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Mehdi Rashighi, MD

Dr. Rashighi is a physician-scientist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) in Worcester, MA. Dr. Rashighi is a member of the Vitiligo Clinic and Research Center, where he sees and treats pediatric and adult patients with vitiligo and other pigmentary disorders referred from all around the world. 

He earned his MD degree at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran. He spent a few years doing clinical research in dermatology before joining Dr. John Harris's vitiligo research laboratory at UMMS in 2011. Using basic and translational approaches, he identified a critical immune pathway involved in vitiligo pathogenesis. This discovery guided successful off-label application of JAK inhibitors as novel targeted treatments in vitiligo, which eventually led to the design and conduct of multiple clinical trials.

Dr. Rashighi entered a residency program in dermatology at UMMS, MA, and upon graduation, established a new clinic and research center focused on treating patients with other autoimmune skin diseases including cutaneous lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, and morphea (localized scleroderma). 

As such, he directs the Connective Tissue Disease Clinic and Research Center at UMMS, where he uses translational and clinical research approaches to better understand autoimmunity in inflammatory skin diseases, with a focus on developing novel targeted treatments. 

Dr. Rashighi has authored multiple research publications and textbook chapters on autoimmune skin diseases and serves as an ad hoc reviewer on multiple research journals, including the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Science Advances, Frontiers in Immunology, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, JAMA Dermatology, and others.

Education:

Medical School: Tehran University of Medical Sciences
Residency: University of Massachusetts Medical School
Research Fellowship: Immunodermatology, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Board Certification: American Board of Dermatology

Leadership Title:

Director, Connective Tissue Disease Clinic & Research Center
 

Specialties and Clinical Interests:

.Autoimmune skin disorders
.Inflammatory skin diseases
.Connective tissue diseases
.Complex medical dermatology

Conditions Treat (Pediatrics and Adults):

.Vitiligo
.Cutaneous lupus erythematosus
.Dermatomyositis (juvenile and adult-onset)
.Localized scleroderma (circumscribed morphea, generalized morphea, linear morphea, en coup de sabre, progressive hemifacial atrophy)
.Eosinophilic fasciitis
.Immune-mediated hair loss (Alopecia Areata, lichen planopilaris, frontal fibrosing alopecia, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia)
.Cutaneous sarcoidosis
.Psoriasis
.Atopic Dermatitis
.Pityriasis rubra pilaris

Additional Languages:

Persian (Farsi)

Professional Memberships:

.American Medical Association
.Society for Investigative Dermatology
.American Academy of Dermatology
.Rheumatologic Dermatology Society
.Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance
.Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance
.International Myositis Assessment & Clinical Studies Group
.CureJM Foundation
.New England Dermatological Society
.Massachusetts Rheumatologic Dermatology Society

Honors and Awards:

.Fellow, American Academy of Dermatology (FAAD), 2019
.Travel Fellowship Award, Naples, U.S., Dermatology Foundation Clinical Symposia, 2019
.Travel Fellowship Award, Vienna, Austria, Inflammatory Skin Disease Summit, 2018
.Travel Fellowship Award, Las Vegas, U.S., Rising Derm Stars, Fall Clinical Dermatology, 2018
.Travel Fellowship Award, Tehran, Iran, Spring Continental Congress of Dermatology, 2018
.Travel Fellowship Award, New York, U.S., Inflammatory Skin Disease Summit, 2016
.Travel Fellowship Award, Edinburgh, Scotland, International Investigative Dermatology, 2014
.Albert M. Kligman Travel Award, Raleigh, U.S., Society for Investigative Dermatology, 2012
.IVLP Travel Fellowship Award, Washington DC, U.S. Department of State, 2006
.Travel Fellowship Award, Washington DC, U.S., Aspen Institute, 2006

