Department of Dermatology


The Department’s research program has made several innovative contributions in the areas of science and technology related to clinical medicine, particularly in the areas of vaccine design and immunotherapy. These accomplishments have been recognized by publication in the most highly regarded peer-reviewed medical journals, including top ranked nature journals journal Nature Medicine and Nature Immunology, and by considerable external funding through competitively awarded NIH research grants. This work has also resulted in considerable intellectual property, and many of these innovative discoveries are now being actively developed by several biotechnology companies. Major areas of investigation within the Department and selected Department research accomplishments include those summarized below.

In addition to these well established research programs, the Department has recently established new, competitively-funded initiatives in Melanoma Immunotherapy, Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma Immunotherapy, HIV Immunotherapy, and Vaccine Development for Biodefense. In collaboration with Dr. Simon Watkins, department investigators are currently developing novel applications of confocal microscopy for the real-time, in situ diagnosis of cutaneous diseases, including cutaneous cancers such as melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. These imaging efforts are summarized in recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette articles "Seeing Skin Deep" and "Confocal Applications."

Cutaneous Immunobiology and Genetic Immunization

Department investigators' findings—which have been published in prominent journals including Nature Medicine, Gene Therapy, and Nature Immunology—come from pioneering cutaneous immunobiology and genetic immunization. Read more about these studies and view abstracts from the departmental researchers' published work.

Dendritic Cell Biology, Vaccines, and Immunotherapies

Department investigators have published a series of articles demonstrating the feasibility of utilizing dendritic cells for Immunoregulation, including the development of adoptive transfer therapies for cancer and infectious diseases. Read more about the ongoing studies and clinical trials which are in developed as commercial spin-off companies here.

Research Labs

The Department of Dermatology operates seven labs that focus on ground-breaking research across all areas of dermatological study. 

Clinical Research

The Department of Dermatology offers patients access to cutting edge therapies through the Department’s Clinical Trials program.  Please see the Clinical Research page for more information, including current studies and contact information.