Dr Simon G Danby

BSc (Hon) PhD

Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease

Research Fellow

+44 114 215 9563

Full contact details

Dr Simon G Danby
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
Room K123
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX

Originally trained in biochemistry and molecular biology I joined the University of Sheffield in 2005 as a post-doctoral scientist in the Academic Unit of Biomedical Genetics. In this position I worked exclusively for York Pharma on the early stage development of novel therapeutics and diagnostics for atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and malignant melanoma. In 2009 I joined the Academic Unit of Dermatology Research as a post-doctoral Research Associate. The focus of my research in this role was improving our understanding of the structure and function of the epidermal (skin) barrier and its role in the development of disorders such as atopic dermatitis (AD). At the beginning of 2012 I was awarded a 3-year unencumbered research fellowship from Johnson & Johnson to continue my research on the skin barrier and set up a dedicated research facility for conducting human skin research. Since then I have continued to conduct and lead translational dermatology research as an independent fellow.

Research interests

The skin serves as an important barrier that keeps moisture in the body and prevents the incursion of harmful exogenous agents, such as irritants and allergens, and resists the invasion of pathogens. A growing body of evidence suggests a primary role for the ‘skin barrier’ in the pathogenesis of a broad range of inflammatory skin disorders, including contact dermatitis, ichthyosis, psoriasis, rosacea and atopic dermatitis (AD). Repeated barrier disruption for instance induces epidermal hyperplasia and inflammation. Current medicine is based on the reactive treatment of these downstream consequences of skin barrier dysfunction, and includes the use of both anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative compounds. My research focuses on increasing our understanding of the skin barrier defect and developing treatments to correct it under the following core themes:

  • Gene-environment interactions in the development of atopic dermatitis
  • Development of treatments for atopic dermatitis
  • The improvement of neonatal skincare
  • Interaction of topical pharmaceutical and cosmetic agents with the skin barrier

A greater understanding of the underlying skin barrier defect promises to firstly identify susceptible individuals early on, and secondly to deliver novel therapeutic options for targeted skin barrier repair with the potential to prevent the development of clinical disease.

Current Projects:

  • Characterisation of the skin barrier defect in atopic dermatitis using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy
  • Improving neonatal skincare: the Skin Testing for Atopic eczema Risk (STAR) study
  • Characterizing the microcirculation of atopic dermatitis using angiographic optical coherence tomography
  • Evaluation of topical emollients and bath/wash emollients
  • Effect of topical anti-inflammatory treatments on the structure and function of the skin barrier
  • Hygiene and emollient interventions for maintaining skin integrity in older people in hospital and residential care settings
  • A Comparison between Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) determined basal cell carcinoma (BCC) margins against surgeon excision margins and histology – an observational pilot study

Journal articles


  • Danby S, Bedwell C & Cork MJ (2014) Neonatal Skin Care and Toxicology In Eichenfield LF, Frieden IJ, Zaenglein A & Mathes E (Ed.), Neonatal and Infant Dermatology (pp. 46-56). Saunders RIS download Bibtex download
  • Cork MJ & Danby SG (2012) Current and Future Trends: Skin Diseases and Treatment In Benson HAE & Watkinson AC (Ed.), Topical and Transdermal Drug Delivery Wiley RIS download Bibtex download
  • Cork MJ & Danby S (2011) The Skin Barrier in Atopic Dermatitis. In Irvine A, Hoeger P & Yan A (Ed.), Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Cork MJ, Danby SG, Vasilopoulos Y, Hadgraft J, Lane M, Moustafa M, Guy R, MacGowan A, Tazi-Ahnini R & Ward SJ (2009) Epidermal Barrier Dysfunction in Atopic Dermatitis In Rawlings L (Ed.), Skin Moisturization USA: Informa Healthcare USA Inc.. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Danby SG, Ewence A, Rumsby P, Cork MJ, Williams HC, Rockett L & Davey HMSAUIII-PP (2011) A systematic review of skin irritation and tap water RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching interests
  • I teach on the undergraduate medical degree course (Common skin conditions and skin pharmacology) and on the Molecular Medicine MSc (Experimental medicine pathway, modules MED6020 & MED6021 Cellular and Molecular Basis of Disease)
  • I supervise undergraduate BMedSci and Research Attachment SSC projects conducted within our dedicated skin barrier research suite
  • I also deliver external educational presentations to healthcare professionals on topics covering skin physiology, skincare, atopic dermatitis and the mechanisms of topical therapies for atopic dermatitis
Professional activities
  • Member of the European Society for Dermatological Research (ESDR)
  • Manager of the “Skin Barrier Research Facility” housing a range of bioinstrumentation for the assessment of human skin in vivo non-invasively