2023 Aaron Lerner Lectureship Recipient


Dr. David E. Fisher is honored with the PASPCR
2023 Aaron Lerner Lectureship

About the award

The Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. has generously provided support for a special lectureship to acknowledge outstanding contributors to the field of pigment cell research. The award is named after Dr. Aaron B. Lerner (1920-2007), who was an expert in vitiligo and who led the isolation of melatonin and melanocyte stimulating hormone.

About Dr. David Fisher, by Dr. John D'Orazio

Colleagues, I am happy to remind the PASPCR that my former post-doc mentor David Fisher, MD, PhD, was awarded the Aaron B. Lerner Lectureship at this year’s IPCC meeting in Bilbao Spain.  



David is an active and outstanding researcher who has made numerous and significant impacts on the field of pigment cell research.  David is the Edward Wigglesworth Professor of Dermatology, the Chair of the Department of Dermatology and the Director of the Melanoma Program and the Cutaneous Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.  David has made many groundbreaking research discoveries that fundamentally changed our understanding of melanocytes and skin biology.  



Among his many seminal research discoveries, he established microphthalmia (Mitf) as a master melanocyte differentiation transcription factor, defined the melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH)-mediated UV-induced damage pathway of melanogenesis in the skin, established pheomelanin as procarcinogenic, and uncovered a link between UV exposure and beta-endorphin-mediated addictive behavior.  His lab generated an immunohistochemical reagent that is used worldwide for melanoma diagnosis. 



As much as David has succeeded as a researcher, he is also a gifted clinician, mentor and family man.  He is the “complete package” in my opinion – a tremendous teacher, a generous mentor, active in the community, beloved by his wife and children, and an accomplished musician (cello).  He remains a wonderful role model for me and many other past and present trainees.  



His expertise in melanoma and skin biology has been recognized by invitations to provide reviews or perspectives in the journals Cell, Science, Nature, and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). He has published approximately 300 scholarly articles, many of which in the most respected journals. He has received numerous awards and given many distinguished lectures throughout the world. David recently served for three years as President of the Society for Melanoma Research.



The Lerner award is named for Aaron B. Lerner, the long-time Chair of Dermatology at Yale University.  Dr. Lerner was a fierce advocate for research and was hailed for his tremendous mentorship to dozens of trainees and junior faculty.  With innate curiosity, concern for the field and a drive for discovery, David Fisher clearly is cut from the same mold, and PASPCR was honored to name him the 2023 Aaron B. Lerner awardee.  

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