Dr. Amy Paller holds board certifications in dermatology, pediatric dermatology, and pediatrics. She is the chair of the Department of Dermatology at Northwestern University and the director of the Northwestern University Skin Disease Research Center.
As the principle investigator at the Northwestern SDRC she heads up one of only six National Institute of Health funded skin disease research centers in the U.S. The goals of the center are to foster and synergize skin and epithelial biology research across multiple disciples on the school’s campus and throughout the larger Chicago clinical research community.
Part of the center is the Paller Lab which studies the role of gangliosides, molecules that regulate lipid raft-based signaling in skin, particularly in diabetic wound healing and skin cancer. Using DNA- and RNA-nanoconjugates as a version of topical gene therapy the lab treats diabetic ulcers, psoriasis, skin cancer and other skin overgrowth disorders as well as rare genetic skin problems.
In the field of pediatric dermatology, Dr. Paller’s interests are in immune-mediated inflammatory disorders, like eczema and psoriasis, as well as genetic disorders like ichthyoses and epidermolysis bullosa. She has led over 70 clinical trials in her role as director of pediatric dermatology clinical research and has published over 370 papers on topics related to dermatology, as well as numerous textbooks.
In 2015 Paller was the co-author of an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explaining the findings of a project developing a topical gene regulation technology that can speed the healing of ulcers in diabetic animals. Paller worked with Dr. Chad Mirkin of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences to combine spherical nucleic acids with a common commercial moisturizer to create a way to topically knock down a gene known to interfere with wound healing. This discovery is thought to offer a possible solution to the serious problem of chronic, non-healing skin wounds that many patients with type 2 diabetes suffer from–that can sometimes lead to amputations. It is also hoped that this technology could lead to not only more effective treatments but also to actual non-healing ulcer prevention.
Written by Angela Goad