Peter Dimitrion, a student at Wayne State University, is heading for the 37th MD-Ph.D. National conference, hosted by the University of Colorado Anschutz in Copper Mountain, Colorado, next month to present its work on hidradenitis suppurativa, a condition with the greatest patient-reported impact on quality of life of any disease skin.
Patients with hidradenitis suppurativa suffer from painful recalcitrant lesions in the intertriginous skin such as the armpits and groin.
The resume from Dimitrion, who just completed his first year of graduate school in the MD-Ph.D. from the School of Medicine. curriculum, was selected from thousands to be presented orally at the event. The meeting brings together students, alumni, and faculty from across the country to explore the intersections of research and medicine, focusing on diverse careers, health care policy, and scientific breakthroughs. The conference features keynote speakers, oral and poster sessions for students, a diverse career panel, and breakout sessions that encompass topics of interest to MD-Ph.D. students.
“I had a lot of emotions when I found out about it, but the most overwhelming was gratitude. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to raise awareness about HS, but I’m also grateful to have the opportunity to represent the WSU School of Medicine MD-Ph.D. program nationally,” he said.
The budding dermatologist will present “Peripheral and cutaneous dissection of immunological dysregulations in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa” on July 10.
“The etiology of this disease is unknown and the prognosis and treatment remain abysmal. In our study, we used a combination of mass cytometry, high-dimensional imaging, machine learning, and bioinformatics to elucidate that circulating monocytes show enhanced skin localization ability and express the inflammatory protein CD38,” said Dimitrion. “In the skin, it appears that these monocytes are found specifically in the lesions and the expression of CD38 is associated with an inflammatory gene signature. Moreover, these monocytes seem to reside juxtaposed to endothelial cells.
The results claim that circulating monocytes invade the skin and drive the characteristics of the skin immune response and interact with endothelial cells to influence the tissue microenvironment of injury.
“There are several translational avenues that we are actively pursuing that stem from our findings that could improve the care of these patients,” he added.
Dimitrion is grateful to Professor of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology Qing-Sheng Mi, Ph.D., for his mentorship in the lab, and to dermatologist Iltefat Hamzavi, MD, for “helping me find a passion for research that didn’t only motivates me as a researcher but also a doctor in training,” he said.