Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Skin Disease Research Center

News and Announcements

Read the latest news from the Skin Disease Research Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The links below take you to articles where you can learn more about the center, our leadership and our member’s latest achievements.

Announcements

  • Eversight announces grant award for Northwestern University researcher, Han Peng, PhD
    08.18.2017

    hp1

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Eversight, a global nonprofit network of eye banks, has awarded a $15,000 Eye and Vision Research Grant to Northwestern University’s Han Peng, Ph.D.

    Dr. Peng was among nine recipients who received grants from Eversight for projects that aligned with the organization’s mission to restore sight and prevent blindness. The awards were determined by an independent review panel composed of distinguished scientists, ophthalmologists and health services researchers.

    Dr. Peng, a research assistant professor in the department of dermatology at Feinberg School of Medicine, is investigating a possible approach for improving the treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD), a problem that is often not recognized and treated in its early stages and may lead to corneal ulceration, scarring, chronic pain and vision loss.

    LSCD occurs because of the loss of limbal epithelial stem cells, but Dr. Peng’s research hypothesizes that an enzyme his team has identified, factor inhibiting hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (FIH-1), may preserve more stem cells. The establishment of stem-cell enriched cultures has the potential to significantly improve the outcome of corneal transplantation for patients with LSCD.

    The Eye and Vision Research Grant program has awarded more than $3.5 million since 1980 to stimulate new and pioneering research. Several of these grant projects have led to larger studies and financial support from the National Institutes of Health.

    “There’s a real void when it comes to funding the initial investigative work that can launch new and groundbreaking discoveries,” said Dr. Gregory Grossman, Eversight Director of Research. “But Eversight is committed to supporting research that may potentially lead to innovative therapies and treatments.”

    The Eversight Center for Eye and Vision Research is one of the only eye bank-led programs focused on providing scientists with innovative resources they need to find new cures and treatments for blinding eye conditions. For more information, visit eversightvision.org/research.

    hp2

    hp3

     

    – More –

    About Eversight: Eversight is a charitable, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research. Our network of community eye banks—in Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and South Korea—is responsible for recovering, evaluating and providing human eye tissue for transplantation; supporting research into the causes and cures of blinding eye conditions; promoting donation awareness through public and professional education; and providing humanitarian aid to people around the world in need of corneal transplantation. For more information, visit eversightvision.org.

  • Skin Disease Research Center has receives Honorable Mention at the 2106 Office of Research Core Facilities Colloquium
    09.26.2016

    Skin Disease Research Center is proud to announce that we have received Honorable Mention at the 2016 Office of Research’s Core Facilities Colloquium. Click here to view the award!

  • 06.16.2016

    The Skin Disease Research Center will be holding its 7th Annual Research Retreat on Thursday, July 21, 2016.

  • Outstanding Core Facility Award
    07.10.2015

    Skin Disease Research Center has received the Office of Research’s Outstanding Core Facility Award for 2015. This Award is bestowed on facilities that are scored in the top 10% of all Northwestern Core Facilities. The leadership of the SDRC are both humbled and proud to once again receive this award as it is a testament to our mission to provide the best services to our clients. As always, we are committed to continuously improve each of the SDRC cores and thank our clients for their continued use and support of these core facilities.

News

  • Eversight announces grant award for Northwestern University researcher, Han Peng, PhD
    08.18.2017

    hp1

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Eversight, a global nonprofit network of eye banks, has awarded a $15,000 Eye and Vision Research Grant to Northwestern University’s Han Peng, Ph.D.

    Dr. Peng was among nine recipients who received grants from Eversight for projects that aligned with the organization’s mission to restore sight and prevent blindness. The awards were determined by an independent review panel composed of distinguished scientists, ophthalmologists and health services researchers.

    Dr. Peng, a research assistant professor in the department of dermatology at Feinberg School of Medicine, is investigating a possible approach for improving the treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD), a problem that is often not recognized and treated in its early stages and may lead to corneal ulceration, scarring, chronic pain and vision loss.

