501(c)(3) status, American Skin Association is a unique collaboration of patients, families, advocates, physicians and scientists, ASA has evolved over twenty-nine years as a leading force in efforts to defeat melanoma, skin cancer and other skin diseases. Established to serve the now more than 100 million Americans – one third of the U.S. population – afflicted with skin disorders, the organization’s mission remains to advance research, champion skin health, particularly among children, and drive public awareness about skin disease. For more information, visit