50 Years ESDR Anniversary Lecture 1
Title: Discovery and recovery for genetic skin diseases
Date: Thursday 23 September 2021, 9.15 – 9.35
John McGrath holds the Mary Dunhill Chair in Cutaneous Medicine at the St John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College London, and is Head of Department for the St John’s Institute of Dermatology and its Genetic Skin Disease Unit, as well as Honorary Consultant Dermatologist to the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.
He qualified in Medicine at Guy’s Hospital (London) in 1985. He then trained in dermatology at St John’s Institute in London and did post-doctoral work in Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. In 1996, he was appointed Senior Lecturer at St John’s and became full Professor of Molecular Dermatology in 2000.
He is a former Board member of the European Society for Dermatological Research and was the Society’s President in 2007-8. He is a Past-President of the St John’s Hospital Dermatological Society (2015-16) and the Past-President of the European Dermatology Forum (2017-2019). His awards include the 2008 Sulzberger Lecture, the 2010 Dohi Memorial Lecture, the 2011 Montagna Lecture, the 2012 Tanioku-Kihei Lecture, and the 2013 Cormane Lecture. In 2011 he was elected to the UK National Academy of Medical Sciences and in 2012 he was awarded the Fothergill Gold medal by the London Medical Society.
His long-standing interest is in gene hunting, identifying genes and mutations in different inherited skin diseases, particularly blistering skin disorders. In addition to identifying some of the first hemidesmosome and desmosome abnormalities in epidermolysis bullosa, his group is also responsible for discovering the mutant genes in lipoid proteinosis, Kindler syndrome, AEC syndrome (and two other forms of ectodermal dysplasia), LOC syndrome, familial primary localised cutaneous amyloidosis, and two recessive forms of epidermolysis bullosa simplex. His professional goals are to unravel the mysteries of human genetic skin diseases and to translate some of the benefits of genetic research into clinical improvements for patients, especially through clinical trials of novel therapies. He is currently running clinical trials of cell and gene therapies in recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa and exploring how best to use molecular technologies to try to correct inherited skin diseases.