2023 Organizing Committee:

Symposium Chair and Co-director:

Dennis Roop, Ph.D.
Professor of Dermatology
Director, Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Dennis Roop, Ph.D. 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 Co-organizer:

Stuart H. Yuspa, M.D.

NIH Scientist Emeritus

Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute

Dr. Yuspa focused his research on understanding mechanisms of the pre-metastatic stages of cancer pathogenesis. Using the model of skin carcinogenesis, his work  delineated the biochemistry associated with oncogenic RAS-induced benign squamous neoplasia and the multistep progression to squamous cell carcinoma. The findings reflect squamous cell cancer development in multiple internal lining epithelia and the interaction of cancer cells with the microenvironment.


As an NIH Scientist Emeritus, Dr. Yuspa participates in a large, interactive basic cancer research laboratory utilizing state-of-the-art approaches to understand cancer pathogenesis and progression in multiple target sites with the goal of translating discoveries into clinical advances.

Symposium Co-organizer:

Thomas Krieg, M.D., Ph.D.
Associated Principal Investigator, Professor Emeritus for Dermatology and Venerology

Prof. Dr. Thomas Krieg’s research group explores the risk factors and mechanisms underlying chronic wounds aiming at the development of innovative therapies.


Our research: One key aspect is identifying factors of an increased risk to be affected from poor wound healing and chronic wounds, such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This disease results in inflammatory and fibrotic changes to the skin, which often trigger tissue loss and chronic wounds on the calves and feet. Prof. Krieg and his team of scientists are working to understand the mechanisms of cellular communication and use these findings to help identify the processes that promote degenerative changes in the skin and inhibit the normal healing process.

Symposium Co-organizer:

Sabine Werner, Ph.D.
Professor of Cell Biology, ETH Zurich

Sabine Werner has been Professor of Cell Biology at the ETH Zurich since February 1999.


Sabine Werner studied Biochemistry at the Universities of Tubingen and Munich. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Munich, after having completed her dissertation at the Max-​Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried in the department of Prof. Peter Hans Hofschneider. After a short postdoctoral period at the same institute, she moved to the University of California San Francisco, where she started to work on the molecular mechanisms of growth factor action and tissue repair as a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Prof. Lewis T. Williams. From 1993-​1999 she was a group leader at the Max-​Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. In 1996 she obtained a Hermann-​and-Lilly Schilling professorship of Medical Research at the same institute and from 1995-​1999 she was also Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the Ludwig-​Maximilians-University of Munich.


Symposium Co-Director

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

Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., 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 Director Emerita

Molly Kulesz-Martin, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Dermatology
OHSU Dermatology

Molly Kulesz-Martin, Ph.D., 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.