James T. Elder, MD, PhD

James T. Elder, MD, PhD

Kirk D. Wuepper Professor of Molecular Genetic Dermatology
Director, Training Program in Cell and Molecular Dermatology

University of Michigan
Department of Dermatology
7412A Medical Science Building I
1301 E. Catherine St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5675

Administrative Contact

Academic office:
Kathleen Hayes | (734) 647-8070 | kmhayes@med.umich.edu


Michigan Medicine | Medical Dermatology clinics: (734) 936-4054


Named in 2008 as the Kirk D. Wuepper Professor of Molecular Genetic Dermatology, Dr. Elder received his MD and his PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, from Yale University. Dr. Elder completed an Internal Medicine Internship and a Dermatology Residency and Fellowship at the University of Washington. He is board-certified in Dermatology. Following his residency, Dr. Elder completed a Senior Research Fellowship at the University of Michigan. In addition to his clinical duties, Dr. Elder directs a large and active research laboratory at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Elder's laboratory utilizes tools of molecular biology and genetics to better understand several human skin diseases. Dr. Elder's lab is a world leader in the use of genetic linkage and association techniques to learn more about how the immune system activates the epidermal wound healing mechanism in psoriasis, and triggers joint destruction in psoriatic arthritis. In 2006, his laboratory identified HLA-Cw6 as the disease allele at PSORS1, the major psoriasis susceptibility locus in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). His current efforts in this area are focused on identification of psoriasis susceptibility genes outside the MHC, with nine loci confirmed thus far. His laboratory also has a long-standing interest in the role of the EGF receptor (also known as ErbB1) as an activation signal for epidermal wound healing and carcinogenesis. Active projects in this area are exploring the roles of autocrine EGF-like growth factors in psoriasis, wound healing and cancer. Finally, Dr. Elder's laboratory has also identified somatic mutations in melanocytic nevi and melanomas of varying degrees of progression.


  • Doctor of Medicine (MD), Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 1981
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, The Graduate School of Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1982
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 1982
  • Transitional Year Intern, Internal Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, 1983
  • Senior Fellow in Dermatology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 1986
  • Senior Research Fellow in Dermatology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1988


  • American Board of Dermatology Certification

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