Jennifer Schoch, MD
University of Florida
Though the cause of eczema is yet unknown, animal studies suggest importance of the early interaction between bacteria present on the skin and the immune system. If bacteria are present on the skin of mice shortly after birth, then the immune system learns to “tolerate” the bacteria, and doesn’t create inflammation (i.e. eczema) when later exposed to the bacteria. To explore the possibility of a similar human mechanism, we will collect skin microbiome samples (including bacterial genetic material) from infants weekly for the first 4 weeks of life. The bacteria found on the skin in infants who later develop infantile eczema will be compared to infants who do not develop eczema. We hypothesize that specific bacteria (e.g. Staphylococcus) will be more abundant in the early skin microbiome of infants who do not develop eczema, compared to infants who do develop eczema. Successful completion will guide strategies to prevent eczema.
This study was funded through the 2021 Childhood Eczema Challenge Grant.