2024 Organizing Committee:

Symposium Chair:

Tamia A. Harris-Tryon MD, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Department of Dermatology



Tamia Harris-Tryon, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dermatology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Dr. Harris-Tryon earned her combined medical and doctoral degree in cellular and molecular medicine at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and completed a residency in dermatology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Certified by the American Board of Dermatology, she joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2014.

Dr. Harris-Tryon is a member of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, the American Academy of Dermatology, the National Medical Association, and the Women’s Dermatologic Society.

She completed her postdoctoral training at UT Southwestern in the lab of Lora Hooper, PhD Dr. Harris-Tryon’s research focuses on the organisms that reside on the surface of the skin – collectively termed the “microbiota” – and how they impact the skin’s immune system. Her work is supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, UT Southwestern, and the Dermatology Foundation. In 2019, she earned the American Academy of Dermatology’s Young Investigator Award.



Symposium Co-organizer:

Angel S. Byrd, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Howard University College of Medicine Department of Dermatology

Dr. Byrd was born and raised in Edwards and Jackson, Mississippi.  She obtained her BS (’04) from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi and MD, PhD (’16) from Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

She completed an Ethnic Skin Postdoctoral Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHUSOM) under the direction of Dr. Ginette Okoye. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at Howard University College of Medicine and Adjunct Assistant Professor at JHUSOM (Departments of Dermatology) where her work centers on the establishment of tissue biorepositories to understand the immunopathological mechanisms contributing to skin of color diseases, particularly among African American patients with Hidradenitis suppurativa.  Her main research focus is elucidating the unreported roles of neutrophils and the innate immunity in the induction of local and systemic immune dysregulation. Dr. Byrd leads multidisciplinary collaborative projects with the overarching goal of establishing a scientifically-driven approach to treatment options for patients suffering from these debilitating diseases. Of much importance, she continues to pay-it-forward along her journey devoting time to training and investing in the next generations of scientists and physician scientists as well as engaging in community outreach.

She is the inaugural recipient of the Skin of Color Society Career Development Award and the Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID) Freinkel Diversity Fellowship Award.  She has also received the American Skin Association Milstein Research Scholar Award for Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer, Mary Kay-SID Skin Health/Skin Disease Research Grant, as well as the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Award (funded by Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation), has contributed to the scientific literature, given numerous lectures, national/international talks, and has been featured on the BET 33rd Annual UNCF An Evening of Stars® international program, recognizing her as one who is “changing the face of science, one mind at a time.”

Symposium Co-organizer:

Donald Glass, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Department of Dermatology


Donald Glass, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dermatology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Dr. Glass earned his combined medical and doctoral degree in molecular and human genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine. He completed his residency in dermatology at UT Southwestern. Board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, he joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2011.

Dr. Glass is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Academy of Dermatology, the Society of Investigative Dermatology, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, the Dallas County Medical Society, and the National Medical Association. He serves as Secretary/Treasurer for the Skin of Color Society and chairs its bylaws committee.

His clinical and research expertise centers on keloids (exuberant scarring of the skin). He has delivered a number of presentations, contributed to the book Moschella and Hurley’s Dermatology, and published numerous academic articles. In 2019, Dr. Glass was named a Texas Monthly Super Doctor Rising Star, he was included in D Magazine’s Best Doctors list for 2021 and 2022.

Symposium Co-organizer:

Shawn Kwatra, MD
Associate Professor of Dermatology
Director, Johns Hopkins Itch Center

Dr. Shawn Kwatra is an Associate Professor of Dermatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also serves as the Director for the Johns Hopkins Itch Center. He specializes in medical dermatology. His areas of clinical expertise include general dermatology, chronic pruritus, prurigo nodularis, atopic dermatitis, and dermatology for ethnic skin.

Dr. Kwatra obtained his undergraduate degree from Duke University, medical training at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and his dermatology residency training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Kwatra’s primary clinical and translational research interest is in the pathogenesis and treatment of chronic pruritus. He is a member of several professional organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology, the Society for Investigative Dermatology, the International Forum for the Study of Itch, and the Skin of Color Society.

