Scientific Advisory Board
Members of the Scientific Advisory Board help to develop our research agenda, evaluate grant applications, review progress reports, articulate and communicate the VRF’s vision to the community and disseminate the findings to peers and practitioners in the field.
Prof. Robert Schwartz, MD
Chair of Scientific Advisory Board
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. Professor 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. Hong-Duo Chen, MD
One of China's most eminent and respected dermatologists and medical researchers, Professor Hong-Duo Chen currently holds the positions of professor of Dermatology and Honorary President of the No.1 Hospital at China Medical University in Shenyang, China. He is also Director of the Immunodermatological Key Laboratory at the Ministry of Health in China, Director of the Photomedicine Center at China Medical University and also hold the positions of Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Dermatology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College; Adjunct Professor, Medical College of Xiamen University; and Adjunct Professor, Zhejiang University School of Medicine. Professor Chen has been a member of Board of Directors of the International Society of Dermatology since 2009, after having been the President from 2004-2009. Since 2006 he has been associate editor for the International Journal of Biomedical Science and associate editor for the Journal of Applied Cosmetology since 2004.
Prof. Paulo Cunha, MD, PhD
Professor Cunha was Director of the Jundiai Medical School in Sao Paulo, Brazil (1996-2000); he is Member and has been First Secretary of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology (2002), its Director of Library (2005-2006) and Member of the Commission's Specialists (1998-2005); he is a member of the Cooperative Group for Fogo Selvagem Research in Brazil and the United States. Since 2006 (until 2012) he has been Medical Coordinator of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology Journal. In 2013-2014 he will be one Secretary of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology board. His participation on international boards has included Director of International Society of Dermatology, member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Dermatology, member of the Assembly Meeting of Delegates of ILDS in Seoul – 2011, Executive Advisory & Liaison Board of 1st International Winter Consensus Conference. He has specialized in researching tropical diseases, endemic phempigus foliaceus and leishmaniasis. Prof. Cunha has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of this disease in Brazil.
Prof. Xing-Hua Gao, MD
Professor Xing-Hua Gao, PhD., specializes in the immunopathology and immunobiology of skin diseases. His research is especially focused on atopic dermatitis, vitiligo and human papillomavirus infections of the skin. Since 2002 he has been serving as a Professor of Dermatology at China Medical University and since 2007 as a Professor and Chairman of the Dermatology Department at the No. 1 Hospital of China Medical University. He is a Member of many domestic and international committees and societies and serves as an editor of several journals.
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.
Dr. John Harris, MD
Dr. John E. Harris, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Dermatology division of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He has also worked in the Department of Immunology and Virology, the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program and the MD/PhD Program at the UMMS Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Harris has also been a research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. He specializes in dermatology, immunology and autoimmune diseases and the physiopathology of vitiligo.
Dr. Aliya Kasumkhanova, MD
Dr. Aliya Kasumkhanova, PhD, is the Head of Physiotherapy Department of the Regional Dermatovenereology Center of South Kazakhstan. She has been actively involved in vitiligo research since 2004. Dr. Kasumkhanova published over 20 papers and received two patents for vitiligo treatments. A tireless patient advocate, Aliya chairs the “Vitiligo School”, a local patient education and support group that she founded in 2005.
Prof. Konstantin Lomonosov, MD
Professor Lomonosov graduated from the Medical Faculty of the Moscow Order of Lenin State Medical Institute in 1988. Following his graduation he continued his medical and research activities at the Department of Skin and Venereal Diseases in the Moscow Medical Academy. In 2000 he completed his doctorate in two specialty fields "Allergy and Immunology" and "skin and venereal diseases." Professor Lomonosov is currently a consultant to the Medical Center of the Russian Presidential Administration, the scientific director of the venereal branch of the skin diseases clinic at the Moscow Medical Academy and a member of specialized dissertation councils. In addition to ongoing treatment activities, he is actively engaged in teaching, in therapeutic counseling and research activities.
Prof. Lali Mekokishvili, MD
Dermato-venereologist and infectivologist, Professor Mekokishvili Lali is a full Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Tbilisi Medical Academy in Georgia. She is also the President and founder of the Georgian Association of Photodermatology and Skin Cancer, a board member of various Georgian and international scientific and professional associations, and a specialist member of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. Professor Mekokishvili is a national representative of the “Euromelanoma” campaign in Georgia and a member of the editorial boards of numerous international scientific magazines.
Prof. Silvia Moretti, MD
Professor Silvia Moretti is Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of Florence, Faculty of Medicine (Italy). She is Dermatology Residency Program Director, Cooordinator of the Master of Tricological Sciences, Professor in Dermatology Residency Program, Professor in the School of Medicine and Surgery, and in Applied Clinical Nursing at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Florence. Prof. Moretti's research has largely focused on skin diseases such as skin cancer (particularly lymphoma and melanoma), immune-mediated skin diseases and pigmentation disorders (in particular vitiligo). Using immuno-histochemical and ultrastructural methods integrated with cellular and molecular biology and cell culture, she has focused on translational studies designed to identify the stages of tumor progression and to clarify the causes of the pathogenesis of skin diseases. She has participated in international multi-centre studies on skin diseases within this field.
