Adolescent skin disorders

At a glance

Investigating the effects of atopic dermatitis and acne on mental health

Lead researcher

Dr Lavinia Paternoster


University of Bristol


Awarded and preparing to start

Amount awarded


Last updated



Dr Lavinia Paternoster, from the University of Bristol, is exploring the impact of atopic dermatitis on adolescents' mental health and neurodevelopment.

Dr Lavinia Paternoster Dr Lavinia Paternoster

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is one of the most common forms of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry and cracked.

Adolescents with AD or acne often find their skin conditions are causing mental health or neurodevelopmental complications.

Several studies have shown associations between these skin disorders and such outcomes. However, it has not been established yet whether the skin conditions are causing these outcomes, or whether there are other explanations or confounding factors.

With this funding, Dr Lavinia Paternoster and her team will use a statistical technique called Mendelian Randomization, which uses genetic data to determine if observed relationships have a causal mechanism.

Investigators on this grant have led recent large-scale international studies to identify genetic risk factors for AD and acne. In this study, that data will be used together with other large genomic datasets to determine if (and how) the experience of AD or acne can lead to mental health and neurodevelopmental complications.

This research will help inform how the management of dermatology patients impacts on other health outcomes and will provide insight into biological mechanisms which might serve as future drug targets, or determine if existing treatments contribute to the observed relationship.

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