Symposium Co-organizer:

Ginette A. Okoye, MD
Professor and Chair
Howard University Department of Dermatology

Dr. Ginette Okoye (née Hinds) is Professor and Chair of Dermatology at Howard University College of Medicine. Her areas of clinical and research expertise are in cutaneous disorders that disproportionately affect people with pigmented skin, including hidradenitis suppurativa, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, and alopecia. Dr. Okoye left her native Trinidad & Tobago to attend Barry University, where she earned her BS degree. She then earned her Medical Degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians & Surgeons and completed her dermatology residency training at Yale University, where she also served as Chief Resident.

Dr. Okoye has published many scientific papers as well as a textbook on the science of textured hair (“The Fundamentals of Ethnic Hair”). She has been recognized by the American Academy of Dermatology with the 2023 Mentor of the Year Award, the 2021 Patient Care Hero Award, a Presidential Citation, and a Volunteerism Award. In 2014, the Mayor of Point Fortin, Trinidad (her hometown) recognized her with an award for academic achievement and contributions to medicine.

Dr. Okoye serves on the Board of the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation and is the Co-Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Skin of Color Society. She serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of the National Medical Association and the British Journal of Dermatology. During the COVID19 pandemic, Dr. Okoye served as the Medical Lead for Howard University’s COVID19 Community Testing Initiative and the Medical Director of Howard University’s Employee COVID19 testing clinic.


Symposium Co-Director:

Sancy Leachman, MD, PhD
Professor & Chair, OHSU Dermatology
John D. Gray Endowed Chair in Melanoma Research, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute


Sancy Leachman, MD, PhD, is a physician-scientist who chairs the Department of Dermatology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and is the director of the Melanoma Research Program at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The inaugural recipient of the John D. Gray Endowed Chair in Melanoma Research and Chair of the Southwest Oncology Group Melanoma Prevention Working Group, she is a dermatologist using basic science research and state-of-the-art technology to combat skin cancer.

Leachman’s research examines the role of genetic predisposition and differential gene expression in the development of melanoma, with an emphasis on the familial melanoma syndrome. She is interested in prevention, early detection, and chemoprevention of melanoma, particularly in genetically predisposed melanoma families.

Leachman is passionate about fighting the “War on Melanoma” and has led the effort in building one of the largest national melanoma patient registries and launching a skin cancer public health campaign.


Symposium Co-director:

Dennis Roop, PhD

Professor of Dermatology
Director, Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Dennis Roop, PhD is a professor of dermatology and the director of the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus.

Roop is one of the first investigators to begin using molecular techniques to study how the skin forms during normal embryonic development.  He has identified many of the genes required for normal skin development and discovered that defects in some of these genes cause inherited skin diseases characterized by a very fragile skin, which blisters easily and may result in neonatal death.

His current, primary research focuses on generating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from patients with inherited skin diseases, genetically correcting these cells and differentiating them into a skin stem cell lineage, which can be returned to the same patient.  This seminal research led to the 2016 formation of the EB iPS Cell Consortium with research teams from Colorado, Stanford and Columbia Universities uniting to fight the rare and debilitating genetic skin blistering disease Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).



Symposium Director Emerita

Molly Kulesz-Martin, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Dermatology
OHSU Dermatology

Molly Kulesz-Martin, PhD, has directed the Montagna Symposium on the Biology of Skin since 2004. During her 16-year directorship, over 1,700 scientists and clinicians have gathered at this historic meeting for presentation and discussion of the latest findings in skin and skin-related research, and over 150 young investigators have received travel awards to attend and present at the meeting. Dr. Kulesz-Martin, an expert in squamous cell carcinogenesis, trained at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and NCI. In her early career, Dr. Kulesz-Martin established the first colony-based cell transformation assay of primary cultured murine epithelial cells and developed one of the few clonal lineage models of initiated, benign, and malignant and metastatic keratinocytes/squamous cell carcinoma. Recruited to OHSU in 1999, Dr. Kulesz-Martin led the Dermatology Research Division expansion from 1 to 7 primary and joint basic/translational science faculty. The Kulesz-Martin laboratory currently examines the roles of innate immunity protein Trim32 in inflammatory skin disease and squamous cell carcinoma and develops assays for functional assessment of individual HNSCC and skin SCC patient tumors in primary/early passage cultures. As founding director of an IRB-approved tissue and clinical data repository founded in 2001 (Molecular Profiling Tissue Resource), Dr. Kulesz-Martin fosters collaborations at OHSU and beyond by providing primary epidermal and mucosal cell cultures, fresh frozen tissues of inflammatory lesions and cancers, and an outcomes database for research.