The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery recently held its second annual Celia & Samuel Resnik Research Day, featuring 28 oral and 32 poster presentations that highlighted the discoveries and accomplishments of the trainees, residents and faculty in its robust skin biology research and training programs.
“Skin biology research is very inspiring. Its multidisciplinary nature cuts across all designated pillars of our institutional research strategic plan, and serves as its unique platform,” said Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., the department’s vice chair of research, who served as a host and organizer of the research day. “The diversity of the topics was impressive, ranging from microbiome, inflammation and metabolome, to skin cancer, stem cell biology, neuroscience, tissue repair and regeneration and epidemiology.”
Of particular significance was the wide range of trainees who presented. Graduate students from Ph.D., M.D., and M.S. programs, undergraduate students, and post-doctoral fellows all gave presentations, and one session was dedicated exclusively to research done by Miller School residents.
Eleven research fellows graduated this year and received their certificates at the ceremony held at the end of the day. In August, the department will graduate the first class of the nation’s first master of science degree in skin biology and dermatological sciences program. This reflects the major effort of the department’s Research Division, which has 15 bench research faculty and 10 laboratories.
“In addition to an extraordinary dermatology residency clinical training program, in recent years we have strengthened research training in a major way by developing unique programs, such as Ph.D.-to-residency, a residency research track, and the master’s program in skin biology and dermatologic sciences,” said Tomic-Canic. “This only reinforces our efforts to continue with growth. Only a few days after this research day we submitted an important application to the NIH that seeks funds to establish the infrastructure for the new Skin Biology and Disease Resources-based Core Center that will open many new possibilities and attract colleagues from other disciplines to skin biology research.”
Research in the department is divided among multidisciplinary basic, translational and clinical research groups. The research efforts integrate basic science, preclinical studies, drug development, clinical and epidemiologic research.
This structure provides an environment in which basic science discoveries can be tested in a multitude of pre-clinical animal models, developed into potential therapy and tested in clinical trials. The research areas represented in the research base include aging, inflammation, microbiology, genomics, pharmacology, biochemistry, cell and stem cell biology, biochemistry and bacteriology, as well as clinical areas of research in cutaneous disorders that may be associated with biology/pathology of the eye, gastrointestinal tract, diabetes, cancer and paralysis, to name a few.
“Although our research expertise includes general skin disorders, our major areas of interest are biology, pathology and treatment of wound healing, skin cancer, itch, inflammation and skin infection, as well as a wide spectrum of hair disorders,” said Tomic-Canic. “Our goal is to utilize cutting-edge technologies to advance the science of skin biology and bring new discoveries from the bench to patients at the bedside.”