Robert L. Modlin, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University, received his medical degree at the New York University School of Medicine, was a pediatrics intern at NYU, and a dermatology resident at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California School of Medicine. Dr. Modlin’s primary research mentor is Barry R. Bloom, although the training has been unofficial, it began in 1983 by telephone and fedex, then continued by fax and email. Since 1990, Dr. Modlin has been at UCLA, presently as the Klein Professor of Dermatology, Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, Chief of the Division of Dermatology and Vice Chair for cutaneous medicine and dermatologic research in the Department of Medicine.
Dr. Modlin’s interest in leprosy began during his dermatology residency at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center, learning from Dr. Thomas Rea. The goal of his research is centered on the study of leprosy as a model to learn about mechanisms of host defense in humans. As such, Dr. Modlin’s laboratory has made fundamental insights into T cell subsets, cytokine patterns, antigen presentation, innate immunity and antimicrobial mechanisms in the human immune response to infection. He has been awarded three patents for this research. Dr. Modlin has published over 180 articles, including 13 papers in Science and Nature, and 4 in Nature Medicine. The Modlin lab’s manuscript identifying distinct T cell cytokine profiles in leprosy lesions has been cited over 1000 times. An exciting recent discovery is the elucidation of the mechanism by which vitamin D subsets contributes to innate immunity against tuberculosis in humans, providing a rationale for therapeutic intervention. Dr. Modlin received the Montagna Award for outstanding young investigator from the Society for Investigative Dermatology and has given the Sulzberger lectureship of the American Academy of Dermatology. He received a merit award from the National Institutes of Health for his research on Toll-like receptors. Dr. Modlin is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians. He has served as Deputy Editor for the Journal of Immunology, as well as being a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Infection and Immunity and Immunology. Dr. Modlin has served on the Society for Investigative Dermatology Board of Directors.