Dermatology Basic Science Research

Basic and translational science research at Penn State Dermatology is focused on understanding both normal skin biology and a variety of skin disease pathologies. Within our laboratories, we are discovering the mechanisms that lead to skin disease development and progression as well as identifying novel biological targets for new therapies.

Meet the Team

Nelson/Thiboutot Lab

  • Amanda M. Nelson, PhD – Assistant Professor, Primary Investigator
  • Diane M. Thiboutot, MD- Professor of Dermatology, Primary Investigator, Vice-Chair for Research for Dermatology, Director of Clinical and Translational Science Research Education
  • Zhaoyuan Cong – Technician
  • Kathy Gilliland – Technician
  • Andrea Schneider – MD/PhD Student

Current Studies

  • Acne: Understanding the mechanisms of a variety of agents on sebocyte biology and sebum production.
  • Skin microbiome: Working to identify the skin microbiome in both normal skin and skin disease.
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS): Projects focused on elucidating the etiology of HS.
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer: Projects are focused on understanding the role of the innate immune system in squamous and basal cell carcinoma initiation and progression.
  • Industry partnerships: Drug screening in skin cell lines.

Contact Us

To speak to someone about our current studies, please call 717-531-5136 or email Amy Longenecker at