The La Fondation La Roche-Posay (North America) has announced its 2020 research grant winners in the field of dermatology.

The grant committee is comprised of a jury of board-certified dermatologists, who deemed five outstanding projects as winners, which is an increase from the three awards La Fondation La Roche-Posay has traditionally given.

“This was an unprecedented grant cycle. We had so many incredible submissions and talented young investigators that we felt compelled to provide more awards than usual to help foster the future of dermatology,” Adam Friedman, MD, FAAD, Professor and Interim Chair of Dermatology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, says in a media release. “Good news is limited these days, so we have to embrace wins like this.”

Tyler Steele, VP of Medical and Media Relations at La Roche-Posay USA, adds, “We are so proud that we were able to increase the number of grant winners and in turn make an incremental investment in research that is critical to the future of dermatology.”

The La Fondation La Roche-Posay encourages residents, fellows, and practitioners within their first 5 years of practice to develop innovative research programs in the field of clinical, biological or pharmacological research linked to dermatology. Since its establishment in 2005, the La Fondation La Roche-Posay has awarded over 40 grants to dermatologists for their scientific research and ground-breaking projects in dermatology.

Dawn Zhang Eichenfield, MD, PhD, Chief Dermatology Resident at the University of California, San Diego, received the first place prize of $10,000 for her project, Identification of Molecular and Genetic Variations in Linear Morphea.

“Morphea is an inflammatory skin condition that leads to hardened, discolored, and ultimately, scarred skin. Exactly why morphea occurs is unknown; however, studies suggest it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Our research aims to uncover the genetic causes of morphea. Where our study differs from prior studies is the focus on studying parts of the genome that do not code for proteins, but rather are involved in regulating when or how genes are active. It is only recently that we realized the importance and disease relevance of these ‘non-coding’ parts of the genome,” Eichenfield says.

“Receiving a grant from the La Foundation La Roche-Posay will allow us to utilize the latest sequencing technologies to investigate genetic mutations in morphea that may lead to improved diagnosis and earlier treatment,” Eichenfield adds, in the release. “I am so grateful for this opportunity, as well as the support that I have received from the Women’s Dermatologic Society and the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance. These grants are essential for an early career scientist, such as myself, to pursue new hypotheses and jump-start my career.”

In addition to Dr Eichenfield, four other dermatologists received grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000.

Alice He, MD, at John Hopkins Hospital received $5,000 to explore the skin and gut microbiome in rosacea patients and response to oral antibiotics.

Chapman Wei, MD, at George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences received $5,000 for his project, targeting p38 isoforms in human cutaneous metastatic melanoma invasion.

Rachel Sennett, MD, PhD, at UCSD Department of Dermatology received $2,500 to investigate patterned determinants of hair loss in Androgenetic Alopecia while Kamria Nelson, MD, MHS, at George Washington University received $2,500 to explore sociocultural and socioeconomic concerns in minority dermatology patients.

[Source(s): La Roche-Posay, PR Newswire]