SkIN Canada Skin Investigation Network of Canada


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Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis


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Directory of Canadian skin researchers

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Summer 2023

SkIN Canada News


Funding Success and Awards

SkIN Canada was awarded $2 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research over the next five years. With a score of 4.8 out of 4.9, SkIN Canada’s Network Grant application ranked 1st in the competition.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in the year-long consultation process and the multi-faceted funding application. We are looking forward to working with each of you to build on our progress and implement our five-year plan to advance skin research in Canada

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CIHR-IMHA Research Excellence Prize

SkIN Canada SkIN Canada was awarded a 2023 CIHR-IMHA (Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis) Research Excellence Prize for patient engagement, in recognition of the Network’s inaugural Priority Setting Initiative (see paper and infographics).

A special thank you to Rachael Manion and the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA) for co-leading this important work to promote patient involvement in the co-design, conduct and reporting of research. We are also grateful to the 333 patients and 9 patient organizations who collaborated in the Priority Setting Initiative.

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Hakim Family Innovation Prize (McGill)

Congratulations to Dr. Anie Philip and her team (PL Signals) for finishing in first place in the McGill Clinical Innovation Competition (CLIC) and receiving the Hakim Family Innovation Prize.

Skin and lung fibrosis are serious medical problems with limited treatment options. TGF-beta is a potent pro-fibrotic factor, and its excessive action plays a central role in both skin and lung fibrosis. PL Signals has developed a novel anti-fibrotic biologic that traps TGF-beta with high specificity and efficiently reduces skin and lung fibrosis in preclinical models and in vitro in patients’ fibrotic cells.

PL Signals Team
Anie Philip, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University
Shikha Chawla, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University
Kenneth Finnson, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University
Jini John, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University
Tenzin Kungyal, Dept. of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University

2023 Team Development Award Recipients

Dr. Raed Alhusayen Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Project Title: Hidradenitis Suppurativa in Diverse Patient Populations: Multicenter Pilot Project to Assess Disease Characteristics and Access to Biologic Therapy
Dr. Elena Pope Sick Kids Hospital. Project Title: Genodermatoses Network: A Canadian multidisciplinary collaboration for patients with genetic skin disorders

Congratulations Dr. Raed Alhusayen and Dr. Elena Pope, the recipients of the 2023 Team Development Award!

See Past Recipients

2022 Dermatologist of the Year

Dr. An-Wen Chan received the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance’s Dermatologist of the Year 2022 Award! Photo above: CSPA Board Member Mimma Spagnolo presents Dr. Chan with award at the CDA meeting. This prestigious annual award is the CSPA’s way to recognize many contributions to supporting skin patients in Canada – specifically:

  • Compassionate concern for patients’ welfare and happiness
  • Commitment to community service and quality patient care
  • Positive effect on others, and
  • Outstanding patient care

Recap of SkIN Canada at the CDA

SkIN Canada launched its first exhibit booth and formal events at the CDA Annual Meeting in Toronto, with great success:

  • A plenary presentation highlighting SkIN Canada’s achievements and plans to over 500 conference attendees
  • 89 new member sign-ups
  • 29 entries to the Name-a-Trial competition
  • 30 attendees at our Annual General Meeting
  • 17 attendees at our Networking Dinner

Congratulations Lorena Mija, a medical student at Université de Montreal, who won our email raffle.

The winner of the Name-a-Trial competition is Jeffery Wong. The top-ranked idea was to evaluate semaglutide for hidradenitis suppurativa. Congratulations Dr. Wang!

Can SkIN Canada help?

Request support for your study

SkIN Canada has launched a formal study intake process for investigators requesting support from the Network. Please visit our RESOURCES page for more information on how we can help with funding, patient engagement, database creation, project administration, ethics application, or statistical support. 

Featured profiles

Early-Career Investigator



Dr. David Croitoru is a clinical associate at Women’s College Hospital (Toronto) specializing in complex medical dermatology and wound care. He completed his residency training at the University of Toronto Division of Dermatology as co-chief resident with a concomitant master’s in the Graduate Department of Immunology. He is the clinical lead of the only specialized clinic for patients with Pyoderma Gangrenosum in Canada and conducts translational research in prospective cohorts of neutrophilic inflammatory and connective tissue disease. 


