Columbia University Medical Center

More Than Skin Deep: Interdisciplinary Dermatology Research

It is estimated that at any one time, a third of Americans are grappling with a skin disease, from diseases that cause simple burning or itching to life-threatening melanoma. In 2005, a report from the Society of Investigative Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology Association calculated the annual economic burden of skin diseases to be more than $37 billion, including lost productivity at work.

David Bickers, MD

Recently, P&S dermatology researchers have made great strides through new partnerships forged with experts across the disciplines. They have made advances in understanding and treating conditions including hair loss caused by alopecia areata; epidermolysis bullosa, a rare disease of the skin and connective tissues that causes severe and even fatal blistering of the skin and mucous membranes; and even skin cancer. Collaborations are also helping them to better understand the sense of touch.

“It is my philosophy that when you are a relatively small department, your success hinges on building collaborations and talent across the institution,” says  David Bickers, MD, the Carl Truman Nelson Professor of Dermatology and chair of the Department of Dermatology at P&S.

A Columbia Medicine feature highlights some of the dermatology research advances made through interdisciplinary partnerships across P&S. Read the full story here.