Meet the Councilor | Katrina Abuabara, MD MSCE

IEC Councilor Katrina Abuabara, MD MSCE.  A clinician and researcher, Dr. Abuabara is a dermatologist with the University of California San Francisco Health in San Francisco, CA, USA. The UCSF website notes, "Dr. Abuabara studies the impact of inflammatory skin disease on overall health and the role of the skin in the aging process. Her interdisciplinary scientific approach combines genomic, physiological, environmental, and psychosocial variables to understand patient outcomes over time. Her goal is to develop truly personalized interventions that address both the pathophysiological and sociocultural aspects of disease to improve the lives of patients."

She has brought her passion for atopic dermatitis research to the IEC, serving as co-chair of the  IEC Research Committee and lead author of the 2021 journal article Priority Research Questions in Atopic Dermatitis: An International Eczema Council edelphi Consensus.

She earned her master’s degree in sociology from Stanford University, her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and her master of science degree in clinical epidemiology from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she completed her dermatology residency and postdoctoral research fellowship in dermatoepidemiology.

What is your proudest accomplishment in the atopic dermatitis (AD) space to date?

Our research, along with the work of many others, has helped to broaden the conceptualization of AD from just a childhood skin disease to a systemic inflammatory condition that impacts individuals of all ages. Clinically, this is important for the diagnosis in adult patients with new onset disease and for the management of comorbidities in patients of all ages.

What do you value most about being involved with the IEC?

Through my involvement with the IEC, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with experienced clinicians and top researchers from around the globe. The diversity of perspectives helps to strengthen our research and clinical care, and I’ve found the experience of working with IEC collaborators to be fun, informative, and personally rewarding.

What do you think will garner the most attention over the coming year in the AD field?

In addition to trial results from exciting new targeted treatments, I think that comorbidities and biomarkers/endophenotypes will continue to be hot areas in AD.  

What do you see as the biggest need among AD patients?

An especially difficult aspect of AD for patients is the unpredictable nature of disease flares. We need a better understanding of social and environmental factors that trigger disease for individual patients. This could help to explain some of the heterogeneity in treatment response and could be an important part of personalized treatments approaches in the future.