Board Of Directors
The VR Foundation’s Board of Directors comprises well-respected individuals who govern the foundation, establish policy, set priorities, and make final grant decisions. All members are unpaid volunteers serving staggered five-year terms, for a maximum of 10 years. The foundation’s appointment process ensures that the Board represents a diverse range of views and knowledge.
Mr. Dmitry Aksenov, MSc, MBA
Mr. Dmitry Aksenov established the Vitiligo Research Foundation as a continuation of his medical research initiatives. He joined with leading physicians and scientists in launching the vitiligo research alliance with the aim of making more progress against this distressing skin disorder. Recently, he formalized his philanthropic activities by founding the VR Foundation, which has become one of leading supporters of vitiligo research and treatment in the world. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Aksenov is often said to have revolutionized the Russian real estate development market and created thousands of jobs. He introduced the first energy-efficient and affordable house to the local Russian market in 2010. He graduated with highest distinction and earned his MSc in 1989.
Prof. Andy Goren, MD
Prof. Andy Ofer Goren has accumulated over 20 years of experience in the development and commercialization of breakthrough technologies in the medical, biotechnology and semiconductor fields. Prof. Goren currently serves as a contract Professor of Molecular Dermatology at Universita' degli Studi di Roma "G.Marconi." He is currently engaged in the development of dermatology therapies based on genetically modified organisms. He has recently completed the development of a topical band-pass filter drug for vitiligo, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. He was the inventor of the first commercial genetic test for predicting androgenetic alopecia as well as the developer of a myriad of molecular diagnostic tests in dermatology for predicting therapy response. Prof. Goren studied mathematics and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley and research work at Stanford University.
Prof. Jana Hercogova, MD
Prof. Jana Hercogova is the President of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. She held, among other positions, the position of Chairwoman at the Dept. of Dermatology, Charles University Prague since 1995, Scientific Board Member of the 2nd Medical Faculty, Charles University since 1999, Secretary General of the Czech Academy of Dermatology and Venereology since 2012, Board Member of the European Society for Cosmetic and Aesthetic Dermatology since 2000, Professor of Dermatology, Venereology, Cell Biology and Psychocutaneous Medicine at the Int. Faculty of the "Centro Interuniversitario di Dermatologia Biologica e Psicosomatica", Italy since 2001, Visiting Professor University of Siena, Italy since 2003, Honorary Professor at the No 1 Hospital in Shenyang, China since 2011.
Prof. Torello Lotti, MD
A world-renown expert on vitiligo, a key note lecturer at major dermatology meetings, visiting professor at several universities in homeland Italy and abroad, chairman and director of dermatology societies, a co-author of comprehensive book “Vitiligo: Problems and Solutions”, Professor Torello Lotti provides top scientific advisory to the VRF. He has been Full Professor of the Dermatology and Venereology Division at University of Florence School of Medicine, Florence, Italy, from 2006 to 2010. He currently holds position of Full Professor and Chair of Dermatology and Venereology at the public University of Rome Guglielmo Marconi. The fields of his principal scientific investigations are focused on the study of neuropeptides in numerous skin diseases, of plasminogen activators in autoimmune dermatoses and in lichen planus, and the clinical aspects and treatment of psoriasis vulgaris with particular emphasis on new therapies with biological agents. Of particular relevance is his research on the pathogenesis and innovative treatments for vitiligo. An Honorary Professor of Dermatology, China Medical University at Shenyang. New York Academy of Sciences "Howard Fox" Awardee & Lecturer (March, 2012).
Prof. Robert Schwartz, MD
One of the America's foremost dermatologists, Robert Schwartz is Professor and Head of Dermatology at New Jersey Medical School. He is also Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the New Jersey Medical School. Prof. Schwartz has been elected a Member Honoris Causa of 15 National Dermatologic Societies in Europe. He has lectured widely, including eighteen consecutive years on the faculty of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, as a featured speaker dozens of dermatological congresses. He is a past President of the Dermatology Section of the New York Academy of Medicine, and in 2009 began a five-year term on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Dermatology.
Prof. Richard Spritz, MD
Prof. Richard Spritz is a world renowned researcher at the Human Medical Genetics and Genomics Program, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora. His laboratory studies mapping, discovery and function of disease genes affecting skin, autoimmunity, and craniofacial development, with particular focus on the molecular basis of human genetic diseases, including mutational and functional analysis of human disease genes. Over the past 25 years, his laboratory has characterized many different disorders of pigmentation, including albinism, piebaldism, and particularly vitiligo, as well as related autoimmune diseases, incuding autoimmune thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and others, finding that these different autoimmune diseases share common underlying susceptibility genes. Most recently, Prof. Spritz has organized and carried out several iinternational genome-wide association studies, involving thousands of vitiligo patients, thereby identifying at least 32 different genes that are involved with susceptibility to vitiligo.
Prof. Michael Tharp, MD
Prof. Michael Tharp has been an integral part of the RUSH University Medical Center since 1995 and is presently the senior attending physician, chairman and program director, and Chief Editor of the Dermatologic Therapy journal in the Department of Dermatology. He has been certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine since 1977 and the American Board of Dermatology since 1980. His areas of expertise include atopic dermatitis, urticaria, mastocytosis, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, psoriasis, blistering diseases and pediatric dermatology. His Academic Office is at the Department of Dermatology in the RUSH University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. He is an Invited Lecturer to numerous international events in the field of dermatology which include the American Academy of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Central Society for Investigative Dermatology and the World Congress of Dermatology.
Mr. Lee Thomas
Lee Thomas is an American broadcaster, author and motivational speaker who travels the world sharing his story, challenging and encouraging people to live their life the best way they can in the face of any adversity. He has won multiple Awards including Emmy, Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Associated Press Awards as an anchor and producer. He is currently a weekday morning show anchor and entertainment "guru" for Fox 2 News in Detroit. Early in his career, he was diagnosed with vitiligo, a potentially disastrous event that he turned into a story of success. Thomas began by telling his story on TV after being asked by a young man also affected by the disease. That TV story became the autobiographical memoir "turning white". Now, his story have been featured around the globe on multiple radio, TV and other media outlets including Larry King Live, ABC's 20/20, Entertainment Tonight's Insider, Montel, CBC's The Hour and BBC Radio Worldwide. Mr. Thomas is also a board member of the National Vitiligo Foundation based in the United states. He is now working on the follow up book to his award winning memoir as he tirelessly advocates for vitiligo patience worldwide.
I support the petition to designate June 25 as Vitiligo World Day and save millions of people worldwide from social isolation and persecution.
What is coming?
May 24, 2013: VRF Presentation at EADV Spring Symposium
Sodium oxodihydroacridinylacetate in treatment of active vitiligo. Results of preliminary clinical study. Abstract and presentation here
I have vitiligo: will my children have vitiligo too?
Although most cases of vitiligo are sporadic, familial clustering is not uncommon, and up to 20% of patients report on the affected relatives. In whites, the lifetime ...
How can I treat vitiligo?
Choosing a treatment for vitiligo can be difficult, sometimes overwhelming. In general, first-line therapy should be safe, effective, minimally invasive, and cost effi...
What causes vitiligo?
It remains unclear what causes damage to melanocytes and their subsequent total inactivation and/or disappearance in vitiligo skin. There are several theories; the mos...
Is it possible to stop the progression of vitiligo?
Vitiligo is progressive in 73% of cases and regressive in 1.3%. We usually explain to the patients that progression depends on the modality of the disease spreading: l...