Faces of Yale Dermatology

Meet Dr. Oscar Colegio

Dr. Oscar Colegio

Dr. Colegio is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Yale School of Medicine where his clinical practice and research is focused on immunodeficiency-associated skin cancers and skin disorders associated with solid organ transplantation.

Solid organ transplant recipients are at a 65 to 100-fold increased risk for developing skin cancers, primarily squamous cell carcinomas. Further, the skin cancers that develop in transplant recipients are not only greater in number but are more aggressive. To address this significant problem, the Yale Transplant Dermatology Clinic was created in 2007. The goal of the Transplant Dermatology Clinic is to provide early identification and prompt treatment of skin cancers. Dr. Colegio conducts careful skin cancer screenings on transplant recipients on a routine schedule that is determined by an individual’s risk factors.

In addition to an increase in skin cancers, more than 70% of solid organ transplant recipients will experience non-malignant, drug-induced skin changes. Common side effects include acne, hair loss, excess hair growth, oral ulcers, skin infections, and the development of benign skin lesions such as sebaceous hyperplasia. Dr. Colegio is trained in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of skin cancers and benign skin changes commonly encountered after transplantation. To provide integrated care of all skin changes that develop after transplantation, Dr. Colegio works closely with members of the Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center in a multidisciplinary approach.

Dr. Colegio also conducts laboratory research in the field of cancer immunology. The focus of these studies has been to characterize pathways of tumorigenesis critical to a variety of tumor types including melanoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Specifically, Dr. Colegio is characterizing the interaction between skin cancers and cells of the innate immune system called macrophages. Clinical evidence has demonstrated that as the number of macrophages increases in most types of tumors, including squamous cell carcinomas, the clinical outcome worsens. Early scientific research suggests that macrophages may induce metastasis. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms resulting in these observations have yet to be determined and are the focus of his laboratory investigations. Dr. Colegio is a Scholar of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation and is supported by the Yale SPORE in Skin Cancer and the Dermatology Foundation.

Dr. Colegio is a member of several professional organizations related to his clinical and research interests. He is a member of the International Transplant Skin Cancer Collaborative, where he serves on the Board of Directors and is the Director of the Committee for Research, and the Society for Investigative Dermatology, where he serves on the Committee for Translational Research.