National Psoriasis Foundation awards University of Pennsylvania resident its inaugural Dr. Mark G. Lebwohl Medical Dermatology Fellowship

PORTLAND, Ore. (July 2, 2013)—The National Psoriasis Foundation awarded Zelma Chiesa Fuxench, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, its inaugural Dr. Mark G. Lebwohl Medical Dermatology Fellowship, recognizing her work as a promising psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis researcher.

Dr. Chiesa, a third-year dermatology resident, will use the one-year, $40,000 grant to investigate the treatments and associated health risks of psoriasis—a chronic, noncontagious disease of the immune system that appears on the skin, affecting roughly 7.5 million Americans. Her fellowship also pairs her with Dr. Joel Gelfand, an established UPenn psoriatic disease investigator and epidemiologist, to oversee her work.

Through the fellowship, Chiesa will attempt to:

  • Identify the characteristics among patients and their treatments that will allow physicians to predict the likelihood of skin clearance on tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors and methotrexate;
  • Determine the risk of major cardiovascular events in people with psoriasis;
  • Decide whether treating psoriasis with systemic TNF-alpha inhibitors improves whole-body inflammation associated with psoriasis and lowers risk for cardiovascular disease.

"There's a shortage of scientists conducting psoriatic disease research, so it's imperative to help support early-career physicians like Dr. Chiesa," said Randy Beranek, National Psoriasis Foundation president and CEO. "Chiesa, who's also pursuing a degree in clinical epidemiology, is in a unique position to help increase our basic understanding of the natural history of psoriasis, how it progresses and the best and safest ways to treat it in the long term."

Each year, the National Psoriasis Foundation supports up-and-coming doctors with medical dermatology fellowships. Chiesa's grant honors Dr. Mark Lebwohl—dermatology chair at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai—one of the world's foremost psoriasis experts and a leader in medical dermatology. This year's fellowship was supported by a generous grant from AbbVie.

Learn more about the Psoriasis Foundation fellowship award program »


About the National Psoriasis Foundation

National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world's largest organization serving people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Our priority is to provide the information and services for people to take control of their condition, while increasing research to find a cure. In addition to serving more than 2.1 million people annually through our patient and professional education and advocacy initiatives, NPF has funded more than $10 million in psoriatic disease research. Visit us online at www.psoriasis.org or call 800.723.9166. Follow NPF on Facebook and Twitter.