Scientific Advisory Board

The members of our Scientific Advisory Board help us to develop our research agenda, evaluate grant applications, review progress reports, and articulate and communicate our vision and findings to the global scientific community.

Prof. Andrew Alexis, MD

Chair of Scientific Advisory Board

Andrew AlexisOne Dr. Alexis is the Director of the Skin of Color Center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. After receiving his medical degree and Master’s of Public Health from Columbia University, he completed his dermatology residency at Weill Cornell Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in dermatopharmacology at New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Alexis is a recognized authority in medical and cosmetic dermatology in patients with skin of color. He has been an investigator in numerous clinical studies, has widely published in the peer-reviewed literature, and is a frequent lecturer at national and international dermatology meetings. Dr. Alexis currently serves as Chair of the American Academy of Dermatology Diversity Task Force and Treasurer/Secretary of the Skin of Color Society. He is also Past President of the New York Academy of Medicine Section on Dermatology and has served as Treasurer of the Dermatologic Society of Greater New York. Dr. Alexis has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX television news programs and has been quoted in numerous leading publications, including the New York Times, Forbes, and Allure.

Prof. Hong-Duo Chen, MD

Prof. Hong Duo ChenProfessor Chen is one of China's most eminent and respected dermatologists and medical researchers. He 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

Prof. CunhaProfessor Cunha was Director of the Jundiai Medical School in Sao Paulo, Brazil (1996-2000). He is a 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); and is a member of the Cooperative Group for Fogo Selvagem Research in Brazil and the United States. He has also been Medical Coordinator of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology Journal (2006-2012) and Secretary of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology board (2013-2014. 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 and has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of this disease in Brazil.

Prof. Xing-Hua Gao, MD

Prof. Xing Hua GaoProfessor Gao 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. Goren WProfessor Goren has over 20 years of experience in the development and commercialization of breakthrough technologies in the medical and biotechnology fields. He serves as a contract Professor of Molecular Dermatology at Universita' degli Studi di Roma "G.Marconi" and 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. Professor Goren studied mathematics and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley and research work at Stanford University.

Dr. John Harris, MD

Dr. John HarrisDr. Harris 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 Aidarbekovna Kassymkhanova, MD

Dr. Aliya KasumkhanovaDr. Kassymkhanova heads the Physiotherapy Department of the Regional Dermatovenereology Center of South Kazakhstan. She has been actively involved in vitiligo research since 2004. Dr. Kassymkhanova 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 she founded in 2005.


Prof. Konstantin Lomonosov, MD

Prof. Konstantin LomonosovProfessor 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

Prof. Lali MekokishviliProfessor Mekokishvili is a dermato-venereologist and infectivologist and 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

Prof. Silvia MorettiProfessor Silvia Moretti is Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of Florence, Faculty of Medicine, Italy, where she is also Dermatology Residency Program Director, Cooordinator of the Master of Tricological Sciences, Professor in Dermatology Residency Program, and Professor in the School of Medicine and Surgery, and the Applied Clinical Nursing. Professor 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

Prof. Davinder ParsadDr. Parsad 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. 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. In addition he has received many international awards and fellowships.

Prof. Mirna Situm, MD

Mirna Šitum, 31.1.2013 2.Professor Šitum is Head of the Department of Dermatovenereology at the 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 chief researcher officer of the Ministry of Science of the Republic of Croatia. She is a leading researcher in various fields of dermatology and, as a consultant researcher she is cooperating in ten science research projects, some with international reach, mostly in oncology.

Prof. Richard Spritz, MD

Richard SpritzProfessor Spritz is a world-renowned researcher at the Human Medical Genetics and Genomics Program, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora. His laboratory looks at the 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, including autoimmune thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and others, finding that these different autoimmune diseases share common underlying susceptibility genes. Most recently, Professor Spritz organized and carried out several international genome-wide association studies, involving thousands of vitiligo patients, thereby identifying at least 32 different genes that are involved with susceptibility to vitiligo.

Prof. Andrija Stanimirovic, MD

Prof. Andrija Stanimirovic Professor Stanimirovic 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). 

Prof. Robert Schwartz, MD

Prof. Schwartz (2)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 fifteen 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. He served as Chair of the VRF Scientific Advisory Board from May 2010 through December 2014.

Prof. Michael Tharp, MD 

Mike TharpProfessor Tharp has been an integral part of the RUSH University Medical Center since 1995 and is presently 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 at numerous international events in the field of dermatology, including the American Academy of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Central Society for Investigative Dermatology and the World Congress of Dermatology.

Prof. Nino Tsiskarishvili, MD

Prof. Tsiskarishvili NinoProfessor 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 and 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.

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