If Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber Wrote a Grant, Would the NIH Fund It? — OR — How Much Outside-the-Box-Thinking Should the NIH Support?

Posted 15 December 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

By Guest Blogger Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH, Associate Professor of Dermatology and Public Health, University of Colorado and the Colorado School of Public Health   "To maintain our edge . . . we've got to protect our rigorous peer review system and ensure that we only fund proposals that promise the biggest bang for taxpayer dollars . . . that's what's going to maintain our standards of scientific excellence for years to come." --President Barack Obama on the 150th... Read more

The Secrets of Insect Skin

Posted 3 November 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

By guest blogger Clint Penick, North Carolina State University   Insects wear their bones on the outside of their bodies. Their so-called “exoskeletons” provide rigid support and structure for muscle attachments similar to our own skeletons. But the exoskeleton also performs functions similar to our skin. Like skin, the exoskeleton is composed of multiple layers with pores and hairs that create a buffer between the inside of an insect’s body and the outside world (Fig. 1). With literally millions of... Read more

Predicting the Future – Hywel Williams, our Yogi Berra, Is at the Plate

Posted 27 October 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

One of Yogi’s famous quotes -- or misquotes -- is that "it is very tough to make predictions, especially about the future." Hywel Williams is one of Dermatology’s experts in explaining the present and predicting the future of health related events using quantitative data. He has been given the responsibility for directing the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Program for the UK National Health Service. Essentially all 400+ current major clinical trials within all medical specialties will be under his purview.... Read more

Stem Cells at the Montagna Symposium on the Biology of Skin (Part II)

Posted 21 October 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

GUEST BLOGGER:  Sancy Leachman, Oregon Health & Science University Welcome back to Montagna, 2015!  The conference keeps getting better and better! The morning session, chaired by John McGrath, focused on stem cell-based therapies and innovative reprogramming technologies. In this session, it seemed almost possible to glimpse the future -- a future where monogenic disorders of the skin like epidermolysis bullosa might be treatable!  John reported on remarkable responses to cell-based therapies which led to life-changing improvements in the quality of... Read more

Stem Cells at the Montagna Symposium on the Biology of Skin

Posted 20 October 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

GUEST BLOGGER:  Sancy Leachman, Oregon Health & Science University I am blogging today from the Montagna Symposium of the Biology of Skin. As most dermatologic scientists know, Montagna is developed each year as a new, independent specialty symposium, led by experts in the field, focusing on cutting-edge science that impacts the field of dermatology. The specialty topic for this year is stem cells – understanding the biology of these cells, and figuring out how to harness them to treat disease.... Read more

How Does Science Happen? The Basal Cell Nevus Saga

Posted 2 October 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Was Newton sitting under an apple tree? Was Kekulé dreaming while snakes were forming benzene rings during his rapid eye movements? Hard to say, it was a long time ago. That is why it is especially interesting to have a contemporary scientific narrative told by one of the key movers within the story. The October 2015 issue of JID includes an editorial by Ervin Epstein, Jr., who has been thinking of, dreaming of, and exploring the secrets of the basal... Read more

Einstein’s Grandchildren Revisit Space and Time

Posted 5 August 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Our last post explored the international space station and its effect on mouse hair growth. Now we go 1400 light years further into space -- and the future -- to Kepler 452b, a time and distance trip, with  blogger Paul Kantor. Time travel and prediction of the future of mankind is a popular genre — Thomas More’s "Utopia" (1516), Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" (1864), and George Orwell’s "1984" (1949) are just a few of the science... Read more

Trip to Space Station Grows Hair on Male Mice

Posted 7 July 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Some experiments are not easy to perform. Consider a recent publication reporting six mice sent to live 91 days on the international space station (ISS) while their control group was on earth. (Neutelings et al, 2015) Alas, one mouse did not survive lift off, and two others died during the mission. Do not criticize the investigators because of the small number of animals involved or the fact that they were all males. Instead, concentrate on the most interesting finding for... Read more

No Hair Works Alone—Hair Plucking and Growth

Posted 16 June 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Plucking of mouse hair is often used in the laboratory to investigate the hair cycle and sometimes to remove the pelage covering the skin before applying chemicals, drugs, ultraviolet irradiation or other components of the experimental tool box. An article by a cross-disciplinary team composed of dermatologists, stem cell biologists, developmental biologists, immunologists, mathematical biologists, and tissue engineers have worked together from diverse regions including the US, Taiwan, People’s Republic of China, and the UK. The result is a stimulating... Read more

Editors’ Picks from Experimental Dermatology

Posted 11 June 2015 by Lowell Goldsmith - JID Jottings

Epidermal suction blister gene expression study suggests an influence of non pigmentary genes for the regulation of ethnic skin color   Differences in visible skin pigmentation are a major determinant of skin color associated with ethnic background. The initial goal of this study (Yin et al, 2014) performed on epidermal extracts from individuals of Caucasian, Asian, and African ancestry, was to identify differentially expressed genes with a special focus on known pigment-related genes. However, only a few of them were... Read more