Two Miller School Dermatology Researchers Also Recognized at Global Symposium
William H. Eaglstein, M.D., chair emeritus of the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wound Healing Society for his numerous contributions to the field.
In addition, Ivan Jozic, Ph.D., a post-doctoral associate, received the Young Investigator Award, and George Glinos, M.D., a recent Miller School graduate, won the Anita Roberts Award at the Wound Healing Society and Symposium of Advanced Wound Care (SAWC) spring joint meeting in Charlotte, N.C. Both were mentored by Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., vice chair of research and professor of dermatology, director of the Wound Healing and Regenerative Medicine Research Program, and immediate past president of the Wound Healing Society (WHS).
Eaglstein's award was presented by Tomic-Canic and Elof Eriksson, M.D., the current WHS president.
“This is unique occasion where Bill Eaglstein, founder of the wound healing research at our department more than 40 years ago, was recognized at the same time as two of our trainees,” said Robert S. Kirsner, M.D., Ph.D., chairman and Harvey Blank Professor in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, professor of epidemiology and public health, and director of the UHealth Tower Wound Center. He was also co-chair of the 2018 SAWC/WHS meeting, the world’s largest multidisciplinary conference dedicated to the advancement of wound care and healing.
Kirsner, who was a wound healing fellow with Eaglstein before joining the faculty, added, “Bill’s many research findings, observations and novel treatments at UM include the development of the porcine model of wound healing, the use of occlusive dressings, the study of bioengineered skin, the concept of biofilms inhibiting healing, and the pioneering study and use of cyanoacrylate dressings.”
A notable career
Eaglstein himself trained under the department’s first chair, Harvey Blank, M.D., as a resident and faculty member. He served as chairman of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh for six years before returning to UM and leading the department for 17 years through 2003.
“I became interested in wound care after studying inflammation of the skin caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays,” said Eaglstein. Working with his longtime colleague, the late Patricia Mertz, Eaglstein saw that wound healing involved the inside and bottom of wounds, not just the edges. “That taught us about partial thickness wound healing, a concept that was not widely appreciated in the medical community at that time,” he said.
Another of Eaglstein’s contributions to the field was the promotion of the idea that keeping wounds moist would accelerate the healing process.
“In the late 1970s, doctors were taught to keep wounds dry,” he said. “Today, keeping wounds moist is standard practice.”
Eaglstein and Mertz, along with their research colleague Professor Stephen C. Davis, were also among the first to point out that the bacteria in a chronic wound typically form a surface biofilm — a discovery now being studied by researchers around the world.
Along with his scientific contributions, Eaglstein was dedicated to medical education, mentoring members of his departments, and in the wound healing field mentoring dermatologic surgeons, scientists, and medical and cosmetic dermatologists.
Continuing the legacy of leadership
Pointing to the WHS awards to Jozic and Glinos, Tomic-Canic said, “Our department has a tremendous legacy of leadership in wound healing, and the next generation of researchers will continue that tradition.”
In earning the Young Investigator Award, Jozic delivered a presentation on his research into caveolin-1 (cav1), a protein associated with antibodies, in non-healing chronic wounds.
“When wounds are healing, there is a downregulation of cav1 right at the wound edge, but in non-healing chronic wounds, there is a clear upregulation of expression of this protein,” Jozic said. “I found that knocking out cav1 accelerated wound closure similarly to pharmacologic inhibition by corticosteroids. This research has shed light on how cav1 can potentially serve as a biomarker of non-healing chronic wounds, which can be of huge clinical importance.”
Jozic, who will be joining the department’s faculty, will represent the Wound Healing Society at the next European Tissue Repair Society meeting in Munich in 2019.
Glinos, who earned his medical degree in May, won the Anita Roberts Award for a graduate student or post-doctoral trainee with the best research article, as a first author, published in the journal Wound Repair and Regeneration. His study, “Optical Coherence Tomography for Assessment of Epithelialization in a Human Ex Vivo Wound Model,” conducted with Irena Pastar, Ph.D., research associate professor, and a multi-disciplinary collaborative team of UM clinicians and scientists, looked at the potential for using “optical biopsies” to examine the healing process.
“The current standard for assessment of wound healing is histomorphometric analysis, which is labor intensive, time consuming, and requires in-depth analysis,” Glinos said. “OCT avoids the deleterious effects of tissue processing, and shows promise for its applications in wound healing and evaluation of novel therapeutics in both the laboratory and the clinical settings.”
Reflecting on the ongoing research in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, Kirsner said nine faculty members in the department now have studies related to wound healing, including seven federally funded initiatives. He added, “Our research and our talent pipelines are strong.”