Printer icon

Press Release

March 7, 2018

Kathleen Reichert
American Skin Association


March 7, 2018 - New York, NY – Over more than 30 years American Skin Association (ASA) and its affiliates have funded more than $50 million in grants to address the causes and treatments of melanoma, vitiligo and psoriasis, as well as other skin diseases, and to search for long sought-after cures. Today ASA continues its long history of awarding significant grants by announcing the funding of 13 critical research grants for 2018.

The coveted ASA Milstein Research Scholar Award for Melanoma/Non-melanoma Skin Cancer has been awarded to Carolyn Lee, MD, PhD from Stanford University for her research on "Non-Coding Driver Mutations in High-Risk Skin Cancer." Dr. Lee is a specialist in the management of patients at a high risk for developing skin cancer. She graduated with honors from Yale University and received her MD and PhD from Georgetown University.

The ASA Milstein Research Scholar Award for Melanoma/Non-melanoma Skin Cancer is made possible through the generosity of the Milstein Family. Howard P. Milstein, Chairman of ASA, and his family are dedicated to funding significant dermatological research to further ASA’s mission of defeating melanoma, skin cancer, and other skin diseases.

"Although one in three Americans suffers from skin disorders, the National Institutes of Health devotes less than 2% of its annual budget to discovering their causes or improving methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment," said Howard P. Milstein. "The skin is our largest and perhaps most vulnerable organ, yet dermatological research continues to be one of the most underfunded areas of medicine. With these annual awards and grants, ASA continues its work to help close that gap."

ASA's Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) is composed of leading physicians and scientists who oversee the annual grant review and award process. Through MAC's leadership the ASA grant program has supported the work of nearly 300 investigators, ranging from talented young researchers in the early phases of their careers to recognized leaders in the field of dermatology.

ASA provides highly significant special research awards to established investigators studying melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer and skin diseases. Through these grants, ASA has promoted the early careers of many gifted young investigators and has had a most profound impact on both dermatology research and clinical care of dermatologic disease. 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 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 2018 American Skin Association Research Scholar Awards and Research Grants:

ASA Milstein Research Scholar Award in Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
Carolyn Lee, MD, PhD
Stanford University
Non-Coding Driver Mutations in High-Risk Skin Cancer

ASA Calder Research Scholar Award Vitiligo/Pigment Cell Disorders
Jonathan Zippin, MD
Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Novel cAMP Signaling Pathway Regulates Melanosome pH and Pigmentation

ASA Research Grant for Skin Cancer and Melanoma
David Miller, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
JAK1 Inhibition to Overcome BRAF/MEK Inhibitor Resistance In V600-BRAF Mutant Melanoma

ASA Mulvaney Family Foundation Research Grant for Vitiligo and Pigment Cell Disorders
Mayumi Ito, PhD
New York University School of Medicine
Understanding Mechanisms for Melanocyte Regeneration Through Stem Cell Biology

ASA Research Grant for Psoriasis/Inflammatory Skin Diseases
Gwennaelle Monnot, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
Identification of Pathogenic T Cell Receptor Chains in Alopecia Areata Using Single Cell Sequencing

ASA Research Grant for Quality of Life/Health Services/Outcome Studies
Howa Yeung, MD
Emory University School of Medicine
Quality of Life Impact from Cutaneous Toxicity of Immunotherapy for Melanoma

ASA Research Grant for Childhood Skin Diseases/Disfigurement
Bryan Sun, MD, PhD
University of California San Diego
Impact of Becker’s Nevus-Associated ACTB Mutations on Hedgehog Signaling

ASA Hambrick Medical Student Grants Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer
Mack Su
Massachusetts General Hospital
Enhancing Response To Immune Checkpoint Blockade In Melanoma

Nicole Urman
Stanford Dermatology
Phase 2 Trial of Topical Remetinostat for Basal Cell Carcinoma

Albert Young
University of California, San Francisco
Using a Deep Learning Algorithm to Diagnose Melanoma from Digital Images

Aubriana McEvoy
University of Washington
Calculating Outcomes in Merkel Cell Carcinoma: A Multivariate Risk Analysis Tool

Khiem Tran
University of Arizona College of Medicine
The Role of man1a1 in Immune Evasion During Progression of Melanoma

Todd Wechter
New York University School of Medicine
Targeting EZH2 In the Treatment of Non-Sun-Exposed Melanoma


A unique collaboration of patients, families, advocates, physicians and scientists, ASA has evolved over thirty 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,