    LSCD occurs because of the loss of limbal epithelial stem cells, but Dr. Peng’s research hypothesizes that an enzyme his team has identified, factor inhibiting hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (FIH-1), may preserve more stem cells. The establishment of stem-cell enriched cultures has the potential to significantly improve the outcome of corneal transplantation for patients with LSCD.

    The Eye and Vision Research Grant program has awarded more than $3.5 million since 1980 to stimulate new and pioneering research. Several of these grant projects have led to larger studies and financial support from the National Institutes of Health.

    “There’s a real void when it comes to funding the initial investigative work that can launch new and groundbreaking discoveries,” said Dr. Gregory Grossman, Eversight Director of Research. “But Eversight is committed to supporting research that may potentially lead to innovative therapies and treatments.”

    The Eversight Center for Eye and Vision Research is one of the only eye bank-led programs focused on providing scientists with innovative resources they need to find new cures and treatments for blinding eye conditions. For more information, visit eversightvision.org/research.

    hp2

    hp3

     

    – More –

    About Eversight: Eversight is a charitable, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research. Our network of community eye banks—in Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and South Korea—is responsible for recovering, evaluating and providing human eye tissue for transplantation; supporting research into the causes and cures of blinding eye conditions; promoting donation awareness through public and professional education; and providing humanitarian aid to people around the world in need of corneal transplantation. For more information, visit eversightvision.org.

  • Skin Disease Research Center has receives Honorable Mention at the 2106 Office of Research Core Facilities Colloquium
    09.26.2016

    Skin Disease Research Center is proud to announce that we have received Honorable Mention at the 2016 Office of Research’s Core Facilities Colloquium. Click here to view the award!

  • 06.16.2016

    The Skin Disease Research Center will be holding its 7th Annual Research Retreat on Thursday, July 21, 2016.

  • 06.13.2016

    SDRC member John Varga, MD, discusses recently published study findings in Nature Communications.

  • 06.03.2016

    Fourth-year medical student Derek Hsu (mentored by Jonathan Silverberg, MD/PhD/MPH, and SDRC Member), analyzes epidemiology of rare skin disorders.

  • Interested in Tissue Fibrosis?
    02.18.2016

    Interested in Tissue Fibrosis?  Join your colleagues in an interactive symposium!

    Fibrosis affects several organ systems, and is the focus of investigation for a large number of Northwestern faculty.

    The goal of this symposium is to stimulate discussion and ideas for collaboration at Northwestern on fibrosis and the interaction between the epithelium and mesenchyme.

    We encourage the Northwestern community to hear about the work in various organ systems being conducted on campus and to participate in this discussion.

    Join us Tuesday, March 15, 2016, from 1pm-3:15pm, at the Dale Hale Williams Auditorium (McGaw Building, 2nd floor).

         *Small group discussions toward research collaboration will follow, from 3pm-5pm.

    RSVP TODAY!

  • Getting to Know the SDRC, featuring Chyung-Ru Wang, PhD
    07.20.2015

    Chyung-Ru Wang, PhD, Professor in Microbiology-Immunology

    Dr. Wang is a 2015-2016 recipient of a SDRC Pilot and Feasibility Award

    What is your hometown?

    Taipei, TaiwanChyung-Ru Wang, PhD

    What brought you to Chicago?

    I was recruited to The University of Chicago as an assistant professor in 1994.

    Tell us something interesting or unique about yourself?

    I am an Asian female scientist.

    What do you like to do on your spare time?

    Play with my dog.

    Where did you get your undergraduate degree?

    National Taiwan University.

    What are your research interests?

    My lab is interested in understanding how MHC class Ib-restricted T cells are selected and regulated during development and how they contribute to the control of autoimmunity, anti-tumor immunity and infectious diseases. 

    What are your research aims through your P&F award?

    The goal of this P&F award is to evaluate the potential role of group 1 CD1-restricted autoreactive T cells, a novel subset of self-lipid antigen-specific T cells, in chronic inflammatory skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. It is built upon our observations in animal models, in which an increased frequency of autoreactive group 1 CD1-restricted T cells leads to the development of chronic skin inflammation under hyperlipidemic conditions. We propose to use the pilot grant to extend our study to patients with chronic skin diseases. We hope through this project we will be able to establish collaboration with investigators in SDRC and further understand the contribution of self lipid antigen-specific T cells in the pathogenesis of chronic skin diseases.