Patient Research Partner

Jo-Ann Lapointe-Mackenzie is a retired nurse who lives with the daily challenges of scleroderma.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Alberta and a Master’s of Nursing from the University of Manitoba.  She has worked in many settings in the healthcare system with the majority of her career spent in leadership and administration roles.  She taught nursing courses in a university setting focused on research methods, leadership and chronic illness. She has participated as a thesis committee member for a number of graduate students. She has also participated in a number of research projects and published articles in peer reviewed journals.  She is currently reviewing articles for the Canadian Gerontological Nursing publication, Perspectives.  She has served on the board of Scleroderma Manitoba since 2018 and as the President since 2020. She is a member (Patient Partner) of the C-NeST (Canadian Network for Skin Disease Trials) Management Committee.


From the Training Committee Hub


SkIN Canada Quarterly Webinar


The SkIN Canada Quarterly Webinar was successfully held on Wednesday June 7th.  The webinar focused on “Novel Technologies to Study Skin Biology and Skin Diseases”. The speakers and titles of the webinar presentations are shown below:

  • Dr. Philippe Lefrancois, Assistant Professor, Division of Experimental Medicine, McGill University. Webinar Title: Tips & considerations to incorporate genomics into your skin research projects
  • Dr. David Croitoru, Clinical Associate, Division of Dermatology, University of Toronto. Webinar Title: Translational Research in Rare Disease.
  • Dr. Amani Hassan, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Surgery, McGill University. Webinar Title: Establishment of tumor organoids from head and neck squamous cell carcinoma to study dysregulation of signaling pathways and response to therapy.

Travel and Mobility Awardees from May 15th Competion


Congratulatons to the following trainees on receiving a SkIN Canada Travel or Mobilty Award

Travel Award

  • Alexandre Aubert. Postdoctoral Fellow. International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD). Title of Abstract: TENASCINs and latent TGF-β: more than a sticky story. Conference: 4th Growth Factors in Regeneration and Regenerative Medicine Conference (
  • Charles Arcand. MSc. Université Laval. Title of Abstract: Non-invasive Measurements of a Novel Skin Graft Substitute Using the Mexameter and the Dermascan. Conference: Wound healing society annual meeting/symposium advance wound care.
  • Maxine Joly-Chevrier. MD. University of Montreal. Title of Abstract: Atopic Dermatitis Patient Needs Assessed through the Largest Online Patient Community: A Cross-Sectional Reddit Analysis and Quality Assessment of Skin Cancer Videos Calls for Improved Patient Content: A YouTube Cross-Sectional Study). Conference: Canadian Dermatology Association Annual Conference.
  • Richard Jeremian. MD. Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). Title of Abstract: Sun exposure is associated with sex-specific patterns of epigenetic aging in dermal and epidermal skin. Conference: 25th World Congress of Dermatology 2023.
  • Sarah Ghezelbash. PhD. Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. Title of Abstract: Understanding the Translational Landscape of High-Risk Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC). Conference: The Canadian Cancer Research Conference (CCRC).
The deadline for the next SkIN Canada Trainee Travel Award is Sunday October 15th before 11:59 PM ETSkIN Canada provides partial funding for trainees to attend conferences as part of their training experience. A limited number of awards are available each year on a competitive basis. Applicants who have previously received funding through this program in the fiscal year are not eligible to receive funding until the following fiscal year. The value of the SkIN Canada Travel Award is a maximum of $1,000 CAD. 

Mobility Award

  •  Whitney Quong. PhD. The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), University of Toronto. Proposed Host Institution: Nippon Medical School Hospital. Proposed Host Supervisor: Rei Ogawa.  Research Title: The Japanese Scar Experience – Evaluating What it Means to Have a Scar in Japan.
  • Sarah Ghezelbash. PhD. Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. Proposed Host Institution: CHU de Québec – Université Laval Research Center. Proposed Host Supervisor: Dr. Mélanie Laurin. Research Title: Establishing in Vitro Cell Culture of BCC Keratinocytes from Patient Derived Tumours.


The deadline for the next SkIN Canada Trainee Mobility Award is Sunday October 15th before 11:59 PM ETThe SkIN Canada Trainee Mobility Award provides funding for trainees in the field of skin research to study and conduct research for a brief period in a laboratory other than their own within Canada or abroad as part of their training experience. A limited number of awards are available each year on a competitive basis.  There will be two competition periods per year, one in May and one in October. Applicants are eligible for the award only once during a particular training period or level of study (e.g. MSc, Ph.D., Clinical residency, or Postdoctoral training).
        The value of the Skin Canada Trainee Mobility Award is up to $4,000 which can be used for the trainee’s research in a host laboratory within Canada or abroad for a period ranging from 2 weeks to 6 months. 


