Hull York Medical School launches Skin Research Centre

26 September 2023
Examining a skin microsampling device under a microscope

A new Skin Research Centre is today being launched by Hull York Medical School - bringing together leading scientists, clinicians and advanced technology experts to improve skin health globally.

The new centre, based at the University of York, will improve our understanding of skin health, including how conditions and diseases impact some patients more than others based on their socio-economic status, and aims to undertake pioneering research which will lead to improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and care for patients.

Skin is the largest organ in the body and plays an essential role in protecting us from infection and injury. However, skin diseases account for a staggering 24% of the UK’s burden of illness[i], with wound care alone costing the NHS approximately £8.3billion each year[ii]. Other conditions are estimated to cost approximately £723 million annually.

However, despite the evident need for skin research, there is a significant knowledge gap both nationally and globally.

Professor Tarl Prow, Director of the Skin Research Centre, said: "Our aim is to be a world-class research centre which focuses on improving patient care through scientific discovery and I believe we are uniquely placed to do just that.

"Across our centre we have world-leading skin scientists who are undertaking research in skin microbiome, wound-healing and infection; infectious diseases and immunology; and skin ageing and cancer.

"We have access to clinicians within the NHS who understand skin health and the impact of skin disease on patients. And we have advanced technology experts who have the knowledge, expertise and industry connections to be able to develop novel solutions to support the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions."

The Skin Research Centre is a significant investment by Hull York Medical School and reflects the School’s commitment to undertaking research which improves the health of people in the region, nationally and globally.

The School’s unique partnership between the Universities of Hull and York means that the centre has access to the expertise, facilities and research infrastructure from both institutions. It builds on York’s research in immunology and infection and the University of Hull’s work in wound healing. The centre is also a member of the York Biomedical Research Institute which brings additional access to expertise and technology.

One of the important factors that will enable the Centre to achieve its aim of improving skin health is identifying and understanding those factors which impact skin health and the experience of patients with skin disease. The Medical School’s partnership with regional NHS Trusts, GPs and community healthcare providers means that the centre has access to a wide clinical base in which to conduct skin research for patient benefit.

Professor Alison Layton, Clinical Lead for the Skin Research Centre and Consultant Dermatologist at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"Skin diseases are very common and around a third of the global population will experience a skin condition at some point in their lives. All skin problems including the most common inflammatory skin diseases such as acne, eczema and psoriasis as well as the ever-increasing numbers of skin cancer, can have a profound and negative impact on quality of life.

"The Skin Research Centre is uniquely located to provide access to a diverse population over a broad geography and enables us to conduct research and find solutions to concerns that really matter to people suffering from skin disease."

University of York Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery said: "The Skin Research Centre offers a unique environment in which we can further develop our understanding of skin disease and develop solutions which will improve the experiences of patients in our region, but will also influence health policy on a national and global level, reduce inequalities and make a real and lasting difference to people’s lives."

For further information about the Skin Research Centre visit

For media enquiries contact: University of York Press Office, telephone +44(0)1904 322153 or email

[i] Global Burden of Disease project

[ii] Guest JF et al., BMJ Open. 2020 doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-045253