Tiffany Scharschmidt, MD

Assistant Professor
Department of Dermatology
Research Overview: 

Maintaining healthy dialogue between our immune system and our commensal microbes is fundamental to human health. My lab studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate the adaptive immune response to commensal bacteria, with a focus on early life events and the skin as an important barrier tissue.

Colonization by commensal microbes, education of the adaptive immune system and establishment of immune tolerance to skin commensal bacteria all occur perinatally when the host-commensal relationship is first established. Dissecting mechanisms that promote a healthy adaptive immune response to skin commensals will inform our understanding of skin immune homeostasis and potentially identify new treatment opportunities for inflammatory skin conditions in which the host-commensal relationship is disrupted.

 Ongoing research in our group aims to:

  1. Define host pathways and immune cell populations that facilitate establishment of adaptive immune tolerance to skin commensals
  2. Identify commensal-derived molecules that influence the development and function of adaptive immune cell populations in the skin
  3. Elucidate how skin-specific structures, such as hair follicles, and the integrity of the skin barrier influence host-commensal dialogue in this tissue

Our scientific approach capitalizes on genetic manipulation of skin commensal bacteria, transcriptional profiling of both host and microbial cells and in vivo models to dissect the antigen-specific immune response to skin commensal organisms.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Virology & Microbial Pathogenesis
Research Summary: 
Immune mechanisms that support host-commensal symbiosis



Skin Dysbiosis Goes "Off-Leish".

Cell host & microbe

Scharschmidt TC

A vitamin to D-crease sunburn.

Science translational medicine

Scharschmidt TC

Regulatory T Cells in Skin Facilitate Epithelial Stem Cell Differentiation.


Ali N, Zirak B, Rodriguez RS, Pauli ML, Truong HA, Lai K, Ahn R, Corbin K, Lowe MM, Scharschmidt TC, Taravati K, Tan MR, Ricardo-Gonzalez RR, Nosbaum A, Bertolini M, Liao W, Nestle FO, Paus R, Cotsarelis G, Abbas AK, Rosenblum MD

Commensal Microbes and Hair Follicle Morphogenesis Coordinately Drive Treg Migration into Neonatal Skin.

Cell host & microbe

Scharschmidt TC, Vasquez KS, Pauli ML, Leitner EG, Chu K, Truong HA, Lowe MM, Sanchez Rodriguez R, Ali N, Laszik ZG, Sonnenburg JL, Millar SE, Rosenblum MD

When TLRs fail, IgG has your back.

Science translational medicine

Scharschmidt TC