On October 15, 2013, Duke University School of Medicine and the Department of Dermatology dedicated the Pinnell Center for Investigative Dermatology with a scientific symposium, dedication luncheon and memorial service in honor of Dr. Sheldon R. Pinnell. Dr. Pinnell joined Duke Dermatology in 1973 and was the J. Lamar Callaway Professor of Dermatology and Chief of Dermatology at Duke from 1982 to 1997. Dr. Pinnell was an internationally eminent scientist, dermatologist and educator who made pivotal discoveries in the understanding of the biology of collagen in the skin and the critical role of vitamin C. He did groundbreaking research into the mechanisms behind a number of genetic diseases, including Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and uncovered some of the processes by which sun exposure damages the skin. His work led to the development of treatments using vitamin C and topical antioxidants to help protect and repair skin from sun damage and other oxidative stress. Dr. Pinnell was a visionary leader who taught generations of students and guided the Division of Dermatology through a period of great growth and prominence that culminated in 2009 with he establishment of the Department of Dermatology. "Sheldon's contributions to Duke and to dermatological science and education were tremendous," said Victor J. Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs, Duke University and CEO of the Duke University Health System. "We are proud to honor his legacy with the creation of the Pinnell Center for Investigative Dermatology, and I look forward to the continued advancements in dermatology that will come about through this initiative."
The center will be funded initially with an endowment established by Pinnell and his wife, Doren. Russell Hall, MD, chair of the Department of Dermatology, said additional funding will be needed to maintain and grow the center. "Our vision for the Sheldon Pinnell Center is for it to be a place where the qualities that he embodied - scientific curiosity, and infectious enthusiasm, and a dedication to discovery - will reign," Hall said. "It will provide an environment for discovery across a broad range of ideas. We intend for it to provide support to develop new investigators and new ideas; to be a catalyst for translational and transformative science in skin biology."
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