Selected Publications

  • Garelli C, Refat AR, Nanaware PP, Ramirez-Ortiz ZG, Rashighi M, Richmond JM. Current Insights in Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Immunopathogenesis. Frontiers in Immunology. 2020 July 2; 11: 1553.
  • Franciosi E, Blankenship K, Houk L, Rashighi M. Ovoid Palatal Patch – A Clue to Anti-TIF1γ Dermatomyositis. BMJ Case Reports. 2020 Apr 23;13(4):e234111.
  • Richmond JM, Strassner JP, Rashighi M, Agarwal P, Garg M, Essien KI, Pell LP, Harris JE. Resident memory and recirculating memory T cells cooperate to maintain disease in a mouse model of vitiligo. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2019 Apr;139(4):769-778. 
  • Rashighi M, Harris JE. Vitiligo Pathogenesis and Emerging Treatments. Dermatologic Clinics. 2017 Apr;35(2):257-265.
  • Rashighi M, Harris JE. Sampling serum in patients with vitiligo to measure disease activity in the skin. JAMA dermatology. 2016 Nov; 152(11): 1187-1188.
  • Rork JF, Rashighi M, Harris JE Understanding autoimmunity of vitiligo and alopecia areata. Current Opinions in Pediatrics. 2016 Aug; 28(4): 463-469.
  • Rashighi M, Harris JE. Serum chemokines herald disease activity and treatment response in vitiligo patients. British Journal of Dermatology. 2016 Jun; 174(6): 1190-1191.
  • Strassner JP, Rashighi M, Harris JE. Melanocytes in psoriasis: convicted culprit or bullied bystander? Journal Pigment cell & melanoma research. 2016 May; 29(3): 261-263
  • Harris JE, Rashighi M, Nguyen N, Jabbari A, Ulerio G, Clynes R, Christiano AM, Mackay-Wiggan J. Rapid skin repigmentation on oral ruxolitinib in a patient with coexistent vitiligo and alopecia areata (AA). Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2016 Feb; 74(2): 370-371.
  • Rashighi M, Harris JE. Interfering with the IFN-γ/CXCL10 pathway to develop new targeted treatments for vitiligo. Annals of translational medicine. 2015 Dec; 3(21): 343.
  • Agarwal P, Rashighi M, Essien KI, Richmond JM, Randall L, Pazoki-Toroudi H, Hunter CA, Harris JE. Simvastatin prevents and reverses depigmentation in a mouse model of vitiligo. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2015 Apr; 135 (4): 1080-1088.
  • Rashighi M, Agarwal P, Richmond JM, Harris TH, Dresser K, Su MW, Zhou Y, Deng A, Hunter CA, Luster AD, Harris JE. CXCL10 is critical for the progression and maintenance of depigmentation in a mouse model of vitiligo. Science Translational Medicine. 2014 Feb; 6(223): 223ra23.
  • Malhotra N, Narayan K, Cho OH, Sylvia KE, Yin C, Melichar H, Rashighi M, Lefebvre V, Harris JE, Berg LJ, Kang J; Immunological Genome Project Consortium. A network of high-mobility group box transcription factors programs innate interleukin-17 production. Immunity. 2013 Apr; 38(4): 681–693.   
  • Davoudi SM, Keshavarz S, Sadr B, Shohrati M, Naghizadeh MM, Farsinejad K, Rashighi M, Zartab H, Firooz A. Skin hydration and transepidermal water loss in patients with a history of sulfur mustard contact: a case-control study. Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 940(8): 940-944 (2009).
  • Davoudi SM, Behnia F, Gorouhi F, Keshavarz S, Nassiri Kashani M, Rashighi M, Firooz A. Comparison of long-pulsed alexandrite and Nd:YAG lasers, individually and in combination, for leg hair reduction: an assessor-blinded, randomized trial with 18 months of follow-up. Archives of Dermatology. 144(10): 1323-1327 (2008).
  • Firooz A, Gorouhi F, Davari P, Atarod M, Hekmat S, Rashighi M, Solhpour A. Comparison of hydration, sebum and pH values in clinically normal skin of patients with atopic dermatitis and healthy controls. Clinical & Experimental Dermatology. 32(3): 321-322 (2007).
  • Ghasemi A, Gorouhi F, Rashighi M, Jafarian S, Firooz A. Striae gravidarum: associated factors. Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 21(6): 743-746 (2007).
  • Rashighi M, Firooz A, Gorouhi F, Dowlati Y. Iran's contribution to the dermatology literature. International Journal of Dermatology. 46(6): 650-660 (2007).
  • Firooz A, Khamesipour A, Ghoorchi MH, Nassiri-Kashani M, Eskandari SE, Khatami A, Hooshmand B, Gorouhi F, Rashighi M, Dowlati Y. Imiquimod in combination with meglumine antimoniate for acute cutaneous leishmaniasis: A randomized assessor-blind controlled trial. Archives of Dermatology. 142(12): 1575-1579 (2006).
  • Firooz A, Solhpour AR, Gorouhi F, Daneshpazhooh M, Balighi K, Farsinejad K, Rashighi M, Dowlati Y. Pimecrolimus cream 1% vs. hydrocortisone acetate cream 1% in the treatment of facial seborrheic dermatitis: A randomized, investigator blind, clinical trial. Archives of Dermatology. 142(8): 1066-1067 (2006).
  • Firooz A, Bouzari N, Fallah N, Ghazisaidi B, Rashighi M, Dowlati Y. What patients with vitiligo believe about their condition. International Journal of Dermatology. 43(11): 811-814 (2004).
  • Firooz A, Rashighi M, Dowlati Y. Rosacea fulminans (pyoderma faciale): successful treatment of a 3-year-old girl with oral isotretinoin. International Journal of Dermatology. 40(3): 203-205 (2001).

