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December 21, 2021 GMT

NOVATO, Calif., Dec. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Eczema Association (NEA) today announced the recipients for its 2021 research grants. From a growing range of U.S.-based and international applications, the research projects of nine outstanding investigators were selected, representing grants totaling $515,000. 2021 marked a significant jump in NEA’s research investment, from $310,000 in 2020, with a new grant category and increase from six to nine recipients.

As the largest private nonprofit funder of eczema research, NEA has invested over $2.2 million since its first grant was awarded in 2004. Collectively, NEA-funded grants for basic science, clinical and translational research have supported a deeper understanding of the symptoms, comorbidities and burdens of eczema, provided insights into the biology contributing to eczema and targets for new potential treatment strategies, and furthered the ability to improve patient care and disease prevention.


Most notably, for every $1 NEA has invested in eczema research, grantees have collectively gone on to obtain an additional $12.83 in subsequent National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to support further eczema research.

“Eczema affects over 31 million people in the U.S. alone, many with severe, even debilitating impacts to their life and yet we do not see an appropriate investment in research,” says Julie Block, CEO of NEA. “We’ve been working hard to fill this gap, to increase the number of scientists, research projects and research dollars devoted to eczema which will lead to better therapies, better care, better outcomes – and one day, potentially a cure.”

The 2021 research grants are awarded in four categories as follows:

Impact Research Grant – New for 2021, this award provides funding support for collaborative research projects to conduct multi-institution innovative eczema research.

  • Concepcio Soler PhD, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    • Analyzing the role of the gene TREX2. a keratinocyte-specific exonuclease, in AD and evaluation as potential therapeutic target.

Champion Research Grant– Encourages proven researchers to continue research on emerging or ongoing challenges in eczema or bring their expertise to the field of eczema.

  • Katrina Abuabara MD, MA, MSCE, University of California, San Francisco
    • Examining dietary salt consumption as a predictor of atopic dermatitis heterogeneity and cardiac comorbidity.
  • Wilson Liao MD. University of California, San Francisco
    • Assessing the heterogeneity of eczema across the lifespan using bioinformatics analysis to help determine if there are biomarkers specific for atopic dermatitis in different age groups.


Catalyst Research Grant – Designed to support talented early-career scientists on the path toward becoming the next generation of eczema thought leaders by supporting hypothesis-driven research projects.

  • Cameron Flayer PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
    • Exploring how epidermal IL-3 producing gamma delta T cells can affect the allergen activation threshold of sensory neurons
  • Sarah Whitley MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
    • Studying the regulation of skin barrier function by the neuropeptide vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP).
  • Joy Wan MD, MSCE, John Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, MD
    • Characterizing the relationship between atopic dermatitis severity and behavioral issues in childhood, and its mediation by AD-related symptoms and sleep.

Engagement Research Grant – Intended for emerging investigators exploring a new research concept, piloting a new experiment, or undertaking a novel or secondary data analysis.

  • Stephanie Le MS, MD, University of California, Davis
    • Characterizing the glycan alterations associated with IgEresponses and AD.
  • Ge Peng, MD, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo Japan
    • Exploring the therapeutic effect of the novel antimicrobial peptide (AMP-IBP5) on AD through lipoprotein-receptor related protein 1 regulation.
  • Mary Moran MS, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
    • Examining the importance of Staphylococcusaureus virulence factors and barrier disruption in susceptibility toeczema herpeticum.

Learn more about NEA’s ongoing support of eczema research.

About the National Eczema Association
Founded in 1988, the National Eczema Association (NEA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and the largest patient advocacy organization serving the over 31 million Americans who live with eczema and those who care for them. NEA provides programs and resources to elevate the diverse lived experience of eczema, and help patients and caregivers understand their disease, actively engage in their care, find strength in one another – and improve their lives. Additionally, NEA advances critical eczema research and partners with key stakeholders to ensure the patient voice is represented and valued in education, care and treatment decision-making. The eczema community is at an exciting juncture, with increased recognition of the seriousness and burden of eczema and a surge in scientific interest and development of new treatments. Bolstered by NEA’s strategic plan, Blueprint 2025, we are driving toward the ultimate vision: a world without eczema. Learn more at

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SOURCE National Eczema Association