Desmond Tobin is a Full Professor of Dermatological Science at UCD School of Medicine and Director of the Charles Institute of Dermatology, University College Dublin (since Sept 2018).
Previously he was Professor of Cell Biology and Director of the Centre for Skin Sciences at University of Bradford, where is now holds an Honorary Visiting Research Professorship.
Desmond holds a BSc from the National University of Ireland (Maynooth), a PhD from the University of London (St. John’s Institute of Dermatology) and has held post-doctoral training and Junior Faculty positions at New York University Medical School’s Department of Dermatology. Over the past 25 years he has researched in basic and applied skin/hair sciences, with a particular focus on the regulation of hair growth in health and disease especially those conditions with an immune-medicated basis, and on the biology of human melanocytes/pigmentation in health and disease.
He was the first to identify antibodies to hair follicle-specific antigens in patients with acute alopecia areata and is working to identify targeted (auto)antigens in this common condition. He was the first to establish melanocytes from the human hair follicles in long-term culture. He has also identified a ‘self-similarity’ between the POMC peptide system in the human hair follicle pigmentary unit and that of the central stress axis. Specifically, he examined how pigmentation can be regulated by CRF and POMC peptides (incl. beta endorphin), and more recently by bone morphogenetic proteins. Together with others he has revealed an unexpected role for filopodia in melanin transfer under the influence of myoxin-X and cdc42, and of asymmetric organelle distribution post progenitor mitosis in human skin epidermis as the basis of human skin pigmentation.
Des Tobin is a Fellow of Royal College of Pathologists, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, and Fellow of the Institute of Trichologists (Vice-President). He is Chair of the British Society for Investigative Research, and a member of the REF 2021 (UK( Sub-panel 3 (Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy). Des serves(ed) on several editorial boards including Associate Editor of Experimental Dermatology. He has published over 150 publications, incl. 3 books. His H-Index is currently 59 (Scopus, Winter 2019).