Prof. Sijia Wang and his team, Max Planck-CAS Paul Gerson Unna Research Group on Dermatogenomics from the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences have been awarded the CK Research Award for Skin Physiology 2017 - in recognition of their outstanding work “A Genome-Wide Association Study of Basal Trans-epidermal Water Loss Finds that Variants at 9q34.3 Are Associated with Skin Barrier Function”. On behalf of Prof. Sijia Wang, one of the leading authors Manfei Zhang attended the ceremony and received the award at the SEPAWA 2017 congress in Berlin on October 19th.
Led by Prof. Sijia Wang, the Max Planck-CAS Paul Gerson Unna Research Group on Dermatogenomics focuses on non-disease skin physiology features, and aims to understand the biology of skin and its appendages. Prof. Wang and his team approach this goal by developing and integrating state-of-the-art genomics tools, and by leveraging resources from large-scale longitudinal cohorts. In early 2017, Prof. Wang and his team have completed a genome-wide association study of skin barrier function. The study reported novel variants at 9q34.3, not the well-known skin barrier disease related FLG variants, associated with skin barrier function in Chinese. The work was published in the J Invest Dermatol 137: 979-982, 2017. This study suggests that the genetics underlying common variations of a skin physiology feature in healthy skin could be very different from the genetics underlying the same skin physiology feature in atopic dermatitis.
While many genome-wide studies have been carried out on skin diseases, this is the first genome-wide study on a typical skin physiology feature. In the dermatological field, genetic aspects of non-disease skins are largely understudied. Closer investigations on the skin physiology variations and the underlying mechanisms might help us to better understand the biology of skin. Therefore, Prof. Wang and his team’s work on the genetics of skin barrier function (basal TEWL) is an important step in this direction, and it may well stimulate further interest in genetic research of common skin physiology features.
CK Research Award for Skin Physiology was supported by the Courage+Khazaka electronic GmbH. It was announced to the 30th anniversary of the field leading company and for the best original work on a topic from skin physiology, the development of skin products and related disciplines. The prize appraisal was performed by external and independent scientists chaired by Prof. Dr. med Joachim Fluhr from Charité Berlin.