Board Of Directors
Our Directors are well-respected individuals with a diverse range of views, experience and knowledge. They are responsible for governing the VRF, establishing policy, setting priorities, and making final grant decisions. All Directors are unpaid volunteers serving staggered five-year terms, for a maximum of ten years.
Mr. Dmitry Aksenov, MSc, MBA
Dmitry Aksenov founded the Vitiligo Research Foundation in 2010, as a means of organizing and coordinating vitiligo research across the world. A self-made man, successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, Dmitry is often said to have revolutionized the Russian real estate development market. He graduated with the highest distinction and earned his MSc in physics in 1989. In the early 2000s, Dmitry introduced the first energy-efficient and affordable houses to the Russian market, and created thousands of jobs in the Moscow region. He actively promotes a cultural dialogue between East and West through the Vienna Art Fair, which he acquired in 2012 and has since turned it into an annual, must-see contemporary art event.
As the father of a child with vitiligo, he began his involvement in combating the disease by consulting with leading dermatologists and identifying recent breakthroughs in medical research that could cure his daughter. When he discovered that very little funding went towards new work in vitiligo, he spent two years identifying and recruiting the most visionary scientists in the field to work together.
Unwilling to accept the limited treatment options available to vitiligo patients, Dmitry established the Vitiligo Research Foundation. He teamed up with leading experts from academia and the biopharma industry to accelerate the basic science and create connections between academic scientists and those who commercially develop drugs. Since its inception, the VRF has become one of the leading supporters of vitiligo research and treatment in the world. Dmitry is now dedicated to the mission of the VR Foundation in preventing other families having to endure a similar battle with this distressing skin disease.
Prof. Torello Lotti, MD
Chair of the Board, co-founder
Professor Lotti is VR Foundation's co-founder and our top scientific advisor. He is a world-renowned vitiligo expert, a keynote lecturer at major dermatology meetings, visiting professor at several universities in his homeland of Italy and abroad, chairman and director of dermatology societies, and co-author of the book ‘Vitiligo: Problems and Solutions’. He was Full Professor of the Dermatology and Venereology Division at University of Florence School of Medicine in Italy from 2006 to 2010 and is now Full Professor and Chair of Dermatology and Venereology at the Gugliemo Marconi University in Rome. 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. Professor Lotti is also an Honorary Professor of Dermatology at the China Medical University, Shenyang and a New York Academy of Sciences Howard Fox Awardee & Lecturer.
Prof. Jana Hercogova, MD
Prof. Jana Hercogova is the past-President of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. Her positions include Chairwoman at the Department of Dermatology, Charles University Prague since 1995 and also Scientific Board Member of the 2nd Medical Faculty, 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 International 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. Mark Lebwohl, MD
President-elect of the American Academy of Dermatology, Prof. Lebwohl leads one of the most renowned dermatology programs in the nation. Under his direction, extraordinary recruits in medical dermatology have developed safer, more effective therapies in skin cancer, psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema, and many other dermatologic diseases. He is professor and chairman of the department of dermatology at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Lebwohl is president of the New York State Society of Dermatology and has served as president of the Manhattan Dermatologic Society and chairman of the Dermatology Section of the New York Academy of Medicine. He is also a member of the Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation. Mark Lebwohl has chaired numerous symposia and has written or edited several books, including the leading book on dermatologic therapy, - Treatment of Skin Disease. He has authored or co-authored over 500 publications including articles, chapters and abstracts. Prof. Lebwohl is actively involved in clinical trials of many new dermatologic treatments.
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. 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.
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?
XVII Master Class on Vitiligo in Manaus, Brazil
XVII Master Class on Vitiligo in Brazil will focus on therapeutic options for vitiligo, including ethno-botanical or 'traditional medicines' of Amazon tribes. When: J...03 June 2016 00:00, Manaus, Brazil
What causes vitiligo?
The precise cause of vitiligo is not well understood. The white areas appear due to loss of the pigment (melanin) that gives skin its color and protects it from the su...
Why there is no drug for vitiligo yet?
Despite the dearth of medications available to treat psoriasis - a disease with similar prevalence numbers and impact on quality of life - vitiligo has no known cure o...
Can chemicals cause vitiligo?
Yes, certain chemicals can, indeed, induce or worsen vitiligo. Most commonly they include phenols, such as 4-tertiary-butyl phenol (4-TBP, found in adhesives) or 4-ter...
Who is prone to vitiligo?
Vitiligo affects 0.5-2% of the population, and occurs in all races and all social levels. Vitiligo can affect people of all ages, but often starts between the ages of ...