Prof. Dr. Eva Peters

“How the skin deals with stress – the clinical application of psychoneuroimmunologic discoveries in an organ”

The stress reaction of the skin 

The outcome of the interaction between psychosocial stress and biological processes is crucial for the bodies stress reaction. Stressors causing a maladaptive immune response are whether of biological such as toxins or microbes or psychological origin, e. g. daily stress or traumatic events. Being the barrier between the environment and the body itself, the skin is a fitting model to elucidate toxic stress reactions. Due to maladies such as neurodermatitis, neuro-immune interactions and malfunctions are also covered by this model. The most common stress-related adaption is seen in the neuroendocrine system concerning the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). At the same time, changes in the neuroanatomy and neuroimmune communication can be observed under stress exposure. The presence of neurotrophins, released under this circumstance, increases the innervation of the skin with peptidergic nerve-fibers. Their release of further stress mediators such as substance P results in a stronger interaction with mast cells promoting neurogenic inflammation. At this point, one can consider the skin as “alert”. Additional stressors (e.g. Allergens) along with psychosocial stress can worsen the inflammation as well as the barrier function of the skin.

Curriculum vitae

​Professional career

since 2010         Direction of the psychoneuroimmunology lab, Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Justus-Liebig-University

                           Gießen

since 2004         Direction of the working group “Psychoneuroimmunology of the Skin“, Charité Centrum 12, Internal Medicine and Dermatology,

                           Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin

2001 – 2004       Scientific cooperation and assistance, Psychoneuroimmunology lab, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin

1999 – 2001       Scientific cooperation and assistance, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, UKE Hamburg-Eppendorf

1998 – 1999       Scholarship / Clinical Trial Execution, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University Bradford, UK

1998                   Research fellow, Department of Endocrinology, Nutrition and Diabetes, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA

1990 – 1998       Degree in Human Medicine, Philosophy, Ethnology and Theater Studies, FU and HU Berlin

2006                   Habilitation, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Würzburg

2004                   Approbation

2000                   Dr. med., University of Essen

1997                   State examination in Medicine, University of Essen

 

Other Activities

since 2019         Member of the scientific advisory board of the journal for Psychosomatics and medical Psychotherapy

since 2017        Coeditor PLOSone

2014 – 2016      Vice-speaker of the Loewe research focus „Non-neuronal Cholinergic Systems“ (NNCS)

since 2011        Vice-speaker of the working group Neuro-endocrino-immunology (AKNEI), German Society of Immunology (DGFI)

since 2011        Board member working group psychosomatic Dermatology (APD), German Dermatological Society (DDG)
since 2007        Special consultation "stress-consultation / mental stress and skin / psycho-oncology", Clinic for Dermatology, Charité-

                         Universitätsmedizin, Berlin

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