National Psoriasis Foundation awards half a million dollars in fellowships

Fellowships encourage early-career physicians to become psoriatic disease experts

PORTLAND, Oregon (June 22, 2015)— Eleven early-career physicians each received a one-year, $50,000 National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Dermatology Fellowship to study psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

These fellowships will help increase the number of scientists studying and expertly treating psoriatic disease by encouraging up-and-coming doctors to dedicate their careers to these conditions. Learn more at

The Dr. Mark G. Lebwohl Medical Dermatology Fellowship, named to recognize Mark Lebwohl, M.D., chairman emeritus of the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board and one of the world's leading psoriasis experts.

  • At the University of California, San Diego, Kimberly Chun, M.D., will study the Koebner phenomenon by analyzing differences in gene activity between a wound on a patch of clear skin on a psoriasis patient, and a wound on someone without psoriasis. The Koebner phenomenon is when an injury to the skin triggers or worsens psoriasis.

Ten fellows received a National Psoriasis Foundation Amgen Medical Dermatology Fellowship, supported by a grant from Amgen.

  • At Northwestern University, Jennifer Day, M.D. will study medical records to examine the safety and effectiveness of systemic medications and phototherapy in pediatric psoriasis patients. Day will also design a patient registry for pediatric psoriasis that will allow researchers to study associated health risks, treatment effectiveness and psoriatic arthritis prevalence in children.
  • At Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Center, Tiago Matos, M.D., will use DNA sequencing of T-cells, which are involved in the inflammation of psoriasis, to determine the different variations of T-cells in psoriasis. Learning more about the different T-cells involved in psoriasis will help determine the source of inflammation involved in the disease.
  • At the University of Utah, Michael Milliken, M.D., M.P.H., will update a patient registry known as the Utah Psoriasis Initiative with new software to help improve researchers’ ability to capture data. Milliken will also examine genetic information from the database to identify genetic risk factors for psoriasis. In addition, he’ll work on a clinical trial investigating whether excimer laser used in combination with systemic medications effectively clears psoriasis.
  • At the University of Pennsylvania, Megan Noe, M.D., M.P.H., will use the iHope medical database to examine the connection between liver and blood vessel disease and psoriasis severity. Noe will also co-lead a clinical trial testing the effects of psoriasis treatment on blood vessel disease. In addition, she will conduct a study using another medical database to study quality of life issues in psoriasis patients with skin that is almost clear, but not completely clear.
  • At Rady Children’s Hospital/San Diego and the University of California, San Diego, Emily Osier, M.D., will test and implement new screening guidelines for the associated health risks of psoriasis in children. Currently, there are no standard screening guidelines for comorbidities in pediatric psoriasis.
  • At Baylor Research Institute, Pablo Michel, M.D., will study heart disease risk in psoriasis patients by tracking the amount of calcium in the arteries. Calcium buildup hardens arteries and can cause heart problems.
  • At the University of California, Davis, Reason Wilken, M.D., will analyze the presence of a certain type of sugar called a glycan in the immune cells and blood of psoriasis patients to better understand how these sugars are involved in autoimmune diseases.
  • At the University of Southern California, Mary Jane Williams, M.D., will study the effectiveness of collaborative health in treating psoriasis. In a clinical trial, Williams will test whether health care delivered online gives the same level of care as in-person appointments. In a separate project, Williams will conduct epidemiological studies of psoriasis and its associated health risks by analyzing large patient populations.
  • At Stanford University, Marten Winge, MD., Ph.D., will study the role of a gene mutation involving the rac1 protein in causing psoriasis. Winge will also test a treatment known as benzamil to see whether it blocks rac1 from driving inflammation in psoriasis.
  • At Brown University, Shaowei Wu, M.D., Ph.D., will use the National Nurses’ Health Study database to investigate the role of alcohol, tobacco, obesity and other risk factors may play in causing psoriatic disease.

Learn more about the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Dermatology Fellowship program »

About the National Psoriasis Foundation

Serving its community through more than 50 years of patient support, advocacy, research funding, and education, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world’s leading nonprofit fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The NPF mission is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and dramatically improve the lives of more than 8 million Americans affected by this chronic immune-mediated disease. As part of that effort, NPF created its Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. To date, NPF has funded more than $21 million in research grants and fellowships that help drive discoveries that may lead to more and better treatments and ultimately a cure. Learn more at