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The division of Dermatologic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology maintains an active research program related to skin cancer and melanoma, as well as plastic reconstruction and wound healing. A major focus of our research is on advanced methods of identification of skin cancer with greater risk of progression or metastasis and optimizing management of these cancers. We recently identified several pathologic features of perineural invasion in squamous cell carcinoma that are associated with poor prognosis. Work is ongoing to improve the pathologic staging of these tumors and identify patients who would benefit from additional treatment. Similarly, we have studied rates of incomplete surgical excision of melanoma in situ and reported-on cases that are most likely to require Mohs surgery or staged excision techniques. We are currently analyzing intraoperative pathologic specimens from Mohs micrographic surgery of melanoma in situ to more accurately characterize the microscopic features of these cancers at the surgical margin and thus improve surgical management. Among our additional innovative initiatives is a collaboration with the Department of Bioengineering within Yale College to develop a novel device to automate skin biopsy. Many of these projects have benefitted from collaboration with investigators in other departments both at Yale and throughout the United States.

Additional Areas of Research

  • Defining the genetic changes induced by chronic ultraviolet exposure that lead to skin cancer
  • Using clinical and histopathologic evidence of sun damage and precancerous lesions to improve skin cancer risk assessment
  • Employing field treatments such as photodynamic therapy and acitretin to decrease the risk of skin cancer
  • Characterizing pathologic and clinical features of rare skin cancers such as cutaneous sarcoma to optimize treatment
  • Describing optimal healing strategies for surgical defects of the nose and eyelids
  • Utilizing laser treatment for medical dermatologic conditions such as scleroderma and cutaneous lupus

Selected Publications