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Jouni Uitto

Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology
Jefferson Medical College
Philadelphia, USA

Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies
School of Life Sciences - LifeNet
Albertstr. 19
79104 Freiburg im Breisgau

Tel. +1 215-503-5785
Fax +1 215-503-5788


Jouni Uitto, MD, PhD, has been Professor of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Chair of the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology at Jefferson Medical College, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since 1986. He is also Director of the Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. He received his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Helsinki, Finland, and completed his residency training in dermatology at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

Dr Uitto is internationally recognized for his research on connective tissue biochemistry and molecular biology in relation to cutaneous diseases and skin aging. Dr Uitto's publications include 586 original articles in peer-reviewed journals, 269 textbook chapters and review articles, and 880 abstracts on presentations at national and international meetings.

Dr Uitto has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health, the Distinguished Service Award from the Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America, the William Montagna Lectureship Award from the Society for Investigative Dermatology, the Hermann Pinkus as well as Elson B. Helwig Memorial Lectureship Awards from the American Society of Dermatopathology, the Earl of Litchfield Lectureship Award of Oxford University, The Dohi Memorial Lectureship Award from the Japanese Dermatological Society, and the Kung-Sun Oh Memorial Lectureship from Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. In 1993, he was selected as the recipient of the Marion B. Sulzberger Memorial Award and Lectureship and was designated as the "Professor of the Year" by the American Academy of Dermatology. Dr Uitto has been awarded the prestigious Matti Äyräpää Lectureship, the highest physician-scientist award in his native country, Finland. In 1996, Dr Uitto was appointed as Anglo-American Visiting Professor of the Royal Society of Medicine, London, United Kingdom. He has received an Honorary Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Kuopio and the University of Oulu, Finland, as well as the Honorary Professor title from China Medical University, and Honorary Visiting Professor from the University of Helsinki. Most recently, he was the recipient of the first SID Kligman/Frost Leadership Award presented at IID 2008, Kyoto, Japan, and he was the recipient of the Honorary Doctorate Degree in Medicine from the University of Turku in 2009.

Dr. Uitto has held office in several scientific and professional societies, including President of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dermatology Foundation, Member and Chair of the General Medicine A Study Section, Board of Scientific Counselors, National Cancer Institute, and National Advisory Council, National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, all at National Institutes of Health. Dr Uitto is also Section Editor of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Associate Editor of the American Journal of Pathology, and he is on the editorial boards of numerous peer-reviewed journals.


FRIAS Project

Molecular Genetics of Heritable Skin Diseases

Dr. Uitto's research interests revolve around biochemistry and molecular biology of connective tissue, in relation to cutaneous diseases. The overall goal of his research is to elucidate the underlying molecular defects in collagen, elastin, and the basement membrane zone macromolecules that explain the clinical phenotypes in acquired and heritable connective tissue disorders. In particular, Dr. Uitto's group is interested in structural and regulatory mutations that lead to altered synthesis of the extracellular matrix components in heritable connective tissue diseases primarily affecting the skin. Examples of such conditions are (a) epidermolysis bullosa, a group of heritable connective tissue diseases characterized by the fragility of skin, and involving abnormalities in the structure, synthesis and/or assembly of the basement membrane zone components; and (b) Pseudoxanthoma elasticum, a systemic heritable disorder affecting the elastic fiber system in the skin, eyes and the arterial blood vessels by ectopic mineralization processes. Dr. Uitto's most recent interests extend to the translational applications of the molecular genetics of these disorders, including development of advanced procedures for non-invasive prenatal testing and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, as well as generation of transgenic animal models for development of molecular therapy strategies for the treatment of these disorders. Dr. Uitto will pursue these projects in collaboration with investigators at Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.


Selected Publications

  1. J. Uitto: Rare heritable skin diseases: targets for regenerative medicine. J Invest Dermatol, 2012; 132 (11): 2485-2488.
  2. J. Uitto, A.M. Christiano, W.H. McLean, J.A. McGrath: Novel Molecular Therapies for Heritable Skin Disorders. J Invest Dermatol, 2012; 132 (3 Pt 2): 820-828.
  3. J. Uitto, U. Rodeck: Integration of investigative dermatology into the global biomedical research enterprise: past, present, and future. J Invest Dermatol, 2012; 132 (3 Pt 2): 1029-1032.
  4. J. Uitto, Q. Li, Z. Urban: The complexity of elastic fibre biogenesis in the skin - a perspective to the clinical heterogeneity of cutis laxa. Exp Dermatol, 2012.