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UCD Charles Institute for Translational Dermatology

Launched with an investment of €18 million, the UCD Charles Institute for Translational Dermatology is the first academic institute devoted to translational dermatology in Ireland and Europe. The Institute’s vision is to become a world leader in translational dermatology research, supporting optimal patient care in Ireland, and to establish an outstanding education program for basic and clinical scientists. The goal is that innovative research will quickly lead to improved patient care through the discovery of new treatments and therapies. The institute is closely linked to the UCD hospitals, and also collaborates with many dermatology departments in Ireland and world-wide. The institute is funded through federal and university funding, the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital Charity, other charities, as well as industry partnerships. Coming from the University of California San Francisco (USA) in January 2014, Professor Martin Steinhoff (MD, PhD, MSc, FRCPI) started as the first professorial chair for dermatology in Ireland and as the director of this new institute.

The mission: Translational dermatology research

Based on the agreement between the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital Charity with the University College Dublin (UCD), the Charles Institute was built on the Belfield campus at UCD. The Institute is named in honour of Andrew Charles, the founder of the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital Dublin. As a continuation of his vision, this academic institute aims at combining excellent patient care with high-profile basic and clinical research on internationally competitive standards. With space for 72 scientists, the Charles institute is a multi-disciplinary centre which integrates scientists studying skin genetics, cancer, immunology, neuroscience, inflammation or regeneration/wound healing.  Using innovative –omics technologies (transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, interactomics) and state-of-the-art imaging, molecular, biochemical and immunology methods, researchers at the Charles institute seek to understand the pathophysiology of skin diseases in a complementary fashion. Using a systems medicine approach, and through close collaboration with clinicians in the various hospitals, translational dermatology research becomes very concrete. Through the support of the linked patient speciality clinics for skin diseases and the Clinical Research Centres (CRCs) at UCD, and in collaboration with many hospitals in Ireland, several human studies and clinical trials have been started which will hopefully quickly lead to beneficial new therapies for patients in the near future.

Aims & Objectives

The objectives of the UCD Charles Institute for Translational Dermatology will be:

  • To creating a centre of excellence of international repute in translational dermatology.
  • To conduct research programs leading to an enhanced understanding of skin diseases.
  • To establish and develop new technologies that will give new insights into the physiological and pathophysiological role of our largest body system, the skin.
  • To establish a translational dermatology department which integrates excellent clinical and basic research
  • To provide the facilities and personnel for the future education and training of healthcare professionals dedicated to curing skin disease.
  • To structure a National programme that supports Irelands community of dermatologists through continued medical education and patient advocacy.
  • To develop the translational model of bench-to-bedside research through close collaboration between the existing dermatological services in St. Vincent’s University Hospital (the Charles clinic), the Mater hospital, other hospitals in Ireland, and the Charles Institute.

To ensure ultimately that these objectives will result in the betterment of dermatological treatment for the many patients in Ireland who suffer from skin diseases and its many complications.

Programs

  • Immuno-pathophysiology of atopic dermatitis
  • Pathophysiology of psoriasis
  • Genetics of melanoma
  • Systems medicine in dermatology
  • Pathophysiology and genetics of rosacea
  • Acne
  • Skin Regeneration and wound healing
  • Gene therapy of skin diseases
  • Pathophysiology, quality of life and treatment of patients with epidermolysis bullosa
  • Neurobiology of the skin
  • Molecular itch research
  • Clinical trials
  • Skin Systems-pharmacology

Core Technologies (in collaboration with UCD Conway institute and Systems Biology Ireland):

  • Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization
  • Imaging
  • Genomics
  • Proteomics
  • FACS/Cell sorting
  • Bioinformatics

Partnerships:

  • University of California San Diego, USA
  • University of California Davis, USA
  • University of Muenster, Germany
  • Pfizer
  • Galderma
  • Leo
  • L’Oreal
  • Avon
  • Tigercat
  • Toray
  • Maruho

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