Dr Simon G Danby
BSc (Hon) PhD
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
+44 114 215 9563
Full contact details
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
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.
- 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
- Morphological parametric mapping of 21 skin sites throughout the body using optical coherence tomography. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. View this article in WRRO
- The Effect of Water Hardness on Surfactant Deposition after Washing and Subsequent Skin Irritation in Atopic Dermatitis Patients and Healthy Control Subjects. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 138(1), 68-77. View this article in WRRO
- Vitamin D and antimicrobial peptide levels in patients with atopic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis complicated by eczema herpeticum: A pilot study. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 138(5), 1715-1719.e4. View this article in WRRO
- A functional mechanistic study of the effect of emollients on the structure and function of the skin barrier. British Journal of Dermatology, 175(5), 1011-1019. View this article in WRRO
- Development of stratum corneum chymotrypsin-like protease activity and natural moisturizing factors from birth to 4 weeks of age compared with adults. British Journal of Dermatology, 175(4), 713-720. View this article in WRRO
- The Effect of an Emollient Containing Urea, Ceramide NP, and Lactate on Skin Barrier Structure and Function in Older People with Dry Skin. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 29(3), 135-147. View this article in WRRO
- Biological Variation in Skin Barrier Function: From A (Atopic Dermatitis) to X (Xerosis). Current Problems in Dermatology (Switzerland), 49, 47-60.
- Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil or no Oil for Baby Dry Skin or Massage: A Pilot, Assessor-blinded, Randomized Controlled Trial (the Oil in Baby SkincaRE [OBSeRvE] Study). Acta Dermato Venereologica, 96(3), 323-330.
- Comparing the Effect of a Twice-weekly Tacrolimus and Betamethasone Valerate Dose on the Subclinical Epidermal Barrier Defect in Atopic Dermatitis. Acta Dermato Venereologica, 95(6), 653-658.
- Hygiene and emollient interventions for maintaining skin integrity in older people in hospital and residential care settings. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2014(12), 1-16.
- The effect of tacrolimus compared with betamethasone valerate on the skin barrier in volunteers with quiescent atopic dermatitis.. Br J Dermatol, 170(4), 914-921.
- The effect of aqueous cream BP on the skin barrier in volunteers with a previous history of atopic dermatitis.. Br J Dermatol, 165(2), 329-334.
- A New Understanding Of Atopic Dermatitis: The Role Of Epidermal Barrier Dysfunction And Subclinical Inflammation. Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 1, 33-46.
- Epidermal barrier dysfunction in atopic dermatitis.. J Invest Dermatol, 129(8), 1892-1908.
- Neonatal Skin Care and Toxicology In Eichenfield LF, Frieden IJ, Zaenglein A & Mathes E (Ed.), Neonatal and Infant Dermatology (pp. 46-56). Saunders
- Current and Future Trends: Skin Diseases and Treatment In Benson HAE & Watkinson AC (Ed.), Topical and Transdermal Drug Delivery Wiley
- The Skin Barrier in Atopic Dermatitis. In Irvine A, Hoeger P & Yan A (Ed.), Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd..
- Epidermal Barrier Dysfunction in Atopic Dermatitis In Rawlings L (Ed.), Skin Moisturization USA: Informa Healthcare USA Inc..
- 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