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Dr. Naik's Research Abstract

Haley B. Naik, M.D., M.H.Sc.
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, California
2016 Research Grant Recipient

Investigating the role of the Skin Microbiome in Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a prevalent, debilitating and poorly-understood inflammatory skin disease characterized by recurrent abscesses, sinus tract formation and fibrosis involving apocrine gland-bearing body sites. Knowledge gaps in our understanding of biological factors that contribute to disease pathogenesis hinder efforts to develop and compare effective therapies for management of this devastating disease.

While HS is not considered an infectious disease, a variety of microorganisms have been cultured from HS lesions. Combined with disease improvement on antimicrobial therapy in subsets of HS patients, these data suggest a role for microbiota-induced immune responses in HS pathogenesis. Although microbiological studies have examined cultured organisms in HS, the skin microbiome in HS has not been systematically studied.

In order elucidate the role of the skin microbiome in HS pathogenesis, Dr. Naik proposes to use a systematic genomic approach to comprehensively survey diverse microorganisms on the skin of HS patients and characterize skin microbiome shifts during disease flares. In exploratory analyses, she will take a comprehensive approach to examining the HS immune signature using whole transcriptome profiling to assess for differential gene expression in affected versus unaffected skin. The results of this research program will provide insights into the associations between alterations in skin microbiome and subsequent immune response on HS disease, and may ultimately guide directed therapies aimed at modifying the skin microbiome and regulating immune response.