    Where did you work prior to Northwestern? What type of research did you do there?

    I was recruited from The University of Chicago to NU in 2008. I worked in the same research area since I was a graduate student.

    Where do you see yourself in the future?

    Continue to do research and mentor young scientists.

    Who/what has had the biggest influence in your life?

    My mother. She taught me "Be strict with yourself but be lenient with others".  Of course, this is not easy to do in a highly competitive environment.

  • Getting to Know the SDRC, featuring Aya Kobeissi
    07.10.2015

    Aya Kobeissi is the new Research Technologist at the Northwestern University Skin Disease Research Center. If you have further questions for Aya, please contact her at aya.kobeissi@northwestern.edu

    Where are you from? Where did you go to undergrad, what did you study?
    I am from the northwest suburbs of Chicago.  I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

    What does a typical day in your position entail?
    My typical day includes processing, embedding, cutting, and staining samples for either paraffin or frozen procedures.  I consult with researchers about their experimental goals and will customize protocols to achieve the highest morphological and visual quality.  Additionally, I create and test novel techniques that researchers can implement into their future studies.  I also provide technical training when requested.

    What is the most interesting thing about your job?
    The most interesting aspect of my job is the usual experiments that I work with.  I often receive sample which offer a challenge in tailoring each protocol. In the process, I learn more about each project and find the research being conducted fascinating.

    What is something about your position that has been a surprise to you?
    I was surprised at the wide range of departments that work with the SDRC.  For example, I have recently received requests involving eye and brain tissue.

    What are your future plans? 5 years, 10 years?
    I have been interested in research for a long time.  In a few years, I hope to attend graduate school for a PhD in Neuroscience.  Specifically, I am interested in basic and translational research involving stem cell and pharmacological treatments.

  • Getting to Know the SDRC, featuring Sara Majewski
    01.13.2015

    Sara Majewskiis the new Tissue Acquisition Technician at the Northwestern University Skin Disease Research Center. If you have further questions for Sara, please contact her at sara.majewski@northwestern.edu sara2

    Where are you from? Where did you go to undergrad, what did you study?

    I grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. I graduated in May 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

    What does a typical day in your position entail?

    A typical day of tissue acquisition usually starts with my preparing all of the documents for any tissue acquisition for the day, which includes consent forms, documentation forms, and information about the sample. The procedures from which we usually collect tissue include mastectomies, abdominoplasties, and diabetic amputations. I usually go an hour before a scheduled surgery to obtain consent from the patient. This allows me plenty of time to answer questions for the patient as well as any wait time that might be required for the patient to be available; I do my best not to interfere with any medical professionals. After I receive consent from the patient is when I update our records of participant enrollment. I then wait to be paged from either the Pathology department or the operating room. Once I get paged, it is highly important that I am able to respond quickly and deliver the tissue to the SDRC.

    While waiting, I pick-up foreskin from newborns at the Prentice Women’s Hospital for the Skin Tissue Engineering Core. The nurses routinely place each foreskin into a tube of transport medium that I have supplied to them. After transporting the tissue to the SDRC lab, I record information about the patient that will help a researcher but not identify a patient (“de-identified data).  I may also spend this time going to the dermatopathology lab to find archived tissue for researchers, order blocks from storage, and deliver them to the SDRC for processing. I frequently receive requests from researchers who want tissue from the SDRC to use for their new projects. It is my responsibility to process their request, circulate them to a team of dermatology researchers who vet the requests and ensure that they are feasible, and coordinate the tissue pick-up. Our tissue and cell repositories are continually expanding and diversifying, which allows researchers to have access not only to material from patients, but also to normal tissue from a variety of ages, races/ethnicity, and male vs. female (for sex equity in research).

    What is the most interesting thing about your job?

