Spotlight: Vitiligo Researchers

This page is dedicated to those students, researchers, and physicians that give their time, talent, and wisdom to aid in the search for a cure.

Jung Min Bae, MD, PhD

Jung Min Bae, MD, PhD

St. Vincent’s Hospital College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea

Meet Dr. Bae, Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, St. Vincent’s Hospital College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea.

Take a look at his abstract:

Discovering Patients’ Voice on Social Network Service: Web Scraping and Text-Mining (PDF)

Authors: Jung Min Bae, MD, PhD

His work: I wish to do research that can give hope to vitiligo patients. I am currently focusing on vitiligo surgery and epidemiological research. I am trying to improve micropunch grafting, cellular grafting, and micropigmentation to achieve better outcomes. Also, I am looking for various beneficial drugs for vitiligo patients from big data analysis. Someday I hope to find a way to help patients with vitiligo.

Why he got into vitiligo research: “Vitiligo affects 1% of the population and profoundly impacts patients’ quality of life. However, the development of new treatments for vitiligo is very little compared to other major skin diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. For light skin patients such as Caucasians, vitiligo could be a simple matter, even though I don’t believe it is a simple matter. Having met a number of Korean patients who profoundly suffer from vitiligo, where the white patches appear more evident on Asian skin, I thought that Asian dermatologists including me had responsibilities to study harder and find the solution for our vitiligo patients.”

Interesting facts: “I enjoy traveling to new places and taking pictures of my family. This hobby ties directly to my clinical practice, as I also do my best to take high-quality patient pictures. A series of photographs taken at regular intervals not only records the progress of the treatment but also is a unique gift for my patients. I find this to be rewarding given the pleasure it brings to my patients. Meanwhile, meeting new people in various places helps invigorate my life and research. In an unfamiliar setting, I can see some issues from different perspectives. Traveling would be a driving force to study without being exhausted.”

Past Spotlights

Pezhman Mobasher, MD

Pezhman Mobasher, MD

University of California, Irvine

Meet Dr. Mobasher, Clinical Research Fellow at the Universtiy of California, Irvine. whose research with Dr. Ammar Ahmed focuses on an NCES grafting protocol which outsources the time- and resource-intensive parts of the traditional protocol to local biotech companies to reduce barriers to performing this procedure in more derm clinics.

Take a look at his abstract:

Evaluating the Efficacy of the Melanocyte Keratinocyte Transplantation Procedure in the Treatment of Vitiligo: A comparative study of two different harvesting techniques (PDF)

Authors: Pezhman Mobasher, Anand K. Ganesan, Jessica Shiu, Flesher, Jessica, Griffin Lentsch

Research Focus: Dr. Mobasher currently assists with several research projects through his research fellowship at UC Irvine. One novel study he is working on is a pilot study for monitoring the vitiligo therapy response by in vivo multiphoton microscopy imaging. In another NIH-funded study, he and his colleagues evaluated the effect of topical Tofacitinib in the treatment of recalcitrant vitiligo. He is also the main researcher of a multi-center survey on the effect of phototherapy on the quality of life of vitiligo patients.

Background: “As a child, I grew up in a family with two family members with vitiligo. I saw first-hand how their skin disease affected their self-confidence and ability to live their life the way they wanted to, and it was frustrating and disheartening to see. Hence, I decided to apply for a dermatology residency and doing research in vitiligo after I received my medical degree from med school.”

Fun, interesting fact: "I love history and I usually spend my leisure time reading history books and watching history documentaries. I am also an avid tennis player."

Arsh Patel, MS3

Arsh Patel, MS3

Wake Forest School of Medicine

Arsh is a third-year medical student at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Take a look at his poster:

Skin Color and Quality of Life in Vitiligo: A Systematic Review (PDF)

Authors: Arsh Patel, MS; Amy McMichael, MD; Amit Pandya, MD

Background: Arsh Patel is a medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine. He attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and earned a B.S. in Biomolecular Science and Drama. He completed his M.S. in Biomedical science at Wake Forest Graduate School. He has an interest in research aiming to explore and raise awareness for the psychosocial aspects of dermatologic disease. Currently, he is working with Drs. Amit Pandya and Amy McMichael to better understand the psychological and quality of life implications of vitiligo, specifically within the context of global variations in culture, race, and skin types.

Quote: “My interest in vitiligo research stems from my previous work exploring the management of patients with dermatologic disease and psychosocial comorbidity. Reading published literature, I found that individuals with vitiligo frequently experience profound obstacles in coping with the condition. As vitiligo impacts all races worldwide, I became increasingly intrigued to learn more about possible variations in quality of life and coping mechanisms within distinct cultural contexts. Through this work, I hope to become more involved in creating improved patient-centered therapeutic options through increased awareness and multidisciplinary collaboration.”

Fun, interesting fact: One of Arsh’s undergraduate majors was in Drama. He says he has always been creatively-inclined and hopes to continue finding small ways of integrating the arts into healthcare and medical education.

Emily Clarke, MS3

Emily Clarke, MS3

Dell Medical School, University of Texas

Meet Emily Clarke MS3, whose research with Dr. Ammar Ahmed focuses on an NCES grafting protocol which outsources the time- and resource-intensive parts of the traditional protocol to local biotech companies to reduce barriers to performing this procedure in more derm clinics.

Take a look at her poster:

Use of a Novel, Collaborative Non-cultured Epidermal Cell Suspension Protocol to Reduce Time and Resource Barriers for Providers (PDF)

Authors: Emily Clarke, BSA, Ammar M. Ahmed, MD, The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School Division of Dermatology

Research Focus: Primarily focuses on health disparities and expanding access to care. She became involved in vitiligo research regarding the novel NCES grafting protocol because “it has the potential to increase access to this surgical treatment for more vitiligo patients.”

Research quote: “My research with Dr. Ammar M. Ahmed at Dell Medical School focuses on a novel non-cultured epidermal cell suspension (NCES) grafting protocol which "outsources” the time- and resource-intensive parts of the traditional protocol to a local biotechnology company in order to reduce barriers to performing this procedure in more dermatology clinics. My role in the project includes data gathering, information consolidation, and dissemination of results.”

Fun, interesting fact: Emily participates in competitive ballroom and country partner dancing and have won five world championship titles in the UCWDC circuit!