Research & Clinical Trials : UMSDRCC

University of Miami Skin Diseases Research Core Center (UMSDRCC)

Director: Robert S. Kirsner, M.D. Ph.D.
Associate Director: Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D.

The long-term goal of the UMSDRCC is to provide sustained support and a nurturing environment for the researchers focused on understanding the mechanisms and patho-physiology of skin diseases that will ultimately positively impact patients with skin diseases.

Although overall UMSDRCC in envisioned as all-inclusive skin research, main focus will follow two thematic emphases 1) tissue repair and regeneration; 2) cutaneous microbiology and inflammation. The objective of UMSDRCC will be to organize the powerful research base of UM and other collaborative Institutions to most successfully carry out skin disease research, by development and provision of infrastructure, through its Cores, to better develop the collaboration of investigators within the Dr. Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, other Departments within UM and with other Institutions.

The UMSDRCC is structured on the strong foundation and tradition of excellence in the areas of wound healing, cutaneous microbiology and inflammation. Over past five years, the University of Miami in general and the Dr. Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery in particular focused on building a strong research division that integrates multiple disciplines and expands intersects multiple departments. These efforts resulted in unique and prolific collaborative group of skin researchers, from Dr. Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, other Departments of UM and other Institutions. The research interests of these investigators are diverse and include regenerative medicine and stem cell biology, tissue repair, microbiology and inflammation, epithelial biology, melanocyte biology, pharmacology, genomics, aging and clinical research, providing an exceedingly rich and “fertile ground” for basic and translational research and discovery.

The UMSDRCC provides the central core of the basic science research laboratories of the Dr. Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery. The UMSDRCC takes advantage of the strengths of both basic and clinical researchers at the Department and promotes research collaborations that enhance productivity.

The goals of the Center will be realized through four Core facilities which integrate intellectual and technical resources at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM) with the demands of investigative skin and skin related research. These include three cores: 1) an Administrative Core with emphasis of comprehensive Enrichment Program that includes a Pilot and Feasibility Program, 2) Pre-clinical Core and 3) Delivery Systems Core. The UMSDRCC takes advantage of the strengths of both basic and clinical researchers at the Department and has established a platform to promote research collaborations that enhance productivity and integration beyond Departmental borders. Core units will be established to provide shared facilities, equipment and technical services. In addition, UMSDRCC will support short-term, innovative pilot projects that involve exploration of new research directions. These projects will enable established skin disease researchers to pursue new ideas and provide support for young faculty members to generate preliminary data essential for their future research support. They will also attract investigators from other fields to apply their expertise to problems related to skin diseases

Administrative Core

Director: Robert S. Kirsner, M.D. Ph.D.
Associate Director: Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D.

Administrative Core provides the organizational framework and infrastructure for the UMSDRCC that allows efficient communication and coordination for the activities related to all projects, participating investigators, cores, enrichment programs and advisory committees. It serves to coordinate and integrate all UMSDRCC functions; provide rigorous and regular fiscal oversight of the other Core facilities and the future Pilot and Feasibility studies; provides for the leadership of the UMSDRCC through the Director and Associate Director regarding all aspects of the Center’s activities. This Core provides the major infrastructure of the UMSDRCC and is designed to ensure the most efficient utilization of the Center’s resources. The administrative core will have an Executive Committee, an External and Internal Advisory Committees consisting of talented and experienced research scientists capable of providing superior oversight and feedback. In addition, the Administrative Core arranges regular meetings of the participating investigators and Advisory committees and is responsible for tracking the progress of each individual project. Overall, the administrative core will enhance the intellectual, scientific, structural and fiscal components of the UMSDRCC.

Enrichment program.

The Administrative Core will continue with established and organize a series of new enrichment activities including: the Monthly National Journal of Investigative Dermatology journal club; Annual research symposium; Annual Hands-on Training Sessions/Workshops; Novel Training Pathways for Dermatology Residents to Purse Academic Careers; Resident Research; Visiting Lectureship on Wound Repair; Research Seminar Series; Miami Dermatologic Society Meeting; Formal Grant Review. All these activities are aligned with the mission of the UMSDRCC: to support research and training in skin biology and skin diseases.

Pre-clinical Analyses Core

Director: Prof Stephen Davis
Associate Director: Tongyu Cao-Wikramanayake PhD
Investigators: Dragana Ajdic, PhD; Jie Li, PhD; Joaquin Jimenez MD; Irena Pastar PhD and Olivera Stojadinovic MD

This Core provides wide range of in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models that can be utilized for translational research (pre-clinical testing and therapy development) as well as basic science research focused on understanding skin biology and/or skin disease pathology. Pre-clinical Core provides use of the models (via fee-for-service) or training & consultation to UM investigators and their staff including one-on-one training and lecture series.

Delivery Systems Core

Director: Evangelos Badiavas MD PhD
Associate Directors: Sylvia Daunert PhD and Fotios Anderopulous PhD

This Core will provide support, expertise and development and optimization of cutaneous-based local and/or systemic drug delivery. The major objective of DSC is to support UMSDRCC researchers and attract new investigators in the area of skin biology by providing opportunity to utilize skin-based drug delivery approaches that will include matrix-based, cell-based and nanocarrier-based drug delivery systems. These services will provide proof-of-principle and early delivery system platforms and will provide advice to transition to scaling and large production.

Histopathology Services.

Both of these two service Cores will also have a built-in Histopathology service that will be facilitated by a shared histopathology technician and will provide education and consultation in tissue morphology analysis and interpretation of histological sections, basic immunohistochemistry analyses to the research investigators. These analysis are integral part of both PAC and DSC providing a potential to increase the usage of these cores, making available unique set of services in the manner of “one-stop-shop”. Investigators involved and the environment are outstanding and represent a true strength of this UMSDRCC.

Skinomics Services.

Although not structured as a Core, Dermatology Department will provide support, expertise and use of systems biology approaches to study skin biology and diseases. It will provide services that include experimental design, data acquisition (genome wide genotyping; genome-wide and multi-gene RNA expression analyses; miRNA analyses); data interpretation of comprehensive bioinformatics as it relates to skin biology; use of searchable Skinomics data base; provide consultation for validation of data generated by Skinomics approaches.

More details coming soon…