Professor Sara Brown
Sara's research uses forefront techniques to investigate the molecular and genetic mechanisms leading to skin barrier disruption and inflammation - characteristics of atopic eczema.
Martina Elias, Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Professor Sara Brown moved her laboratory and clinical work to Edinburgh in December 2020. Sara is a clinical academic dermatologist, caring for patients of all ages with a wide range of skin diseases. Her research interest is in understanding how a person's genetic make-up predisposes to the inflammatory skin disease, atopic eczema, and associated systemic conditions.
The Brown lab uses primary human keratinocytes (the building blocks of epidermis) and a skin organoid model 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 the question of why eczema has risen in prevalence in recent decades. The ultimate aim is to define targets for new and better treatments.
Sara graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1996 with a first-class degree in Parasitology and Entomology and MBChB with Honours. She moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne for general medical training and specialised in Dermatology, staying in Newcastle where she benefited from the environment where clinical academic enquiry was very much encouraged. Training with Professor Nick Reynolds, Professor Heather Cordell and Professor (now Sir) John Burn, Sara obtained an MD with Commendation in 2008. After completion of her clinical training, Sara moved to Dublin for a fellowship in Paediatric Dermatology with Professor Alan Irvine and Dr Rosemarie Watson. In 2009 Sara was awarded a Wellcome Intermediate Clinical Fellowship to support her ongoing research located in the laboratory of Professor Irwin McLean, a leader in the field of Epithelial Genetics and at the forefront of eczema genetic research, in Dundee, Scotland. In 2013 Sara established her independent laboratory within the School of Medicine, University of Dundee, and in 2015 she was awarded a Wellcome Senior Fellowship to continue her research in eczema genetics. This fellowship award has been renewed – to commence in 2021. Throughout her career, Sara has taken every opportunity to interact with patients and the public, sharing the challenges of living with eczema, learning from patients and families affected by eczema and discussing important research ideas. Read more about the Brown lab and our public engagement activities using the Brown laboratory link above.
Sara is an Honorary Consultant Dermatologist in NHS Lothian; with the University ofEdinburgh, she has dual affiliation with the Institute of Genetics and Cancer and CIR.