Six Investigators to Receive NEA Grants for Eczema Research

December 22, 2020

The new research will explore all key aspects of eczema from genetic components, to the science behind itch and inflammation, to new pathways for potential therapies.

The National Eczema Association (NEA) announced the recipients for its 2020 research grants. Six investigators will receive grants for eczema research, representing grants totaling $310,000. 

The 2020 research grants are awarded in three categories as follows:

Champion Research Grant– Proven researchers to continue research on emerging or ongoing challenges in eczema or bring their expertise to the field of eczema.

  • Anna DiNardo, MD, PhD, University of California San Diego 
    • Exploring the synergy and counter regulation between the skin barrier and immune systems; targeting S1PR2 signal to improve dermatitis 
  • Ethan Lerner, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital 
    • Exploring the basic science of what drives the itch and inflammation of atopic dermatitis and the contribution of molecules called Mrgprs 

Catalyst Research Grant – Early-career scientists on the path toward becoming the next generation of eczema thought leaders by supporting hypothesis-driven research projects.

  • Jeffrey Cheng, MD, PhD, University of California San Francisco 
    • Enabling atopic dermatitis personalized therapy through immune cell spatial mapping
  • Eran Cohen-Barak, MD, Emek Medical Center Afula, Israel 
    • Deciphering the genetics of severe atopic dermatitis

Engagement Research Grant – Emerging investigators intending to explore a new research concept, pilot a new experiment or undertake a novel or secondary data analysis. 

  • Ge Peng, MD, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo Japan: 
    • Exploring the therapeutic effect of the antimicrobial peptide human ß- defensin-3 on atopic dermatitis through autophagy regulation
  • Victor Band, PhD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD: 
    • Exploring metabolic alterations of skin microbiome during pharmaceutical treatment in atopic dermatitis

NEA has invested nearly $1.7 million since its first grant was awarded in 2004. 

"Eczema affects over 31 million people in the U.S. alone, many with severe, even debilitating impacts to their life and yet we do not see an appropriate investment in research," says Julie Block, CEO of NEA, in a news release. "We've been working hard to fill this gap, to increase the number of scientists, research projects and research dollars devoted to eczema which will lead to better therapies, better care, better outcomes – and one day, potentially a cure."

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