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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Department of Dermatology

Research elective

The Experimental Dermatology elective provides a "hands on" opportunity for medical students to participate in dermatological research. The elective is open to third and fourth year medical students at Downstate, as well as visiting medical students. Previous experience in laboratory work with tissue cultures, microbiology methods, and immunology assays is a plus, but is not a requirement. Students will learn to perform various bioassays in order to assess specific cell functions such as chemotaxis, adhesion, angiogenesis, cytokine production and nitric oxide production.

Wei Li

Dr. Wei-Li Lee
Director of Research, Experimental Dermatology Laboratory

The course is run by Dr. Wei-Li Lee. Her research focuses on the effects of physical and chemical stimuli on the skin in an attempt to understand how cells communicate and react to certain stimuli and/or insults. She has investigated the relationship of the skin to UV radiation (UVR), narrow band blue light, microbial organisms and chemical irritants. Dr. Lee's lab also performs many in vitro studies involving various types of cells including human blood vessel endothelial cells, skin cells (keratinocytes and fibroblasts), white blood cells (leukocytes, monocytes) and mouse macrophages. Dr. Lee's laboratory has established many in vitro cell models describing how various cells interact with respect to self-defense and innate and adaptive immunity.

Dr. Lee's work also strives to understand how the skin fights off infection, what occurs when skin defense systems fail, and the mechanism of inflammatory responses that ensue. Additionally, her interests include researching the beneficial effects of alternative and natural ingredients in the treatment of skin conditions.

Students should contact Dr. Wei-Li Lee in advance to plan a research project. Students then complete an Extramural / Tailor-Made / Research Elective Form, available through the SUNY Office of the Registrar.

Find out more in the Basic Science Research section.

Contact information:
Course director: Wei-Li Lee, PhD
Phone: 718-270-1229