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Croeso i Gymru Professor Vincent Piguet - Welcome to Wales!

Helen Pugsley - Clinical Teacher of the Year

In August 2010 we welcomed Professor Vincent Piguet to the post of Head of Department of Dermatology & Wound Healing, replacing Professor Andrew Finlay who retired last year.

Vincent Piguet obtained his medical degree from the University of Geneva and trained as a research associate in virology at the Salk institute for biological studies in San Diego in the US. Upon his return to Switzerland, he obtained an MD and PhD in biology (virology) from the University of Geneva. He then joined the Department of Dermatology and Venereology in Geneva for clinical training, and obtained his board certification in Dermatology and Venerology (FMH Dermatology and Venereology). He was a faculty member of the Medical School of the University of Geneva and a clinical consultant at the Dermatology Department of the University Hospital of Geneva from 2003-2010.

His laboratory there, with a joint affiliation in the Department of Dermatology and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, focused on pathogens mucosal transmission (HIV), dendritic cells and other aspects related to skin immunology. He also has active research programs in the field of melanoma, cutaneous lymphoma and intradermal vaccination, funded by national and international agencies.

He has authored over 60 publications in the fields of dermatology, dendritic cells, HIV, gene therapy, immunology, vaccination, including publications in Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Medicine, The Lancet, the Journal of Experimental Medicine and the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Prof Piguet’s appointment to the department is significant as he is accompanied by an impressive reputation. He is currently president of the European Society for Dermatology Research (ESDR), the largest investigative dermatology society in Europe, an honour formerly held by another of our department heads - Professor Ronnie Marks. He is also on the Editorial Board of several journals, including the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the leading journal in the dermatology field.

Prof Piguet was drawn to Wales, and specifically Cardiff, not just because of the reputation of the diploma courses but also because the Department of Dermatology & Wound Healing at Cardiff University is almost unique among departments in that it has all the elements required to be successful - an excellent educational reputation, access to an outstanding clinical team and world-class research facilities all supported by a dedicated team of administrators and technologists. Prof Piguet plans to build on these strengths to make sure we continue to stay ahead of the competition.

Educationally, Prof Piguet would like to continue with the success of the programmes offered by the department, but is also looking to expand into other areas of interest such as lasers and cosmetic dermatology. Clinically, the dermatology section literally sits on top of a very strong clinical team (ground to second floor in Glamorgan House where we are based is NHS Dermatology and the third floor is Cardiff University Dermatology) with experts in surgery, occupational and contact dermatology. As for research, we are currently involved in clinical trials on biologics, melanoma and acne, to name but a few. With his strong immunology background, Prof Piguet has well developed plans to strengthen research. The department is lucky to have brand new laboratory space in the Henry Wellcome Building and Cancer Genetics Building at the University Hospital which is a major achievement as dermatology is not well represented in highly regarded research facilities such as these.

On a personal level, Prof Piguet has been settling in well to the Welsh way of life, although driving on the left has been somewhat of a challenge. He says Wales is a hidden pearl in Europe and its landscapes could compete with the Swiss - high praise indeed! We hope you’ll be very happy here!