    The most interesting aspect about my position is the ability to work with patients. I really enjoy receiving consent from patients for their participation in our tissue repository because working with them is what makes each day unique and sometimes challenging. Going into the patient’s room directly prior to their procedure and discussing tissue donation with them can be a difficult conversation for the patient and their families. You cannot anticipate how the patient will respond. Most of the patients that I have consented are very interested in the research that is occurring at Northwestern and are eager to visit the SDRC website to learn more. Not only to I get to discuss the tissue repository, but often patients will voluntarily tell me about their condition and the challenges they have faced. I am honored that patients openly share their stories with me.

    What is something about Tissue Acquisition that has been a surprise to you?

    I was surprised to see the wide varieties of departments with which the SDRC interfaces to acquire tissue. I communicate with several different specialties of surgeons about consenting their patients, I work with the Nurses and Physician Assistants in the Dermatology clinic to collect skin disease samples.  I also communicate with Nurses in the Prentice Women’s Hospital and the Feinberg Pavilion Same Day Surgery OR to coordinate consent and occasionally tissue pick-up, and I work with the Feinberg Pavilion Gross Pathology department to ensure the tissue meets the specific needs of our researchers. There is a significant amount of cooperation from many individuals throughout the process of tissue collection and it is really impressive that they put in the extra effort to assist our research.

    What are your future plans? 5 years, 10 years?

    I have been interested in the healthcare field for a few years. I made sure to take my time to decide exactly which career I wanted to pursue to ensure I made the best possible choice for myself. During this process, I have had many wonderful opportunities such as volunteering at a hospital in the ER, volunteering with a children’s hospital, shadowing physicians and, through this position, to learn more about medical research, as well as interactions with nurses, physicians, and other health care professionals. All of these experiences have contributed to my decision to apply to medical school. Currently, I am preparing to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) in May 2015. I will be applying in the summer of 2015 and hopefully matriculate in the fall of 2016.

      

    You can access the Tissue Acquisition Request formhere.

Honors

  • Eversight announces grant award for Northwestern University researcher, Han Peng, PhD
    08.18.2017

    hp1

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Eversight, a global nonprofit network of eye banks, has awarded a $15,000 Eye and Vision Research Grant to Northwestern University’s Han Peng, Ph.D.

    Dr. Peng was among nine recipients who received grants from Eversight for projects that aligned with the organization’s mission to restore sight and prevent blindness. The awards were determined by an independent review panel composed of distinguished scientists, ophthalmologists and health services researchers.

    Dr. Peng, a research assistant professor in the department of dermatology at Feinberg School of Medicine, is investigating a possible approach for improving the treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD), a problem that is often not recognized and treated in its early stages and may lead to corneal ulceration, scarring, chronic pain and vision loss.

    LSCD occurs because of the loss of limbal epithelial stem cells, but Dr. Peng’s research hypothesizes that an enzyme his team has identified, factor inhibiting hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (FIH-1), may preserve more stem cells. The establishment of stem-cell enriched cultures has the potential to significantly improve the outcome of corneal transplantation for patients with LSCD.

    The Eye and Vision Research Grant program has awarded more than $3.5 million since 1980 to stimulate new and pioneering research. Several of these grant projects have led to larger studies and financial support from the National Institutes of Health.

    “There’s a real void when it comes to funding the initial investigative work that can launch new and groundbreaking discoveries,” said Dr. Gregory Grossman, Eversight Director of Research. “But Eversight is committed to supporting research that may potentially lead to innovative therapies and treatments.”

    The Eversight Center for Eye and Vision Research is one of the only eye bank-led programs focused on providing scientists with innovative resources they need to find new cures and treatments for blinding eye conditions. For more information, visit eversightvision.org/research.

    hp2

    hp3

     

    – More –

    About Eversight: Eversight is a charitable, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research. Our network of community eye banks—in Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and South Korea—is responsible for recovering, evaluating and providing human eye tissue for transplantation; supporting research into the causes and cures of blinding eye conditions; promoting donation awareness through public and professional education; and providing humanitarian aid to people around the world in need of corneal transplantation. For more information, visit eversightvision.org.