Faculty Research Interests
Dr. Berg’s interests include collaborative work looking at skin cancer in organ transplant patients and educational research including developing and assessing teaching tools for dermatologic surgery.
Dr. Chien's research is centered on the role of Wnt signaling in melanoma and other cancer models. His work has focused on the role of both canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in melanoma as well as the role of beta-catenin-independent Wnt signaling. His main interests center around regulation of the pathway in cancerous versus non-cancerous conditions, as well as the role of these pathways in regulating tumor initiating capacity in cancer cells. The goal of these studies is to develop strategies for pathway-based targeting of melanoma and other cancers where conventional chemotherapeutic approaches have been ineffective.
Dr. Colven’s investigative interests include validation of store and forward telemedicine for dermatologic consultation and the impact of case-based learning on practice behavior.
Dr. Fleckman’s research focuses on the following: healing skin into percutaneous devices, the pathophysiology of the ichthyoses, clinical aspects of nail disease. He created and maintains the National Registry for Ichthyosis and Related Disorders, a large reference database of individuals affected by ichthyosis which serves as a valuable resource for investigators of this disorder around the world.
Dr. Nghiem’s research focuses on the biology, treatment and prevention of skin cancers. A major interest is the role of the protein kinases ATR and Chk1 in the ‘replication checkpoint’--a key aspect of the response of cells to ultraviolet DNA damage. Caffeine intake is associated with decreased skin cancer rates and this appears to be via inhibiting the function of ATR (promoting death of pre-malignant/UV-damaged cells). A second major interest is in the biology and optimal therapy of Merkel cell carcinoma—a relatively rare, but often lethal form of skin cancer that is typically caused in part by a virus that is commonly on our normal skin, the Merkel cell polyomavirus. Dr. Nghiem's team has created a large data and specimen Repository for Merkel cell carcinoma to learn more about this challenging disease. The T lymphocyte immune response appears to play a central role in fighting this cancer and a key goal is to find effective means of stimulating relevant immune function in MCC patients.
Dr. Olerud's research focuses on: 1) characterizing both normal cutaneous wound healing and delayed wound healing in the context of diabetes mellitus, peripheral vascular disease and spinal cord injuries, 2) investigating the role of bacterial biofilm in chronic wounds, and 3) promoting cutaneous biointegration of the skin with biomaterials in order to create a stable skin/biomaterial interface for percutaneous medical devices while reducing infection rate.
Dr. Raugi, following a three-year project funded by the Office of Rural Health to implement and evaluate a regional teledermatology program in VISN 20 (Northwest Network) of the VA, has received strong administrative and financial support to continue and expand teledermatology to include the regional urban centers. The pilot and feasibility project has become an independent Section in the Hospital and Specialty Service Line. While continuing to provide essential clinical services to Veterans in the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Raugi is continuing to develop and implement new evaluative methods for teledermatology services with the intent of improving the quality, timeliness, and effectiveness of Teledermatology care and improving the access to traditional dermatology services.