At the Royal North Shore Hospital Department of Dermatology Clinical and Translational Medicine Laboratory, we focus on three key areas including clinical trials, clinical projects and translational studies.

It can take more than 30 years from the discovery of a new medicine in the laboratory to the approved use of that compound with a patient in a clinic. It can then be another decade before that medicine is widely adopted by the medical community.

Our research team accelerates this entire process in three important ways. Firstly, by being actively involved in clinical trials, we can offer our patients immediate access to the latest and most advanced medicines.

Secondly, we conduct clinical studies to improve our understanding of the use of existing and new medicines, alongside projects to improve the early diagnosis and recognition of diseases.

And lastly, we perform laboratory experiments, with a focus on clinical observation and human tissues to better understand the causes of these conditions.

Ultimately, this means we are able to contribute to the discovery of new and targeted therapies for all dermatological conditions.

Prof Gayle Fischer OAM A/Prof Gayle Fischer OAM

Associate Professor
Dermatology, Northern Clinical School
Head of Department

Professor Gayle Fischer is the Royal North Shore Hospital Head of Department of Dermatology, and an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, Discipline of Dermatology. Her research interests are vulval disease, paediatric dermatology and medical education. She runs a vulval disease and paediatric dermatology service at Royal North Shore Hospital. She has a 20-year career in researching and publishing on the subject of paediatric and vulval disease.


Dr Emma Smith - Clinical Trials Coordinator

Melissa Franklin - Clinical Nurse Consultant

Erin Mewton - Transitional Nurse Practitioner

Dr Isobel Pye – Research Fellow

Clinical Trials:

Our team is part of many clinical trials aiming to bring the latest and most advanced therapies to our patients. To enquire about any of our existing or upcoming trials, please contact our Research Fellow and Clinical Trials Co-ordinator: and

Translational Laboratory:

The purpose of the Royal North Shore Hospital Department of Dermatology Translational Medicine Laboratory is to discover and refine better and accessible therapies through clinically relevant laboratory studies. We aim to be the premier laboratory for dermatology translational studies and for dermatological clinician-scientists to work globally.

We hope that within our lifetimes we will see targeted therapies for all dermatological conditions. We are well placed to achieve this given our talented team, our access to state of the art equipment within the Kolling Institute and the University of Sydney, and our emphasis on clinical observation.

Current Translational Projects:

  1. Cellular and molecular pathophysiology of chronic vulvovaginal candidiasis (CVVC).
    The lifetime risk of a woman developing CVVC is as high as 5%. CVVC is continuous and unremitting, and its causes are poorly understood. With our clinical observation that post-menopausal women who have commenced hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are significantly more likely to develop CVVC (49% vs 1%), we are investigating the intrinsic cellular, molecular, and proteomic changes that occur during HRT, to understand why these women are at a higher risk of developing chronic vulvovaginal candidiasis

  2. Targeting synaptic gating with piloerection and frisson to ameliorate pruritus.
    Pruritus (itch) is the flagship symptom of many dermatological, oncological, and chronic systemic conditions, however unlike pain, there are currently no targeted therapies for pruritus. There are both central and peripheral, inflammatory and neurogenic, mediators of pruritus, and we have observed clinically that patients who experience frisson-associated goosebumps no longer have itch symptoms. We aim to determine how to pharmacologically target piloerection and frisson to treat pruritus.

To enquire about any of our existing or upcoming translational studies, please contact our Research Fellow:

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