UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Laura Korb Ferris, MD, PhD

Laura Korb Ferris
Associate Professor of Dermatology


Contact Information

Contact Information

3708 Fifth Avenue
Fifth Floor, Suite 500.68
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Phone: 412-647-4200
Email: ferrislk@upmc.edu
Fax: 412-647-4137

Research Keywords

Research Keywords

Melanoma; dermatoscope; early detection; screening

Research Summary

Research Summary

Melanoma is a deadly cancer when caught late yet is a surgically curable disease when detected and treated at the earliest stages. Fortunately, most melanomas begin on the skin, and thus we have the opportunity to detect them using visual examination. However, early detection of melanoma can be challenging even for the most experienced dermatologists. This can lead to failure to detect melanoma when it is most treatable or to a high rate of removal of benign lesions. Both increase health care costs and put patients at risk. My research focuses on new techniques to improve the early detection of cutaneous melanoma. Computer vision technology can be applied to the analysis of specialized images of pigmented skin lesions taken using a handheld instrument called a dermatoscope. We are studying ways to use the objective, analytical power of the computer to take a dermatoscopic image of a pigmented skin lesion and rapidly quantify features such as symmetry, size, and color distribution. The system can then compare a lesion that has not been biopsied to a database of images from lesions for which a diagnosis has been made using histopathology following removal (the gold standard for diagnosis of melanoma and other skin lesions) to aid the user in making a decision of whether or not to biopsy. In addition, I am interested in understanding which patients benefit most from screening for melanoma and have several publications that examine melanoma epidemiology, detection patterns, and associations between melanoma screening and outcomes.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

  • Wolf JA, Moreau JF, Patton TJ, Winger DG, Ferris LK. Prevalence and impact of health-related internet and smartphone use among dermatology patients. Cutis. 2015;95(6):323-8. PubMed Link
  • Krueger JG, Ferris LK, Menter A, Wagner F, White A, Visvanathan S, Lalovic B, Aslanyan S, Wang EE, Hall D, Solinger A, Padula S, Scholl P. Anti-IL-23A mAb BI 655066 for treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis: Safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and biomarker results of a single-rising-dose, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015;136(1):116-124. PubMed Link
  • Gerami P, Cook RW, Russell MC, Wilkinson J, Amaria RN, Gonzalez R, Lyle S, Jackson GL, Greisinger AJ, Johnson CE, Oelschlager KM, Stone JF, Maetzold DJ, Ferris LK, Wayne JD, Cooper C, Obregon R, Delman KA, Lawson D. Gene expression profiling for molecular staging of cutaneous melanoma in patients undergoing sentinel lymph node biopsy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;72(5):780-5. PubMed Link
  • Werner CA, Papic MJ, Ferris LK, Schwarz EB. Promoting safe use of isotretinoin by increasing contraceptive knowledge. JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(4):389-93. PubMed Link
  • Collins MK, Secrest AM, Ferris LK. Screening for melanoma. Melanoma Res. 2014;24(5):428-36. PubMed Link
  • Cheng MY, Moreau JF, McGuire ST, Ho J, Ferris LK. Melanoma depth in patients with an established dermatologist. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;70(5):841-6. PubMed Link
  • Moreau JF, Weinstock MA, Geller AC, Winger DG, Ferris LK. Individual and ecological factors associated with early detection of nodular melanoma in the United States. Melanoma Res. 2014;24(2):165-71. PubMed Link
  • Wolf J, Ferris LK. Anti-IL-36R antibodies, potentially useful for the treatment of psoriasis: a patent evaluation of WO2013074569. Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2014;24(4):477-9. PubMed Link
  • Moreau JF, Winger DG, Conroy MB, Ferris LK. Predictors of thick and lethal melanoma in white young adults in the United States. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;70(1):198-200. PubMed Link
  • Werner CA, Papic MJ, Ferris LK, Lee JK, Borrero S, Prevost N, Schwarz EB. Women's experiences with isotretinoin risk reduction counseling. JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(4):366-71. PubMed Link

See all pubs (Pubmed)

Department Website









Last modified: 8/21/15