Research in the Department of Dermatology is focused primarily on clinical, biomedical, and health services delivery projects. Our research program dovetails easily with our strong clinical and educational programs.

Faculty Research Interests

Susie Ailor, MD, has interests in medical and health education, sports dermatology, disease prevention and cutaneous effects of chemotherapy.

  • Maps in Medicine: A New Approach to Life Sciences Education
  • Effects of Chemotherapy on Skin and Hair

Mirna Becevic, PhD, has research interests in telemedicine, ECHO, virtual CME and rural health.

  • Teledermatology and telemedicine
  • Distance continuing medical education
  • Imaging informatics

Kara Braudis, MD, is interested in complex medical dermatology, clinical pathologic correlation in dermatopathology, dermatology education, access to dermatologic care.

  • Pediatric Moderate-to-Severe Plaque Psoriasis
  • Adult Chronic Plaque Psoriasis

    Jon Dyer, MD is interested in genetic skin diseases, epigenetics, mosaicism and many other pediatric dermatologic processes. Other areas of interest to him are teledermatology for both adults and children, as well as adult and pediatric dermatologic education.

    • Epigenetic Profiling of Pre-Neoplastic Mosaic Skin Lesions
    • Epigenetic Changes in Inflammatory Skin Disease
    • Inflammatory Mosaic Disorders

    Karen Edison, MD, is interested in teledermatology, health disparities, health care access and health policy.

    • A Communication Content Comparison of In-Person and Live-Interactive Teledermatology
    • Use of Telehealth in Bioterror Preparedness and Emerging Infectious Disease
    • Skin Cancer Epidemiology
    • Photodynamic Therapy vs. 5-FU for Treatment of Actinic Keratoses in the Veteran Population
    • A Three-Way Comparison of Diagnostic and Management Congruence Among Dermatologists: In-Person; Live-Interactive; and Store-and-Forward Health Literacy

    Nicholas Golda, MD, is interested in patient experience and satisfaction, occupational safety, translational research to develop new technologies in energy-based diagnostic and therapeutic modalities, cutaneous oncology and facial reconstruction following skin cancer therapy.

    • Burn Depth Imaging Analysis via Waveguide-Mediated, Backward-Mode Photoacoustics
    • Determining patient preferences and the impact on patient satisfaction of intraoperative smoke evacuation for outpatient surgery
    • Determining dermatologic staff preferences regarding intraoperative electrosurgical smoke for outpatient dermatologic surgery
    • Ultrasound Enhanced Laser Dermatology
    • Safer Laser Handpiece
    • NIR Navigator: A Simple Intra-operative System for Visualization of Deep Tissue Structures
    • Non-Invasive Imaging of Sentinel Lymph Nodes in Melanoma - Multifunctional radio-fluorescent nanoconjugates (MRFn)

    Kari Martin, MD, is interested in adult and pediatric allergic contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, infantile hemangiomas and other vascular anomalies and new therapeutics in pediatric dermatology diseases.

    • Pediatric Epidermolysis Bullosa
    • Pediatric Acute Bacterial Skin and Skin Structure Infections
    • Pediatric Moderate-to-Severe Plaque Psoriasis

    Emily Smith, MD is interested in the early diagnosis, treatment, and management of complex skin cancers, including melanoma. She is particularly interested in identifying molecular profiles and clinicopathologic features predictive of aggressive behavior in squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Additionally, she is interested in the use of artificial intelligence to detect skin cancer and help triage lesions evaluated by non-dermatologists.

    • Prognostic gene expression profiling and adjuvant therapy in Stage IIIA-B Cutaneous Melanoma
    • Development of an artificial intelligence algorithm to triage dermoscopic images of skin lesions
    • A randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind study of adjuvant cemiplimab versus placebo after surgery and radiation therapy in patients with high-risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
    • Development and validation of a gene expression assay to predict the risk of recurrent disease in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

    William V. Stoecker, MD, research interests are medical informatics, image processing , skin cancer and melanomas and spider bite diagnosis. He is also developing skin cancer identification software.

    Dana Ward, MD, has academic interests in cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma (CTCL), Women's Health and cutaneous diseases of pregnancy (along with Dr. Holly Edmonds). She is currently a co-investigator on several of the studies listed above.

      Susan Zurowski, MD, is interested in skin cancer screening, new treatments for psoriasis, skin disease with systemic disease.

      • Adult Moderate-to-Severe Chronic Plaque Psoriasis
      • Pediatric and Adult Epidermolysis Bullosa Simplex

      Dermatology ECHO

      The AAD’s recent Burden of Skin Disease report showed that one out of four Americans access care for skin disease in one year and one out of two over the age of 65 do so. Two-thirds of these patients receive this care from non-dermatologists. For this reason, we felt moved to help primary care providers in rural and underserved areas of our state improve the quality of basic skin disease care they are able to deliver. Every Friday from noon to 1 p.m., we hold a videoconferencing facilitated case conference where PCPs join via video, we give a very short lecture on a derm topic, and then we spend the bulk of the hour discussing the art and science of managing patient cases the participants have sent in ahead of time. On our end, we have several general dermatologists, two pediatric dermatologists, one of our dermatopathologists, a clinical psychologist, and an advance practice nurse who participate. Our participating PCPs come from all corners of Missouri and they have already detected early melanomas they would have missed had they not learned how to screen effectively for them. Learn more at

      Enrolling Clinical Trials

      • Plaque Psoriasis
      • Ichthyosis Vulgaris
      • Epidermolysis Bullosa Simplex
      • Acute Bacterial Skin Infections
      • Hidradenitis Suppurativa
      • Atopic Dermatitis
      • Vascular Overgrowth Syndrome

      For more information on these trials, contact the dermatology research team at 573-882-8030.