The overarching goal of this well-established training program, which entered its 30th year in May 2013, is to maintain and accelerate long term research progress and innovation in cutaneous biology, skin diseases, and dermatoepidemiology, leading to novel treatments for skin disease and improvements in overall human health.
We aim to achieve this by identifying and training the next generation of leaders in this area. Our specific goals are to: (i) expose trainees to the excitement and impact of dermatology research at early stages in their careers; (ii) support the research and training of young scientists with established interests in the skin and its diseases; and (iii) provide cross-disciplinary training in skin biology and diverse fields such as genomics, epidemiology or bioengineering. To these ends we request support for short term (2-3 months) research experiences for 3 medical students; 2 long term (1 year or more) pre-doctoral fellowships to support the thesis research of MD PhD students, PhD students engaging in innovative, interdisciplinary work relevant to cutaneous biology and skin disease, or students pursuing dual MD and Masters in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE) degrees; and 4 post-doctoral fellowships for MD, PhD and MD PhD scientists committed to careers in cutaneous biology and skin disease. To promote interdisciplinary research, our program involves trainers from the Penn Engineering School, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Wistar Institute as well as from Dermatology and multiple other departments across the Penn School of Medicine, and includes experts in clinical studies, bioengineering, proteomics and genomics research. A particular emphasis of our training program is to encourage and train physician scientists in Dermatology. In addition to training MD and MD PhD students in skin-related research, we established a four-year clinical/research dermatology residency program in which trainees pursue T32-supported postdoctoral research fellowships that provide a basis for obtaining independent funding. This program has already been extremely successful, attracting exceptionally qualified, enthusiastic trainees, several of whom are now established as NIH-funded independent physician-scientists. Our training program includes opportunities for lab-based research, translational research, clinical trials, and epidemiology. In parallel with hands on research training, our trainees atted seminars, journal clubs and technical and skills workshops both within and outside Dermatology. We provide networking lunches and research retreats for trainees, and trainees invite two seminar speakers per year to present their research in the Dermatology Seminar Series, followed by lunch with the speaker. Trainees receive formal instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research, and extensive mentoring, career counseling, and help in identifying suitable positions in academics, industry, or for further training in clinical or reseach areas from the Director and co- Director of the training program as well as from their mentors and, in the case of MD PhD and PhD thesis students, their home Graduate Programs.
Skin diseases are extremely prevalent, represent a significant health burden, and are increasingly recognized as predisposing individuals to systemic conditions such as inflammatory diseases and heart disease. The goal of this training program is to identify and train the next generation of leaders in cutaneous biology, skin diseases, and dermatoepidemiology, in order to maintain and accelerate long term research progress and innovation in this area and promote the development of novel treatments for skin disease and improvements in overall human health.
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