Contributions of Early Life Bacterial-Barrier-Immune Interactions in the Path to Atopy


Pediatric atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, costly, and high-morbidity disease. The earliest events that precede disease onset and modulate severity in at-risk infants remain poorly defined. Using novel experimental approaches in human and murine models, we propose to define mechanisms whereby cutaneous exposure to bacteria in barrier-deficient neonates triggers development of AD. Our longer-term objective is to reduce global atopic burden by developing “smart” topical treatments for at-risk infants, which target the skin microbial community and/or the cytokines they elicit, thereby preventing early events in the atopic march.

— Tiffany A. Scharschmidt, M.D.

  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Sun Pharma Research Award

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