Yale Dermatology Clinical Instructor and Postdoctoral Fellow Simon F. Roy, MD, is one of four recipients of the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) 2023 Dermatology Fellowship Award for his research project, “Epigenetics and Acral Melanoma Prognostic Model for Skin of Color Patients.”
A member of the Bosenberg Lab, Dr. Roy is a dermatopathologist who credits both his world-class mentors at Yale and advances in immunotherapy with inspiring his pursuit of melanoma research.
Through heavy investment in emerging melanoma research like Dr. Roy’s, the MRA seeks to increase scientific understanding among medical professionals and patients alike, with the goal of identifying and applying breakthroughs in treatment.
Dr. Roy’s $50,000 grant specifically honors his critical work in building upon prior research to demystify acral melanoma, a subtype of melanoma most commonly occurring on the soles of the foot, palm of the hand, or underneath a fingernail – areas not typically exposed to the sun’s UV rays. This rare and understudied subtype is the most common melanoma subtype in patients with skin of color, which underscores the importance of conducting research among a diverse patient population.
“We decided to build upon the acral melanoma cohort from Yale from prior funded work by the MRA and led by Ruth Halaban, PhD (Nature Communications, 2022) that have linked focal amplifications of cytoband 22q11.21 to metastasis in acral melanoma through DNA and RNA sequencing. We seek to further characterize this cohort by adding patients from diverse ancestry…and conducting methylation analysis with the mentorship of Drs. Bosenberg and Halaban to elucidate the epigenetic landscape of this aggressive yet rare melanoma subtype and how it correlates with prognosis,” said Dr. Roy.
The MRA grant lays the foundation for more correlative epigenetics work and will boost efforts to expand and diversify the melanoma cohort to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of acral melanoma in diverse patient populations.