One of only six designated centers in the country, this program greatly enhances the ability of researchers to investigate skin biology and translate those findings to treat cutaneous diseases.
PHILADELPHIA – Funding for the Penn Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center (SBDRC), has been renewed for the next five years from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIAMS). Established in 2016, the SBDRC supported new research infrastructure and programming to assist investigators conducting skin biology and disease research while expanding interest in the field of dermatology beyond the department.
Under leadership of its new Director, Elizabeth Grice, PhD, Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Basic Research in the Department of Dermatology and Associate Director, George Cotsarelis, MD, the Milton Bixler Hartzell Professor and Chair of Dermatology, the SBDRC provides comprehensive support for basic, clinical, and translational skin-based research to its growing membership. Three resource cores provide cutting-edge services and expert support; member development programming actively recruits and retains new talent to the field; and The Penn Academy of Skin Health (PASH) provides a unique outreach program designed to introduce underserved high school students to skin biology through hands-on research education and internship programs.
“Our 3 cores are highly interactive, despite their varied nature and broad objectives of supporting skin research. With the renewal we had the opportunity to adopt and implement several new technologies, including single-cell sequencing methods, spatial transcriptomics, and artificial-intelligence guided image analysis. Additionally, we are implementing plans to develop the first Penn Derm BioBank to complement existing tissue archives”, comments Dr. Grice. “Our goal is to increase the impact and rigor of skin research by providing access to these tools, resources, and expertise to investigators.”
While three resource cores provide the tools necessary to enhance basic, clinical, and translational skin-based research, the SBDRC’s investment into member development ensures continued success of cutaneous research programs. “The Penn SBDRC has proven to be a powerful force for encouraging and organizing outstanding skin research throughout the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area. This is achieved not only by providing novel resources to the scientific community, but by our strong commitment to community outreach, training, and collaboration” comments Dr. Cotsarelis.
The impact of the SBDRC is already apparent with resources directly supporting 100+ publications and 50+ grant awards totaling more that $7.3 million in extramural funding. “We are extremely grateful to NIAMS for recognizing the impact of our center by extending funding for an additional five years,” says Dr. Grice. “I look forward to leading Penn SBDRC on a continued trajectory of growth, innovation, and collaboration that advances skin research at Penn and beyond.”