Research in the Division of Dermatology

Research in Ohio State’s Division of Dermatology has grown substantially over the past few years, including translational studies and clinical trials. Our scope has expanded to include numerous dermatologic conditions in an effort to offer cutting edge care to patients with the most severe forms of disease. Our research is led by our Principal Investigators: Dr. Jessica Kaffenberger, Dr. Benjamin Kaffenberger, Dr. Kelly Tyler, Dr. John Trinidad, and Dr. Catherine Chung.  

Dr. Jessica Kaffenberger’s interests include psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, alopecia areata, and other complex conditions in need of alternative treatment options for refractory disease. She is actively participating in numerous clinical trials as well as registries to observe the long-term safety and efficacy of currently approved medications.

Dr. Ben Kaffenberger focuses on translational and clinical research for drug and cancer therapeutic adverse events, pyoderma gangrenosum, hidradenitis suppurativa, and complex ulcerations, and other immunologic skin disease. His research is focused on several specific outcomes: diagnosing and differentiating drug eruptions (funded by the Dermatology Foundation), Developing artificial intelligence biomarkers using digital and thermal imaging (funded by American Acne and Rosacea Society, National Rosacea Society), hospital outcomes for patients with skin diseases, changing care delivery and the development and integration of teledermatology system (funded internally through the Medicaid Upper Payment Limit Awards), and differentiating cellulitis from non-infectious causes of skin redness (funded internally through the Patient Safety Advancement Grants).

Dr. Tyler is also board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and has a special interest in vulvovaginal disease. She is actively participating in clinical trials for genital psoriasis, hidradenitis suppuritiva, and chronic spontaneous urticaria.

Dr. Trinidad has an interest in AIDS related dermatoses. He is participating in observational studies in patients with inflammatory skin conditions and survivors of Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Dr. Chung is also a dermatopathologist and a member of the multidisciplinary cutaneous lymphoma clinic. She is participating in a multi-center study investigating the genomics of high risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

Basic Science Research

Dr. Anjali Mishra's research focuses on identifying the cellular reprogramming steps interleukin-15 (IL-15) induces to initiate a malignant change in T lymphocytes. Dr. Mishra's laboratory has shown stage-related IL-15 mRNA and protein over-expression in lesional skin and circulating tumor cells of CTCL patients. Using IL-15 transgenic mice, Dr. Mishra's lab has characterized an animal model of spontaneous epidermotropic T-cell lymphoma that clinically and pathologically mimics human CTCL. The research efforts of her laboratory are focused on understanding the mechanisms of lymphomagenesis and designing therapeutic strategies for CTCL by characterizing and targeting deregulated oncogenic pathways in IL-15 transgenic mice and in CTCL patients.

Clinical Trials

Dr. Jessica Kaffenberger and Dr. Benjamin Kaffenberger oversee a clinical trials unit that is involved in translational research to advance the understanding and treatment of skin diseases. There is an ongoing protocol to obtain specimens to create a biospecimen bank to store samples from patients with a variety of skin diseases to further research and better understand the pathogenesis of skin disease.

We are also participating in epidemiologic studies to monitor patients on systemic therapies to follow long term safety and efficacy of traditional and new treatments. At different times, there may be therapeutic trials for novel investigational drugs for patients with psoriasis and other skin diseases.