Book Chapters & Guidelines:

  • Haddadi N, Rashighi M, and Harris JE. Vitiligo. In: Mark G. Lebwohl, Warren R. Heymann, John Berth-Jones, and Ian Coulson. Treatment of Skin Disease. Saunders; 6th edition; In press.
  • Krueger S, Firooz A, and Rashighi M. Pityriasis rubra pilaris. In: Mark G. Lebwohl, Warren R. Heymann, John Berth-Jones, and Ian Coulson. Treatment of Skin Disease. Saunders; 6th edition; In press.
  • Harris JE and Rashighi M. Vitiligo. In: Mark G. Lebwohl, Warren R. Heymann, John Berth-Jones, and Ian Coulson. Treatment of Skin Disease. Saunders; 5th edition; 2017.
  • Rashighi M and Harris JE. Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Syndrome, in Clinical Decision Support: Dermatology. (2015-current). Decision Support in Medicine, LLC.
  • Rashighi M and Harris JE. Vitiligo topic, in British Medical Journal: Best Practice. (2014-current). BMJ Publishing Group Limited
  • Rashighi M and Burgin S. Alezzandrini syndrome. VisualDx. (2017-current).
  • Rashighi M and Burgin S. Hypomelanosis of Ito. VisualDx. (2017-current).
  • Rashighi M, Tan B, Burgin S. Incontinentia pigmenti. VisualDx. (2017-current).
  • Rashighi M and Burgin S. Nevus depigmentosus. VisualDx. (2017-current).
  • Rashighi M and Burgin S. Piebaldism. VisualDx. (2017-current).
  • Rashighi M, Wong V, Burgin S. Segmental vitiligo. VisualDx. (2017-current).
  • Rashighi M and Burgin S. Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome. VisualDx. (2017-current). 
  • Rashighi M and Burgin S. Waardenburg syndrome. VisualDx. (2017-current).
  • Rashighi M, Tan B, Burgin S. Discoid lupus erythematosus in adults. VisualDx. (2018 current).
  • Rashighi M, Tan B, Burgin S, Burkhart C, Morrell D. Discoid lupus erythematosus in child. VisualDx. (2018-current).
  • Rashighi M, Tan B, Burgin S. Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus in adults. VisualDx. (2018-current).
  • Rashighi M, Tan B, Burgin S. Tumid lupus erythematosus in adults. VisualDx. (2018-current).

Invited Presentations:

International

  • JAK family inhibitors in vitiligo: Expert Forum. 29th EADV Congress. Vienna. Austria. 2020.
  • Vitiligo: Immunopathogenesis and emerging treatments. Spring Continental Congress of Dermatology. Tehran, Iran. 2018.
  •  Iran's Contribution to Dermatology Literature. Symposium of Current Issues and Challenges in Public Health jointly organized by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Aspen Health, Biomedical Science and Society Initiative and Aspen Institute; Washington, DC. 2006

National

  • Single-cell transcriptomics in cutaneous lupus. Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Research Committee, Annual Meeting of the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance. New Orleans, LA. 2020, (canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic.) 
  • Single-cell transcriptomics in dermatomyositis. Juvenile Dermatomyositis Research Committee, Annual Meeting of the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance. New Orleans, LA. 2020, (canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic.)
  • Translational research in cutaneous lupus erythematosus. Annual Meeting of the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance. Louisville, KY. 2019  
  •  IFN-γ-induced chemokines are required for depigmentation in a mouse model of vitiligo. 75th Annual Meeting of the Society for Investigative Dermatology; Raleigh, NC. 2012
  • CXCL10, an IFN-γ-induced chemokine, is required for the development of depigmentation in a mouse model of vitiligo.” Vitiligo Working Group, VR Foundation; San Diego, CA. 2012 

Regional

  • Understanding autoimmunity through translational research in inflammatory skin diseases. Ground round at the HSS Research Institute. New York, NY. 2019
  • Understanding the underlying pathogenesis of connective tissue diseases through translational research. Ground round at the Department of Rheumatology, UMMS. Worcester, MA. 2019

External Professional Memberships and Activities:

  • Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), Scientific Review Committee, 2020-present
  • Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), Cutaneous Lupus Research Committee, 2019-present
  • Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), Juvenile Dermatomyositis Research Committee, 2019-present

Editorial Responsibilities:

  • Frontiers in Immunology, Editorial Board Member, 2020-present
  • FASEB, Editorial Board Member, 2020-present
  • VisualDx, Editor, Dermatology Section, 2019-present
  • Journal of Clinical Investigation, Ad hoc reviewer, 2020-present
  • Cell Reports Medicine, Ad hoc reviewer, 2020-present
  • Science Advances, Ad hoc reviewer, 2017-present
  • British Medical Journal Case Reports, Ad hoc reviewer, 2020-present
  • eLife, Ad hoc reviewer, 2018-present
  • Frontiers in Immunology, Ad hoc reviewer, 2018-present
  • Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Ad hoc reviewer, 2015-present
  • Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Ad hoc reviewer, 2015-present
  • JAMA Dermatology, Ad hoc reviewer, 2019-present
  • Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, Ad hoc reviewer, 2016-present
  • British Journal of Dermatology, Ad hoc reviewer, 2015-present
  • Experimental Dermatology, Ad hoc reviewer, 2015-present
  • Archives of Dermatological Research, Ad hoc reviewer, 2015-present
  • Pediatric Dermatology, Ad hoc reviewer, 2020-present
  • Journal of Dermatological Science, Ad hoc reviewer, 2016-present
  • Acta Dermatovenereologica, Ad hoc reviewer, 2016-present