Institute of Trichologists bids fond farewell to Vice President Professor Desmond Tobin and looks forward to welcoming Dr Claire Higgins to the role

Julu 2021

After many years of working with the Institute of Trichologists, very generously sharing his research and knowledge with members and serving as Vice President, esteemed professor Desmond Tobin is stepping down and “making way” for Dr Claire Higgins, who will take over the position on 1st August 2021.

As such, The Institute of Trichologists – the leading professional association for trichologists in the world, and the largest trichology training provider in Europe – has issued a public “thank you” to Professor Tobin for his commitment to the role and for supporting the IoT.

Chair, Eva Proudman, comments; “The Institute would like to thank Professor Tobin profoundly for his contribution to the IoT. It has been a difficult year for the industry and he has supported us through it successfully. We wish him all the best for all his future endeavours.

“The IOT is now so pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Higgins to the position of Vice President and is excited to see what progress can be made under her tenure. We have every faith that she will bring valuable qualities to the role and look forward to the future of the Institute.”

As a highly revered Full Professor of Dermatological Sciences at University College Dublin School of Medicine & Director of the Charles Institute for Dermatology at University College Dublin, Professor Tobin has enjoyed a distinguished career in dermatology and trichology. He was previously Professor of Cell Biology and Director of the Centre for Skin Sciences at the University of Bradford and has held post-training and Junior Faculty positions at New York University Medical School’s Department of Dermatology. His qualifications include a BSc from the National University of Ireland (Maynooth) and a PhD from the University of London (St John’s Institute of Dermatology).

Over the past 25 years, Professor Tobin 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.

Significantly, 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 also the first to establish melanocytes from the human hair follicles in long-term culture.

In recognition of his outstanding work, Professor Tobin will shortly be made a Fellow of University College Dublin, which is a very rare and high honour.

The Institute is now delighted to announce Dr Claire Higgins as its next Vice President. An experienced Lecturer in Bioengineering at Imperial College London, Dr Higgins has had an esteemed career to date, with her research currently focusing on understanding mechanisms of tissue development, and regeneration, both in normal conditions, and in response to disease or injury.

She joined Imperial after postdoctoral training in the Department of Dermatology at Columbia University in New York.  At Columbia she received a Career Development Award from the Dermatology Foundation to research the ‘Molecular basis of human hair follicle induction’. Dr Higgins obtained a PhD in Skin Developmental Biology from Durham University in 2007 and holds a B.Sc. in Natural Sciences.

Professor Desmond Tobin comments; “I have really enjoyed my time as Vice President at the Institute of Trichologists. It has been really rewarding to oversee the activities of the Institute for the past few years alongside my other commitments, as I am dedicated to upholding the high standards and high-quality training and practises of the IOT.

“It is now time for a new challenge, but I know I am leaving the role in the more than capable hands of Dr Claire Higgins. I thank the Institute for the opportunity and for all that it has taught me.”

Dr Claire Higgins adds; “I am thrilled to be taking on the role of Vice President at the Institute of Trichologists. It will be a fantastic experience and I really look forward to putting forward new ideas, progressing the Institute and fulfilling all the responsibilities that come with the role. I am very grateful to the Institute for choosing me for the position and I can’t wait to get started.”

The IoT’s Collaboration with the World Trichology Society 

February 2021

Chair of the Institute Eva Proudman is delighted to announce her 2021 membership to the World Trichology Society.

On behalf of the IOT, Eva is proud to be working with Dr David Kingsley on the first Trichology World Congress, and has been asked to host the next World Congress in the UK.

This collaboration between the IOT and WTS will show how Working Together makes us Stronger in the development of Trichology worldwide.

CARF’s CCCA Virtual Support Group Meetings (UK) 

November 2020


Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia, known as CCCA is a permanent, progressive central hair loss condition primarily found in black women.

For those women who have this condition, a new CCCA support group is being formed in the UK in partnership with the Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation (CARF), and is the first international group to exist outside of the US.

Support groups are a great opportunity to connect within the scarring alopecia community allowing patients to express themselves in the safety of a group that understands and where they can share ideas and tips with each other. It will be a unique and inspirational opportunity to network with other patients and to understand more about the condition.

The support group will meet 4 times a year beginning in January 2021. There is NO FEE to attend these meetings which will be online so please pass on these details to anyone you think may benefit from attending.

The group leader is Certified Trichologist Lorna Jones who is joined by Dermatologist, Dr Sharon Belmo who is the Medical Advisor for this group.

The dates of the meetings for next year are as follows:

  • 7pm Tuesday 12 January 2021
  • 7pm Tuesday 13 April 2021
  • 7pm Tuesday 13 July 2021
  • 7pm Tuesday 12 October 2021


For further information or to join the group, please email or contact CARF at

Professor Vicky Jolliffe MA (Cantab), FRCP, FRCS(Ed), MRCGP, ARCM

January 2019

We are delighted to share more fantastic news about another of our members in sending out congratulations to Dr Vicky Jolliffe who is a dermatologist local to London.

Dr Jolliffe was made a Professor of Postgraduate Medical Education in 2018.

She said that she was delighted about the above and at the same time was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship in recognition of her work in creating flexible global teaching resources with her team.

We wish Professor Jolliffe all the best and look forward to more of her lectures in the future.

Professor Desmond Tobin BSc. PhD FRCPath, FIBol, FIT

November 2018

We are delighted to share with the public and congratulate our Vice President Professor Desmond Tobin in being appointed the new Director of the UCD Charles Institute of Dermatology and Professor of Dermatological Sciences. The role commenced in September 2018 and joins the School as UCD Professor of Dermatological Sciences.

Essentially, the Charles Institute of Dermatology, Dublin ( is a University-based institute that is the first Institute of Dermatology in Ireland. The focus of this new role will be on skin health and disease, though he hopes to continue with some hair research also there.

After 22 very enjoyable years in Britain as Professor of Cell Biology and Director of the Centre for Skin Sciences at University of Bradford, he aims to maintain close links via an honorary visiting research chair position there, and via his continued roles with the IoT and the BSID.

For more information please read;

We would like to congratulate Prof Tobin once again and wish him the very best in his new position.