Dennis Roop, Ph.D., is the associate director of Gates Institute at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He is also professor of dermatology and holds the John S. Gates Endowed Chair in Stem Cell Biology. He previously was professor of molecular and cellular biology and dermatology and director of the Center for Cutaneous Molecular Biology at the Baylor College of Medicine for 18 years. Prior to that, Roop worked at the National Cancer Institute.
Roop is one of the first investigators to begin using molecular techniques to study how the skin forms during normal embryonic development. He has identified many of the genes required for normal skin development and discovered that defects in some of these genes cause inherited skin diseases characterized by a very fragile skin, which blisters easily and may result in neonatal death.
His current, primary research focuses on generating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from patients with inherited skin diseases, genetically correcting these cells and differentiating them into a skin stem cell lineage, which can be returned to the same patient. This seminal research led to the 2016 formation of the EB iPS Cell Consortium with research teams from Colorado, Stanford and Columbia Universities uniting to fight the rare and debilitating genetic skin blistering disease Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). EB affects thousands across the US and worldwide with chronic skin wounds similar in property to thermal burns and indistinguishable from burns induced by chemical agents such as mustard gas. Many children afflicted with Recessive Dystrophic EB (RDEB), one of the most painful and disfiguring forms of the condition, do not survive their teens after lives compromised by chronic, debilitating pain and suffering. The EB iPS Cell Consortium firmly believes in the concept of collaborative research as the most efficient and cost-effective way to bring new research discoveries to the clinic, and it is poised to help translate the first FDA approved iPSC-based clinical trial for the most serious form of the disease into the clinic, which would be one of the first iPSC-based clinical trials in the US.
Roop is the recipient of several awards including a Max Plank Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1991), the William Montagna Award from the Society for Investigative Dermatology (1992), the Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Award (2001), the CE.R.I.E.S. Research Award (2002), the Tanioku Kihei Memorial Award from the Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology (2003), the Rene Touraine Foundation Award (2005), and the Stephen Rothman Memorial Award from the Society for Investigative Dermatology (2010), the Society’s highest award presented annually to an individual who has distinctly altered the course and image of dermatology or its allied fields. He has served on the Advisory Council at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and he is a former President of the Society for Investigative Dermatology. He was elected to the Berea College Board of Trustees in October 2009. The NIH has continuously supported his research efforts since 1989. He is the author of more than 250 peer-reviewed publications.
He received a B.A. in Biology from Berea College, Berea, KY in 1969 and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1972 and 1977, respectively.