UCD Charles Institute of Dermatology

Ireland's National Dermatology Research Institute


The Institute's vision is to become a world leader in innovative dermatologic/cutaneous research to support advances in patient care and to deliver outstanding education to both basic and clinical scientists.


With its origins in the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital (1890-1986), the UCD Charles Institute of Dermatology was launched in 2011 with an investment of €18 million as the first academic institute devoted to translational dermatology research on the island of Ireland. We are an academic centre located within Ireland's largest School of Medicine, and so are well-integrated into Ireland's largest network of teaching hospitals (including Dublin's St. Vincent's University Hospital and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital) and the UCD Clinical Research Centre. We aim to collaborate closely with dermatology centres throughput the island of Ireland, elsewhere in Europe and overseas with support via a mixed portfolio of Government, Charity and Pharma/Industry partnerships.


In the Charles we have capacity for approx. 70 research scientists at all levels of their development, and we are a multi-disciplinary centre engaged in the study of skin in both health and disease states, with focus on genetics, immunology/ inflammation, wound-healing, cancer, and pigmentation science. We use innovative technologies (transcriptomics, proteomics, interactomics, metabolomics etc.) to complement state-of-the-art imaging, molecular and cellular biology approaches. Together, we aim to make meaningful advances in our understanding of how the skin, our body's largest organ, can be maintained in a healthy state and how diseases of the skin may be tackled for patient benefit.

Charles Institute Lab Groups

A short overview line may appear here.

The Wang Lab

Keywords: RDEB, Wound healing, Stem cells, Hydrogels, DNA plasmid, Non-viral gene delivery vectors

Our research is focused on the development of functional biomaterials including polymers and hydrogels with the aim of improving therapeutic outcomes for RDEB, diabetic wounds, burn wounds & acute wounds.

The Tobin Lab

Keywords: Skin/hair pigmentation in health & disease, Hair growth regulation, Immune-mediated skin/hair disorders, Wound-healing, Skin aging

Using in vitro and ex vivo assays, our lab examines the cellular and molecular control of key skin and hair follicle biologic process in health (incl. aging) and disease. Examples of current projects include melanin production and its distribution; cutaneous fibroblast heterogeneity in wound healing. Specific disorders of interest include: melanoma, vitiligo, canities, alopecia areata, psoriasis, vitiligo & diabetic wound healing.

The Powell Lab

Keywords: Demodex, rosacea, inflammation, innate immunity, gene expression, inflammatory mediator release, sebaceous gland

Demodex mites are microscopic arachnids living in human facial skin with increased numbers found in patients with rosacea. To better understand the pathogenesis of rosacea, our research focus is to clarify how Demodex usually evade an inflammatory response but yet are strongly linked with this inflammatory condition. We analyse molecular and cellular markers of inflammation in the presence of mites in human skin cells and tissue. We also aim to explore the role of Demodex mites in canine demodicosis, and to overcome the technical challenges of culturing and imaging these small organisms.

The Kiel Lab

Keywords: Melanoma, protein engineering, cell signalling, protein interaction networks

We employ cell signalling and computational network modelling approaches to investigate the rewiring in melanocytes and melanomas mediated by microenvironmental cues and cell intrinsic factors. We also use 3D structure-based engineering tools to rationally rewire networks to steer cell fates of melanocytes.

Charles- Affiliated Projects

The Eissner/Smith Project

Keywords: Atopic dermatitis, mouse model, inflammation, epidermal barrier

Novel murine model of atopic dermatitis: We have recently characterised a novel murine model of atopic dermatitis which encapsulates many aspects of the disease pathophysiology and molecular mechanisms. Our aim is to investigate the preclinical potential of this model and explore future therapeutic options.

The SFI-Pfizer project

Keywords: RDEB, Wound healing, Stem cells, Hydrogels, DNA plasmid, Non-viral gene delivery vectors

Psoriasis is the most common skin condition affecting 125 million patients worldwide. The project in collaboration with Pfizer aims to develop and to test the next generation of biologics for the treatment of psoriasis by using in vitro and in vivo models. This research is being undertaken by Dr. Charles Metais, with Professor Walter Kolch as the project supervisor.

Educational Opportunities

We are now taking Expressions of Interest for our
Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Dermatology, launching September 2019.

Download Course Flyer [PDF]