Dermatology Shapiro Summer Research Scholars

Quick Facts

How to Apply

  • Deadline to apply for Dermatology Shapiro 2024 projects has passed.
  • Review the list of dermatologist-mentored projects below.
  • Respond to the Dermatology Interest Survey (Deadline for Summer 2024 is December 15, 2023).
  • If you are selected, work with your mentor to submit a SMPH Shapiro Project Application (deadline for Summer 2024 is March 3, 2024).


How does the Dermatology Shapiro process differ from the regular Shapiro process?

Due to the high demand of students wanting to work on a Dermatology project, we want to provide an equal opportunity to all interested students by offering a centralized departmental review. This allows us to ensure students match with the right faculty mentor before submitting an application to SMPH. Please see the program overview below for more information.

Who are we looking for?

The department is looking for UW med students who will be between M1 and M2 years during the summer they conduct research and who have an interest in pursuing a career in dermatology.

How many weeks does the summer research project last?

The Shapiro summer research program lasts 8-10 weeks during the summer break between May and August.

Does the Shapiro Summer Research Program pay?

Accepted Shapiro scholars are paid a stipend of $400/week.

Who do I contact with questions?

  • If you have questions about Dermatology’s Shapiro program or application survey, contact Mary Gannon.
  • If you have questions about a specific research proposal listed below, please contact the listed faculty mentor.
  • If you have questions about the SMPH Shapiro Program in general, please see for contact info.

Primary Contact

Mary Gannon
Shapiro Program Contact
Dept. of Dermatology

Program Overview

If you are interested in a Dermatology Shapiro project listed below or if you would like to discuss a project proposal with a Dermatology faculty member, please complete the Dermatology Shapiro Scholar Interest Survey.

The deadline to submit the survey to register your interest in a project with the Department of Dermatology is December 15, 2023.

Once submitted, an administrative staff member will communicate your response to the Dermatology Shapiro Scholar Selection Committee. The committee will meet in December for review. If selected, a faculty member will reach out to discuss a potential mentoring relationship.

If approved, your mentor will work with you to ensure submission of your Shapiro proposal to SMPH by the deadline of March 3, 2024.

Dermatology Shapiro students are invited to departmental lectures and seminars for the duration of their project. Students have the opportunity to present their project to the department at the end of the summer.

Application & Submission Timeline

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  • Faculty projects posted on Shapiro Scholars website
  • Dermatology faculty projects posted on this page


  • Medical students submit interest via Dermatology Shapiro Scholars Survey


  • Dermatology Shapiro Scholar Selection Committee meets to review student proposals
  • Medical students are informed whether they have been selected to proceed
  • Medical students work on student proposals with mentors prior to submission


  • Students submit proposals to SMPH Shapiro Program
  • Proposals reviewed by SMPH Student Research Committee


  • Proposal decisions announced


  • Shapiro Summer Research Program


  • Student presents their summer research to the Department of Dermatology


  • Student presents their summer research at the Medical Student Research Forum

Dermatology Projects for Summer 2024

Role of SERPINB4 in cutaneous melanoma (2024)

Project Track: Basic Science
Program Year: Summer 2024
Faculty Mentor: Nihal Ahmad, PhD (view profile |, Professor of Dermatology & Vice Chair for Research
Co-Menter: Gagan Chhabra, PhD (view profile |, Scientist
Skills Required: 

Student’s Role: Student will work in the project and study the role and functional significance of SERPINB4 in melanoma. Depending on the skills and interests, student will be involved in cell culture techniques of human melanoma cell lines, cell cycle analysis, clonogenic survival, invasion and migration assays, as well as RT-qPCR and Simple Western techniques for gene and protein expression analyses.

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Project Description

Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer that can metastasize to become lethal if not diagnosed early. While immunotherapies have drastically improved melanoma treatment, most of the patients fail to achieve durable tumor regression and demonstrate metastasis and recurrence due to drug resistance. Thus, new mechanism-based approaches are urgently required for melanoma management. Novel immune-related targets hold promise to improve melanoma treatment and patient survival. Using the bioinformatics approach, we previously identified key immune-related molecules that are differentially expressed in metastatic melanoma and have a significant correlation with patient survival. Further, employing multiple melanoma cell lines we found that SERPINB4 (Squamous Cell Carcinoma Antigen 2 or SCCA2), a serine protease inhibitor, is significantly overexpressed in melanoma and enhanced cell proliferation. However, the exact role and immune-related mechanisms associated with SERPINB4 are not known in melanoma. Interestingly, SERPINB4 has been shown to regulate the host immune response against tumor cells by inhibiting granzyme M (GrM) activity. In this project, we will determine the effects of forced overexpression and knockout of SERPINB4 in multiple melanoma cell lines. Specifically, we will determine the effects of SERPINB4 modulation on colony formation, cell cycle, migration, and invasion as well as on markers of proliferation and survival. In addition, we will determine the immune evasion mechanisms of SERPINB4 against GrM-induced cell death.

To Heal
To Educate
To Discover

Our Mission