Interview with Dr. Maria Gnarra


Part 4
An interview with the 2015 SkinPact Award winner in the Excellence in Education category – Expert’s vote, Dr. Maria Gnarra

 “The Skinpact Awards’ Excellence in Education category provided a unique opportunity for me to share what I learned during my PhD in Dermatology with my fellow dermatology clinicians. In doing so, I hope to narrow the gap between basic and clinical science research, provide them with tools to further investigate the pathogenesis of skin disorders, and potentially move towards finding new, more effective treatments.”

Dr. Maria Gnarra
UCSC & Parma Universities, Italy

What motivated you to submit a project application to the SkinPact Awards?

To my knowledge, the Skinpact Awards’ Excellence in Education category was one of the very few, if not the only, award dedicated to educational projects and not just pure research projects. Currently, there is a lack of basic science training in the medical schools and a shortage of dedicated basic research time during residency programs. The Skinpact Award creates an opportunity to provide this training.


What is your project’s theme?

Pilot “Bed-to-Bench and Back” Research Training Program for Dermatologists



After winning the Award and grant, how did you proceed with executing your project?

Firstly, Powerpoint slides presentations were prepared, addressing the following points:

  • Cell isolation and characterization
  • Cell culture
  • Functional tests/Biochemical Assays
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Grant writing
  • IRB approval and informed consent

Secondly, availability of classes will be secured for hands-on sessions.

What are the goals and measures of success for your project?

My goal is to provide clinicians with the tools to further investigate the pathogenesis of skin disorders and test new therapeutic approaches by teaching basic science techniques.
A measure of its success is the ability of clinicians who attend the course to be able to pursue research projects.


Who is working with you on your project?

Professor Ketty Peris, MD, from the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy and Professor Claudio Feliciani, MD, from Parma University in Italy.

What would be the impact of your project? How do you think your project will make a difference in the real world setting?

With this project, we aim to make a small step towards narrowing the gap between basic and clinical science research. The clinicians attending this course will be able to acquire the scientific method and laboratory skills to advance their research in the dermatology field.


What would you say to professionals who wish to apply to the SkinPact Awards?

Think about real needs and challenges that need to be addressed in your daily professional life and what steps can be taken to solve them



Finally, could you give some words of encouragement to inspire those who have ideas and initiatives?

The Galderma Skinpact Award’ Excellence in Education category provides an incredible opportunity to contribute to advancing the education of both patients and the medical community. Thanks to this award, we are empowered to make concrete changes and impact on future generations



A little bit more about Dr. Maria Gnarra…

“On a typical working day…
Currently, my work involves both clinical and basic science research in pediatric dermatology, in particular in the vascular anomaly field.
Moreover, I am responsible for training new members of the lab – teaching them basic science techniques and other laboratory skills.”





It’s time for more initiatives to be recognized.