Youwen Zhou

Degrees / Designations 


Email Address 
Mailing Address 
The Skin Care Centre 835 West 10th Ave Vancouver, BC V5Z 4E8 Canada


Academic Appointment 
Body Locations and Systems 
Other Areas of Research 
Novel therapeutics; clinical trials

Dr. Zhou is a dermatology physician scientist, specializing in the treatment and research of vitiligo, melasma, dermatitis and alopecia areata. His current research is on the development of novel therapeutic solutions for these and other skin diseases, capitalizing on the novel discoveries made by his research team. Dr Zhou has published more than 100 articles in journals such as Nature, Cell, Nature Genetics, and Blood. His team has invented multiple diagnostic tests and new therapies for skin diseases. Dr Zhou is the past president of Canadian Society of Investigative Dermatology, and the Scientific Chair of Canadian Dermatology Foundation. Dr Zhou has received multiple national and international awards, including the Henry Fok Award in Medicine, and the Outstanding Research Achievement Award from Canadian Dermatology Association.

Current Projects 

1. Metastatic melanoma: Novel extracellular matrix molecules have been identified from metastatic melanoma tissues and cultured cell lines, including collagen-triple-helix-repeat containing protein 1 (CTHRC1) and alpha-1 antichymotrypsin (ACT1). Using in vitro and in vivo models, the contribution of these proteins to melanoma metastasis and mortality is being studied. Novel therapeutic strategies targeting these molecules are currently being studied and evaluated. 2. Mechanism of melanocyte cell death in vitiligo: Vitiligo is the most common depigmentation disease of the skin that affects approximately 1.5% of population worldwide. The mechanism of pathogenesis is unknown. Genomic markers identified in this lab highlight the importance of both autoimmunity and melanocyte development in this disease. The current focus is on the role of NK T cells and tissue microenvironment in the death of melanocytes in this disease. 3. Cutaneous T cell lymphoma and Sezary syndrome: Sezary syndrome is an aggressive form of skin T cell lymphoma that has high mortality. The malignant cells in this disease, the Sezary cells, have been purified and found to contain unique molecular markers. These markers, including T-plastin and SATB1, are studied for their diagnostic value and functional significance in malignant transformation of T lymphocytes. 4. Primary focal hyperhidrosis: Primary focal hyperhidrosis is characterized by uncontrollable perspiration of hands, feet and the underarms. Affecting about 5% of the population worldwide, this condition frequently causes severe negative impact on the psychosocial wellbeing of the affected children and adults. Preliminary research from this laboratory suggests that this condition is an autosomal dominantly inherited disease with manifestations in the skin and in the central nervous system. We are interested in building a clinical database with banking of the blood samples to isolate the gene mutations or polymorphisms that are associated with the development of this disease. The goal is to find a cure for this common genetic condition.