Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine
Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine

Sara Brown Research Group

Molecular and genetic mechanisms in atopic eczema

Headshot of Sara Brown
Professor Sara Brown

Section Head: Genetic and Experimental Medicine

Research in a Nutshell

Sara is a clinical academic dermatologist, caring for patients of all ages with a wide range of skin diseases. Her research focusses on increasing the understanding of how a person’s genetic make-up predisposes to the inflammatory skin disease atopic eczema and associated systemic conditions. Sara is also an associate member of  the Centre for Inflammatory Research https://www.ed.ac.uk/inflammation-research/people/associate-members/prof-sara-brown.

The Brown Lab uses a human skin cells to create a skin organoid model which can be precisely manipulated to investigate specific molecular genetic effects. These studies are informed by genome-wide and population-based research with international collaboration. Current and future work tests gene-environment interactions, to address an important question regarding why eczema has increased in prevalence in recent decades.

The ultimate aim of Sara’s work is to define targets for the development of new and better treatments for people affected by eczema, dry skin (ichthyoses) and related allergic conditions.


Brown Lab Website (external)

Photo of Sara Brown's group


Professor Sara Brown Group Leader
Martina Elias

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Luke Johnston Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Carla Roca Bayerri Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Ellie Earp

ECAT PhD Student

Michael Song

Intercalated Medical Student

Silvia Shen Jointly supervised PhD Student




  • Ed-SKIN – the Skin Interest Network, University of Edinburgh
  • Tim Aitman, Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine, University of Edinburgh
  • Wendy Bickmore, MRC Human Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh
  • Stuart Forbes, Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh
  • Andrew Baker, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh
  • Meynert Group, Bioinformatics Analysis Core, University of Edinburgh
  • Beverley Hood, Reader, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh

  • Lavinia Paternoster, University of Bristol
  • Catherine Smith, Kings College London
  • Angus Lamond – University of Dundee
  • National Phenotypic Screening Centre – University of Dundee

Partners and Funders

  • Wellcome Trust - Senior Research Fellowship in Clinical Science & ScotPEN Wellcome Engagement Award
  • British Skin Foundation – large grant
  • BIOMAP consortium (Biomarkers in Atopic Dermatitis and Psoriasis) – funded by the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative
  • European Lead Factory – ELF/IMI innovative medicines initiative
  • NIHR HTA award – in collaboration with the University of Bristol
  • Rosetrees Trust and The Stoneygate Trust – in collaboration with the University of Bristol
  • Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust
  • Anonymous philanthropic donors


Scientific Themes

Genetics, genomics, dermatology, atopic eczema/atopic dermatitis, genetic epidemiology, environment, organoid model, transcriptomics, proteomics.