From the Patient Engagement Hub

GRIPP (Guidance for Reporting Involvement of Patients and the Public)

Although there has been more research on how to involve patients and the public in research, how patients and the public are involved and how that’s measured and evaluated is still inconsistent. This prompted a study to develop an international consensus on the key items to report to enhance the quality, transparency, and consistency of the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) evidence base and to collaboratively involve patients as research partners at all stages in the development of GRIPP (Guidance for Reporting Involvement of Patients and the Public).

This guideline was published simultaneously in 2 journals. You can read the guideline in either of these journals using the links below.

BMJ. 2017;358:j3453. PMID: 28768629

Res Involv Engagem. 2017;3:13. PMID: 29062538

News from other organizations

Canadian Skin Patient Alliance Survey

There is a new drug called Cosentyx (secukinumab) that is being considered by Health Canada for its safety and potential efficacy for individuals with Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in Canada. This survey is intended for individuals living with HS and caregivers to share their experiences with Cosentyx and how use of the drug has impacted their disease and overall quality of life.
      The Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA) is collaborating with the Hidradenitis and Me Support Group and HS Heroes on this survey, and your responses will advise advocacy efforts for the drug. The responses to this survey will remain anonymous. It is available in both English and French. Take the short survey here

Santé Canada examine présentement un nouveau médicament appelé Cosentyx (sécukinumab) pour en évaluer l’innocuité et l’efficacité potentielle pour les personnes atteintes d’HS au Canada. Cette enquête est destiné aux personnes atteintes d’HS et à leurs soignants afin qu’ils puissent partager leurs expériences avec Cosentyx et la façon dont l’utilisation du médicament a eu un impact sur leur maladie et leur qualité de vie en général.
      L’Alliance canadienne des patients en dermatologie (ACPD) collabore avec le Hidradenitis and Me Support Group et HS Heroes dans le cadre de cette enquête et vos réponses permettront d’orienter les efforts de promotion du médicament. Les réponses à cette enquête resteront anonymes.
Elle est disponible en anglais et en français. Répondez à cette court enquête ici

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (SJS/TEN) 

Virtual Meeting August 26-27, 2023


 Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) is a life-threatening condition that is typically drug-induced and has a mortality rate of on average 20% but up to 50% or more in high-risk populations. The concept of our meetings is a cross-disciplinary exchange that brings together the community of SJS/TEN Survivors, their families, Scientists and Clinicians to truly understand the impact of this disease and to continue to foster growth of a collaborative and interactive community and research network. The SJS/TEN August 26-27, 2023 meeting will aim to highlight cutting edge research that is relevant to core translational objectives of the prediction, prevention, earlier diagnosis and optimized treatment of SJS/TEN. A key aim integral to the SJSTEN meetings is to provide an integrative and multidisciplinary mentorship model and provide support and foster the careers of early investigators.

For Patients, By Patients (PxP)

Join PxP for a patient-led and designed conference on patient engagement.

Save the dates! The very first PxP (For Patients, By Patients) conference will be September 12-14 (for those in Europe, Africa or North and South America), or 13-15 (Asia and Oceana). This free, virtual event aims to bring you a wealth of knowledge, skills and resources on Patient Engagement.
News of PxP is already spreading quickly by word-of-mouth. It has become a must-attend event for these two reasons:

1. PxP is specifically For Patients. While there has been excellent progress in the available patient engagement resources, many of these are designed for researchers. Although we welcome health researchers to join us at the event in September, our key priority will be patient partners and other individuals with lived experience.
2. We are led entirely By Patients. Every topic and speaker on the PxP conference program has been chosen by our experienced international committee of patient partners.

Take a sneak peak at the program outline below.
Day 1: Boost your skills: the what, why and how of patient engagement in health research.
Day 2: Trailblaze new approaches: advancing health research innovation with patient partners or as a
patient partner.
Day 3: Strengthen patient partnerships: raising the benchmarks for best practice.
Sign up here to receive news and updates about PxP.
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Recent Publications by SkIN Canada Members
Inflammatory Skin Conditions
  1. Almuhanna N, Tobe SW, Alhusayen R. Risk of chronic kidney disease in hospitalized patients with hidradenitis suppurativa. Dermatology. Jul 24 2023.
  2. Stein Gold LF, Bagel J, Tyring SK, et al. Comparison of risankizumab and apremilast for the treatment of adult patients with moderate plaque psoriasis eligible for systemic therapy: results from a randomised, open-label, assessor-blinded phase IV (IMMpulse) study. The British journal of dermatology. Jul 25 2023.
  3. Gooderham MJ, Pink AE, Simpson EL, Silverberg JI, Guler E, Watkins M. Abrocitinib 100 mg Once Daily for Moderate-to-Severe Atopic Dermatitis: A Review of Efficacy and Safety, and Expert Opinion on Use in Clinical Practice. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). Jul 23 2023.
  4. Hordinsky M, Hebert AA, Gooderham M, et al. Efficacy and safety of ritlecitinib in adolescents with alopecia areata: Results from the ALLEGRO phase 2b/3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Pediatr Dermatol. Jul 17 2023.
  5. Lam M, Spuls PI, Leshem YA, et al. Reporting of Harmonising Outcome Measures for Eczema (HOME) Core Outcome Set Instruments in randomized clinical trials for systemic treatments in Atopic Dermatitis. The British journal of dermatology. Jul 12 2023.



