Skip to main content

Di Nardo Lab Research

Contribution to Science

2006 - present: Since joining the University of California San Diego as a faculty member, Dr. Di Nardo's research has been devoted to the study of skin antimicrobial peptides and their interaction with the cells of the skin's immune system. Dr. Di Nardo's independent lab work is on the role of Mast cells in the skin innate immune system and specifically in infections, rosacea and allergic reactions.

2001-2006: Human skin is permanently exposed to a wide variety of potential harmful microorganisms. Despite these microbial threats, skin is surprisingly highly resistant against infections. Over these five years, Dr. Di Nardo discovered that mast cells produce antimicrobial peptides. These antimicrobial peptides act as a first defense line, through their broad spectrum of potent antimicrobial activity.

1992-2000: Dr. Di Nardo directly documented the importance of skin epidermal lipids in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis as part of a team of collaborators. These studies emphasized the role of ceramides in the etiology, the maintenance of skin dermatitis and the disruptive potential of destroying ceramides in the skin barrier. The paper "Ceramide and cholesterol composition of the skin of patients with atopic dermatitis" was awarded the Pierre Fabre award as the best publication of the year.

1988-1992: Dr. Di Nardo's early publications addressed the fact that allergic skin reactions are difficult to standardize and to quantify. By providing evidence of, and quantification of the dermatological clinical readings, this body of work has changed the standards of evaluation for drug related modifications of skin reactions. Dr. Di Nardo served as the primary investigator or co-investigator in all of these studies.


Dr. Anna Di Nardo graduated with honors in 1986 from the University of Pavia School of Medicine (Italy). She trained as a dermatologist and was Board certified in Dermatology at the University of Modena Medical school (Italy) in 1989. In 1994, she obtained her Ph.D. diploma in Immunology and Clinical Allergology from the Ministry of University and Scientific Research in Italy (mentor: Dr. Giannetti). She practiced Dermatology in Italy for 10 years at the University of Modena. Since 2008 she has been ECFMG certified and has held an unrestricted California medical license. 


  • January 2001 - January 2006: Department of Medicine Dermatology section, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, Antimicrobial Peptide Fellowship (mentor: Dr Gallo)
  • August 2000 - January 2001: Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, Skin Barrier, Fellowship (Mentors: Dr. Holleran, Dr. Elias)
  • June 1992 - March 1993: Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, Skin Barrier, Fellowship (Mentor: Dr. Maibach)
  • August 1989 - December 1989: Department of Dermatology, Skin Pharmacology, Institute of Human Pharmacology, Schering A&G- Berlin, Germany Schering Fellowship