The UC Davis department of dermatology has expanded its research endeavors significantly in the last several years and research conducted within the department continues to make important contributions to science and medicine. The department expects to further strengthen its research programs with its new faculty additions. Currently the UC Davis dermatology department is ranked #11 in the Blue Ridge NIH grant funding rank list for US dermatology departments.

Dr. Samuel T. Hwang, Professor and Chair of Dermatology at UC Davis School of Medicine, has a strong interest in immunological diseases of the skin, including psoriasis and cutaneous T cell lymphoma.   As a senior scientist at NIH, Dr. Hwang has had over 20 years of experience in the field of leukocyte and cancer cell trafficking and has had a long-standing interest and continuing NIH funding in basic research in the role of chemokine receptors, including CCR6 and CXCR4 in psoriasis as well as in cancer cells.

Dr. William Murphy is Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Dermatology but also has a joint appointment in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology where his research has centered on cancer immunotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for over 30 years and has maintained consistent NIH funding. His laboratory looks at the effects of obesity and aging on immunotherapy outcomes using both preclinical models ranging from mouse, feline, canine, non-human primates working with both the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Primate Center and on clinical samples and outcomes. This includes melanoma responses as well as cutaneous manifestations of graft-versus host disease (GVHD) following HSCT.  More recently his laboratory has also assessed the impact of the microbiome on immune responses under different conditions.

Dr. R. Rivkah Isseroff has a long-term interest in the study of skin wound repair. Her group has made important contributions to the mechanism of skin-cell migration, including the effect of the electric field. Her group has recently uncovered the important role of beta-adrenergic receptor in this process.

Dr. Emanual Maverakis is an NIH-funded basic scientist and translational researcher who focuses on developing novel genetic and analytical approaches to characterize large “omic” datasets in the fields of glycoimmunology, immunogenetics, and cancer immunology. His recent publications have appeared in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (Dillen et. al. 2018, Patrick et. al., 2021), JCI Insight (Merleev et. al. 2018), the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A (Marchitto et al. 2019, Park et. al., 2020), Nature Medicine (Wang et. al. 2019), Chemical Science (Park et. al. 2018), and Science Translational Medicine (Khuat et. al. 2020).  As a clinician and clinical trialist, he specializes in treating patients with rare forms of autoimmunity (Maverakis et. al. Nature Reviews Disease Primers 2020, New England Journal of Medicine 2021) and patients with cutaneous metastatic melanoma and various immune-mediated malignancies (J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015, Clinical Cancer Research 2019 and 2021).

Dr. Yoshikazu Takada was instrumental in discovering beta1 integrins as members of the integrin super family and contributed to the cloning of a number of other integrins. His group has recently demonstrated the important role of integrins as co-receptors for a large number of growth factors and other biological regulators. Their studies have led to the development of novel inhibitors of cell growth and angiogenesis that have the potential to be used for treatment of inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer.

Dr. Min Zhao has been leading a group that demonstrated physiological electric signals as a predominant cue guiding cell migration in epithelial wound healing. His group identified some critical signaling and genetic basis for cells to respond to electric signals. His present research focuses on directional migration of epithelial cells to restore the barrier function.

The Department has also expanded its clinical research activities. The Clinical Research Unit has 8 participating faculty researchers supported by 3 clinical research fellows and 5 clinical research coordinators. There are currently 44 IRB-approved on-going clinical studies that covers a variety of skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, chronic skin wound, aphthous ulcer, and skin cancer.