Read more


Wound Healing, Fibrosis and Regeneration

  1. Yang Y, Gomez N, Infarinato N, et al. The pioneer factor SOX9 competes for epigenetic factors to switch stem cell fates. Nature cell biology. Jul 24 2023.
  2. Ma Z, Mulder DJ, Gniadecki R, Cohen Tervaert JW, Osman M. Methods of Assessing Nailfold Capillaroscopy Compared to Video Capillaroscopy in Patients with Systemic Sclerosis-A Critical Review of the Literature. Diagnostics (Basel). Jun 28 2023;13(13).
  3. Barayan D, Abdullahi A, Knuth CM, et al. Lactate Shuttling Drives the Browning of White Adipose Tissue after Burn Trauma. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. Jul 5 2023.
  4. Wibbenmeyer L, Lacey AM, Endorf FW, et al. American Burn Association Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Treatment of Severe Frostbite. J Burn Care Res. Apr 13 2023.
  5. Barolet AC, Villarreal AM, Jfri A, Litvinov IV, Barolet D. Low-Intensity Visible and Near-Infrared Light-Induced Cell Signaling Pathways in the Skin: A Comprehensive Review. Photobiomodul Photomed Laser Surg. Apr 2023;41(4):147-166.

Read more

Skin and Other Cancers
  1. Almuhanna N, Tobe SW, Alhusayen R. Risk of chronic kidney disease in hospitalized patients with hidradenitis suppurativa. Dermatology. Jul 24 2023.
  2. Conte S, Aldien AS, Jette S, et al. Skin Cancer Prevention across the G7, Australia and New Zealand: A Review of Legislation and Guidelines. Curr Oncol. Jun 23 2023;30(7):6019-6040.
  3. Gniadecki R, O’Keefe S, Hennessey D, Iyer A. Is Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma Caused by Ultraviolet Radiation? A Comparison of UV Mutational Signatures in Malignant Melanoma and Mycosis Fungoides. Cells. Jun 13 2023;12(12).
  4. Alkazemi B, Ghazawi FM, Lagace F, Nechaev V, Zubarev A, Litvinov IV. Investigation of the Incidence and Geographic Distribution of Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcomas in Canada: A National Population-Based Study. Curr Oncol. Jun 9 2023;30(6):5631-5651.
  5. Gantchev J, Messina-Pacheco J, Martinez Villarreal A, et al. Ectopically Expressed Meiosis-Specific Cancer Testis Antigen HORMAD1 Promotes Genomic Instability in Squamous Cell Carcinomas. Cells. Jun 14 2023;12(12).

  1. Akuffo-Addo E, George A, Ogunyemi B. Skin of Color Representation at the Canadian Dermatology Association’s Annual Conferences. J Cutan Med Surg. Jul 26 2023:12034754231188441.
  2. Joly-Chevrier M, Nguyen AX, Lesko-Krleza M, Lefrancois P. Performance of ChatGPT on a Practice Dermatology Board Certification Examination. J Cutan Med Surg. Jul 25 2023:12034754231188437.
  3. Hama N, Sunaga Y, Ochiai H, et al. Development and validation of a novel score to predict mortality in Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis: CRISTEN. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. Jul 8 2023.
  4. Akuffo-Addo E, Joseph M. Racial Representation in Dermatology Clinical Trials, a Canadian Perspective. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. Jul 9 2023.
  5. Adly M, Ladha MA, Mydlarski R, Petrasek P, Parsons L. Painless ulceration due to digital hypoperfusion ischaemic syndrome: case report and literature review. J Wound Care. Jul 1 2023;32(Sup7):S26-S30.

SkIN Canada Executive Committee