Susan Gibbs, Netherlands

Professor of Skin and Mucosa Regenerative Medicine (ACTA Oral Cell Biology, VUMC Dermatology). Short

Prof. Dr Sue Gibbs studied human biochemistry and physiology at Sheffield University, England and went on to obtain her PhD in 1991 at the Department of Molecular Genetics, Leiden University. Her entire career has focused on human skin and oral mucosa biology, and in particular in animal alternative methods to develop novel therapeutic strategies for treating and preventing human disease. As a Postdoc in LUmc (1993), the development of ‘in vivo like’ human skin and oral mucosa equivalents were her major interest. She became head of the Dermatology Laboratory, VUmc in 2001. This position opened the opportunity to expand the research on tissue engineered skin for human clinical wound healing and in vitro alternatives for animal tests. In 2005, she participated and co-managed the European Sixth Framework project “Sens-it-iv” which focused on novel testing strategies for in vitro assessment of allergens.  In 2006, she co-founded and became Chief Scientific Officer of the VU University Medical Centre spin-off company A-Skin Nederland B.V. in order to develop the clinical and in vitro assay potential of her animal alternative technologies. In July 2012, Prof Gibbs’ leading position in the field of skin tissue engineering was be awarded with the Fenna Diemer-Lindeboom chair as Professor of Skin and Mucosa Regenerative Medicine aimed at promoting female scientific talent.  This unique position is jointly supported by the VU University Medical Centre and the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA). In 2015, she received the national ‘’Lef in the Lab’’ prize by the Dutch Animal Protection society for her immune competent skin-on-chip project which has the potential to provide a personalized medicine approach to treating cancer

Currently more than 100 patients with ulcers have been treated with a full thickness skin substitute, 40 patients with 3rd degree burns with cultured keratinocytes and 3 patients with a full thickness oral gingiva substitute.  Prof. Gibbs is co-author of >100 peer reviewed publications, and is involved in numerous national and international projects which aim to combine cutting-edge research in stem cell biology and immunology with advances in tissue engineering to improve existing and create novel regenerative medical treatments. Current focus lies with developing immune competent skin and oral mucosa tissue engineered constructs to understand the physiology of chronic wounds and adverse scar formation (keloids, hypertrophic scars) and to understand similarities and differences between allergic and irritant contact dermatitis with the aim of identifying novel drug targets and personalized as well as general therapeutic strategies. Recently, her research has extended into the field of hair follicles and importantly ‘’organ-on-a-chip’’, in particular immune competent ‘’skin-on-a-chip’’, which has the potential to provide a personalized medicine approach to treating cancer.