Director Jouni J. Uitto, MD, PhD

Director, Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine and Chair, Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology


Co-Director Sergio A. Jimenez, MD

Director, The Scleroderma Center
Co-Director, Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine
Professor and Director, Division of Connective Tissue Diseases
Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology
Thomas Jefferson University


Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine (JIMM) is dedicated to the study of the etiology and progression of diseases, with particular focus on acquired and genetic aberrations associated with the extracellular matrix of connective tissues. The findings are applied to the refinement of molecular screening approaches and development of innovative therapeutic modalities. JIMM investigators are conducting research in the areas of epithelial cancers, syndromes of skin blistering, hyperproliferative skin disorders, scleroderma, osteoarthritis, and others, and are elucidating the molecular and biological alterations associated with innate aging process, photodamage, tissue inflammation, and repair and regeneration.

JIMM is a multi-faceted, inter-disciplinary center, composed of internationally recognized researchers with widely-encompassing expertise in molecular genetics, nucleic acid chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular and cell biology. Members of the Institute have joint academic appointments to the Departments of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, and the Kimmel Cancer Center.

JIMM's investigators are actively focusing on cloning novel genes encoding extracellular matrix proteins and on identification of transcriptional factors. Several teams of researchers are engaged in the elucidation of genetic mutations responsible for heritable diseases, including keratinization disorders, blistering skin conditions, osteoarthritis, and collagen and elastin disorders. The Institute serves as a global site for DNA-based prenatal testing for heritable blistering skin diseases, performed in the CLIA certified Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory. Other important areas of research involve the regulation of oncogene expression in epithelial cancers, intracellular signaling critical for tissue repair, photoaging, and cytokine modulation of the production of extracellular matrix proteins. A large group of scientists is involved in the development of novel strategies to provide optimal gene delivery to target tissues and organs, approaches that will facilitate phenotypic reversal in patients with genetic disorders. The work includes novel technologies using hybrid oligonucleotides containing both RNA and DNA to correct mutations, as well as more conventional approaches utilizing adenoviral and retroviral vector systems. Transgenic models of human diseases are also being developed to serve as test systems for gene therapy. This work is fundamental to the development of future therapies for clinical application.

Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine is located in a state-of-the-art facility in the Bluemle Life Sciences Building on the Center City campus of Thomas Jefferson University. The Institute maintains active collaboration with other Centers of Excellence of the University, such as the prestigious Kimmel Cancer Center and internationally-renowned Jefferson Center for International Dermatology.

Members of the Institute are funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and from private foundations as well as by corporate support. Scientific publications of research findings in leading peer reviewed journals by JIMM investigators number well over a hundred annually.

The principal investigators of the Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine represent a multi-national force of industrious, talented workers, many of whom are internationally renowned for innovative technological advancements in basic research. JIMM's research leaders come from various parts of the world, from Europe, South America, and Asia. The Institute is staffed by post- and pre-doctoral fellows, many of whom are also multinational. The educational and scientific challenges, as well as the cultural enrichment of this special academic center provides a unique place for active exchange of ideas.

Together, Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine's leading researchers and staff at Thomas Jefferson University are actively engaged in ground-breaking work that bridges fundamental discoveries from the laboratory bench to translational therapies that have important clinical impact for patients worldwide.

The Institute is located in the historic downtown of metropolitan Philadelphia, a city with centers of excellence in science, culture and higher education.


Browse the Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine Collections:

Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine Papers and Presentations