John E. Harris, MD, PhD: The Current State of Vitiligo and Alopecia Areata Research

September 15, 2021
Armand Butera

Armand Butera is the assistant editor for HCPLive. He attended Fairleigh Dickinson University and graduated with a degree in communications with a concentration in journalism. Prior to graduating, Armand worked as the editor-in-chief of his college newspaper and a radio host for WFDU. He went on to work as a copywriter, freelancer, and human resources assistant before joining HCPLive. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, traveling with his companion and spinning vinyl records. Email him at

In this episode of Derm Discussions, vitiligo expert John Harris, MD, PhD, discusses new tactics and therapeutic options in treating inflammatory skin disorders like vitiligo, alopecia areata, and atopic dermatitis.

Vitiligo, much like other inflammatory skin disorders such as alopecia areata and atopic dermatitis, is a complex condition with various physical and psychological burdens, affecting 1% to 2% of the global population.

For roughly 15 years, John E. Harris, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Dermatology, Founding Director, Vitiligo Clinic and Research Center, has been intensely studying the pathogenesis of vitiligo, as well as potential treatments.

Harris initially studied type 1 diabetes when he was a student, but an encounter with a patient with vitiligo inspired him to become a dermatologist. In time, he became one of the most prominent vitiligo experts, whose skills are used daily at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) in Worcester, MA.

In this interview with Dr. Brad Glick, Harris provided insight into his decades of research on inflammatory skin disorder including vitiligo and alopecia areata. He also offered an in-depth analysis on the most recent data surrounding the conditions, and promising new therapies involving topical steroids, JAK inhibitors and more.