American Skin Association (ASA) has announced the awarding of two coveted research grants under the ASA Milstein Research Scholar Awards programDouglas Osborne, PhD, of University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus received the ASA Milstein Research Scholar Award for Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer and Benjamin Ungar, MD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai received the ASA Milstein Research Scholar Award in Atopic Dermatitis.

In addition, 11 other promising grants were awarded in this cycle. This year’s grants were again made possible through the generosity of individuals, foundations, and corporations who share ASA’s determination to find cures for these devastating diseases.

For over 30 years, in advancement of its vital mission to serve the more than 100 million Americans afflicted with skin disorders, ASA and its affiliates have funded over $50 million in grants to enhance treatments and continue working towards cures for melanoma, vitiligo, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and other skin diseases, ASA notes in a media release.

“Dermatology remains one of the most underfunded areas of medicine,” said ASA Chairman, Howard P. Milstein. “We believe these important grants in support of cutting-edge dermatological research will improve the chances of finding long sought-after cures and bring hope to many suffering patients.”

In addition to the newly announced grants, ASA has also renewed its support for SPOTS (Sun Protection Outreach Teaching by Students), a public health outreach educational program taught by medical school students and aimed at middle and high school teens. Now in its second year of a three-year grant commitment, ASA’s funding has allowed the SPOTS program to increase its outreach to schools in the St. Louis area, create a seamless onboarding process for participants, and develop a new website.

SPOTS’s team of academic dermatologists, led by Dr. Lynn Cornelius of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, aim to teach students about early detection of skin cancer and smart prevention measures in hopes that increasing their knowledge and positively impacting their behaviors and attitudes about sun protection.

ASA’s Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) is comprised of leading scientists and physicians who administer the annual grant process. Through their leadership, ASA’s grant program has supported the work of nearly 300 investigators, ranging from talented young researchers in the early phases of their careers to recognized leaders in the field of dermatology.

“This year’s promising new class of awardees brings hope to so many. ASA’s Medical Advisory Committee is eager for the future findings that these projects may bring,” said ASA President and Co-Chair of the MAC, Dr. David A. Norris.

ASA provides significant special research awards to established investigators and medical students studying melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer and skin diseases. Through these grants, ASA has promoted the early careers of many gifted young investigators and has had a profound impact both on dermatology research and clinical care of dermatologic disease. In particular, ASA-funded researchers have had a broad impact on melanoma research, improving our understanding of its diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. With an exclusive focus on skin disease research, ASA has helped open new frontiers in skin science, producing results that can change how we understand and treat skin disease.

The following are the recipients of the 2020 Investigative Scientist Award, Research Scholar Awards, Research Grants, and Medical Student Grants:

ASA Daneen and Charles Stiefel Investigative Scientist Award for Melanoma Research
Yuri Bunimovich, MD, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
Improving Immune Checkpoint Therapy by Targeting Neurons

ASA Milstein Research Scholar Award for Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
Douglas Osborne, PhD
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Role of IL-37 in Regulatory T cells and Melanoma

ASA Milstein Research Scholar Award in Atopic Dermatitis
Benjamin Ungar, MD
Icahn School of Medicine
The Relationship Between the Skin Microbiome and Immune and Barrier Dysregulation in Moderate-to-Severe Atopic Dermatitis Patients

ASA Calder Research Scholar Award in Vitiligo/Pigment Cell Disorders
Indermeet Kohli, PhD
Henry Ford Health System
Visible Light and Ultraviolet A1 for Vitiligo Phototherapy

ASA Melly Family Research Grant in Psoriasis/Inflammatory Skin Disease
Prashiela Manga, PhD
New York School of Medicine
Investigation of Post Inflammatory Hyper Pigmentation

ASA Mulvaney Family Foundation Research Grant in Vitiligo/Pigment Cell Disorders
Bassel Mahmoud, MD, PhD, FAAD
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Melanocyte Transplantation Plus Topical JAK Inhibitor for Treatment of Vitiligo: A Randomized Study

ASA Mulvaney Family Foundation Research Grant in Vitiligo/Pigment Cell Disorders
Tamara Terzian, PhD
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Targeted Therapy for Vitiligo

ASA Pfizer Research Grant for Vitiligo/Pigment Cell Disorders
Manuel Garber, PhD
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Defining Cell Type Specific Epidermis Regulatory Elements to Enable Vitiligo Functional Genomics

ASA Ping Y. Tai Foundation Research Grant in Skin Cancer/Melanoma
Dan Filipescu, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai
MacroH2A as a Novel Chromatin Regulator of the Melanoma Microenvironment

ASA J.T. Tai & Co. Foundation Medical Student Grants Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research
Samantha Guhan
Massachusetts General Hospital
Cyclin – Dependent Kinase 9 as a Therapeutic Target in Uveal and Triple-Wild Type Melanoma

ASA J.T. Tai & Co. Foundation Medical Student Grants Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research
Natella Maglakelidze
Pennsylvania State College of Medicine
Defining Aire Function in UV-Induced DNA Damage Response and Early Stage Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

ASA J.T. Tai & Co. Foundation Medical Student Grants Targeting Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research
Catherine Wang
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health
Role of CD200 in Modulating Immunoregulatory Macrophages in Merkel Cell Carcinoma

ASA Cohen Family Medical Student Research Grant
Eliot Zhu
University of Iowa
Targetable Drivers of Drug Resistance to BRAF Inhibitors in Melanoma

[Source(s): American Skin Association, PR Newswire]