Dr. Davinder Parsad, MD
Dr. Davinder Parsad, PhD is currently working as Adjunct Professor at the Department of Dermatology of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India. His main area of research and expertise is the pathogenesis and treatment of vitiligo. Dr. Parsad is the President of the Asian Society for Pigment Cell Research, Coordinator of the Asian region for the World Vitiligo consensus group and a Council Member of International Federation of Pigment Cell Societies. In addition he has received many international awards and fellowships. He is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the founding director of the Vitiligo Academy of India and a member of the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists.
Prof. Antonio Salafia, MD
Prof. Salafia has been at the forefront of dermatology treatment at the Vimala Dermatological Centre in Mumbai for many years. After graduating from St. Johns’ Medical College in Bangalore he went on to work in Mumbai on an honorary basis at an NGO dedicated to leprosy patients. In Bombay he studied Dermatology under Prof. Rui J. Fernandez and Plastic Surgery under Dr. J. Shah. In 1983 went to the Istituto Dermatopatico dell’Immacolata in Rome, for a stage in advanced Dermatology. There he got in touch with Dr. C. Frati who passed on his experience with Vitiligo. In 1981 the Vimala Dermatological Centre (VDC) started reconstructive surgery for leprosy patients and Dr. Salafia joined as assistant to Dr. J. Shah. In 1984 he studied hand surgery under Prof. E. Morelli and microsurgery with Prof. G. Brunelli. When Dr. Shah retired from the VDC, Dr. Salafia took over as reconstructive surgeon where he worked as dermatologist until his untimely death on April 26, 2014.
Prof. Mirna Situm, MD
Professor Mirna Šitum is Head of the Department of Dermatovenereology at “Sestre milosrdnice” University Hospital Centre, Head of the Referral Center for Melanoma and Referral Center for Chronic Wounds for the Health Ministry of the Republic of Croatia, President of the Croatian Dermatovenereological Society section of the Croatian Medical Association, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Vitiligo Research Foundation (2012). Prof. Šitum is a leading researcher in various fields of dermatology, chief researcher officer of the Ministry of Science of the Republic of Croatia. As a consultant researcher she is cooperating in 10 science research projects, some of which have international valence, mostly in oncology.
Prof. Andrija Stanimirovic, MD
Professor Andrija Stanimirovic, MD, MPH, PhD serves as a full time Professor of Dermatology & Venereology at the University of Applied Health Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia, as a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Maribor, Slovenia, and also serves as a Consultant Dermatologist at his own private office in Zagreb, among many consulting positions. Professor Stanimirovic is the President of the Croatian Vitiligo Association, Vice-President of the Croatian Psoriasis Association and Board Member of the Croatian Dermatovenerological Society and Croatian Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. He is also a member of EADV, AAD, Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology (JSID) and the scientific board member of the Research Institute of the Dead Sea (RIDS.) Scientific and clinical work of Professor Stanim
Prof. Nino Tsiskarishvili, MD
Professor Nino Tsiskarishvili is a Founder and President of the Vitiligo Association of Georgia. A Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Tbilisi State Medical University in 1977, and Associated Professor of her Alma Mater since 2003, she has been actively involved in dermatological research and teaching. Nino has published over 120 papers and two monographs. She is a member of the Editorial Board of "South Caucasian Dermatology and Venerology News" and several other journals, an active member of the Georgian Association of Dermatovenerologists and EADV. Clinical work of Profsessor Tsiskarishvili is focused on pigmentary disorders and vitiligo.
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?
6th Annual Vitiligo Conference
"Designed to be Seen" will be held at Bethel Gospel Assembly in the Heart of Harlem. Organized by Vitiligo Friends , hosted by Patricia Rossy, Vice President, NY-VITF...25 July 2014 00:00, New York, NY
Summer fun at AVRF Annual Retreat
American Vitiligo Research Foundation will be hosting its annual retreat on Friday, August 15 to Sunday, August 17, 2014. The program includes lots of summer fun for k...15 August 2014 10:01, Clarion Inn & Suites, Clearwater FL
Will it spread?
The condition varies from person to person. Some people only get a few small, white patches that progress no further. Other people get bigger white patches that join u...
Is it possible to stop the progression of vitiligo?
It is true that vitiligo progression could be stopped in 4 out of 5 cases by the use of potent systemic corticosteroids. However, systemic corticosteroids might ha...
What tests should be done?
No tests are usually necessary to make the diagnosis. The white patches may be seen more easily under Wood's light examination.
I have vitiligo: will my children have vitiligo, too?
In some cases vitiligo seems to be inherited and run in families, with children whose parents have vitiligo being at increased risk of developing the condition themsel...