Two dermatology fellows in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences received grants to study skin cancer therapies and race-based health disparities in dermatology, according to a medical school release Monday.
La Fondation La Roche-Posay – a skincare brand that supports residents, fellows and health care practitioners in conducting dermatological research in their first five years of practice – awarded grants of $2,500 and $5,000 to Kamaria Nelson and Chapman Wei, respectively, according to the release. The brand typically awards grants to three research projects per year but provided funding to five this year, including the two GW fellows, the release states.
Nelson and her team will use a sociocultural and socioeconomic approach to examine race as a factor in choosing a dermatologist, perceived race-based disparities in dermatological care and misconceptions about skin color, the release states.
“Dermatologists treat and manage diverse patient populations and having cultural competence for these populations is essential to effective dermatologic care,” Nelson said. “Further, minority populations are more likely to have adverse dermatologic outcomes than their majority counterparts, and it is important to delve into why these disparities occur.”
Wei will research how to target p38 isoforms – a type of protein – in human cutaneous metastatic melanoma invasion, the most serious form of skin cancer, according to the release. Wei will use in his research a 3D organotypic raft culture – a model that resembles human skin – developed in the lab of Tatiana Efimova, an assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology, the release states.
“Our research may unlock new potential in providing additional targeted therapies for promoting increased survival in metastatic melanoma patients,” Wei said.