• Press Release

Mount Sinai Awarded Prestigious $4 Million Grant to Launch Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center

  • New York, NY
  • (October 20, 2021)

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is establishing a Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center (SBDRC), funded by a $4 million, five-year P30 grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). The Mount Sinai SBDRC will serve as a hub for research in skin biology and skin diseases throughout the Mount Sinai Health System, New York City, and the entire tri-state region—one of only six SBDRCs nationwide supported by a NIAMS grant.

The Mount Sinai SBDRC will be directed by Elena Ezhkova, PhD, Professor of Cell, Developmental, and Regenerative Biology, and Dermatology, in the Black Family Stem Cell Institute at Icahn Mount Sinai. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of skin epigenetics. Dr. Ezhkova’s most recent study, published in Developmental Cell, found that ultraviolet light exposure produces epigenetic changes in the epidermis to induce skin pigmentation.

“This new Center will continue our efforts at Mount Sinai to accelerate research in skin biology and diseases, and promote translation of that understanding to benefit our patients across the entire Health System,” said Dr. Ezhkova. “We will also ensure a vibrant future for skin biology and diseases research by aiding the early careers and development of outside investigators and physician-scientists through training and financial support, as well as enhancing the diversity of our research community through targeted recruitment and mentoring of young scientists from all backgrounds.”

Sarah Millar, PhD, Director of the Black Family Stem Cell Institute and the Lillian and Henry M. Stratton Professor of Gene and Cell Medicine, and Emma Guttman, MD, PhD, the Waldman Professor of Dermatology, and System Chair of the Kimberly and Eric J. Waldman Department of Dermatology, at Icahn Mount Sinai, will serve as Associate Co-Directors of the Center.

The Center will use technical innovations, high-end infrastructure, and computing power available at Mount Sinai to advance and support skin research, and will embed experts in gene editing, genomics, and bioinformatics within skin research labs to break down interdisciplinary communication barriers. The SBDRC program will also provide in-person and virtual events, such as seminars and research-in-progress talks, to facilitate collaboration in cutaneous biology and diseases. The Center will promote research and innovation through three resource cores: Skin Disease Modeling; Skin Genomics, Transcriptomics, and Epigenetics; and Data Analysis and Integration.

Furthering Mount Sinai’s commitments to diversity, inclusion, and equity, the SBDRC will award pilot grants and scholarships to reduce cost barriers and expand access to advanced technologies for innovative projects, and establish the Mount Sinai Skin Scholars Program to build a pipeline of underrepresented high school students entering skin research.

“Research in skin biology is extremely strong at Mount Sinai and we have recently recruited additional highly talented faculty in this area,” said Dr. Millar, an expert in skin development, stem cells, and regeneration. “The SBDRC will provide a really important platform allowing us to synergize our research as well as increasing our interactions with new SBDRC members at other institutions.”

Dr. Guttman, a world-renowned expert in the molecular and cellular pathomechanisms of inflammatory skin diseases, said the grant will be a vital contribution to the future of dermatology research and help foster additional discoveries in skin diseases.

“The Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center will be very important to foster additional dermatology research at Mount Sinai—both on model systems and at the human interface—and will assist our investigators and outside investigators with their skin-related research,” she said.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.

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