Aimee Payne Appointed Chair of the Department of Dermatology

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that Aimee Payne, MD, PhD, has agreed to serve as the next chair of the Department of Dermatology at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Dermatologist-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/CUIMC. Dr. Payne is currently a professor of dermatology and director of the Clinical Autoimmunity Center of Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. We are thrilled to welcome her to the Columbia community and we look forward to her appointment as chair, effective December 4.

The Department of Dermatology at Columbia has a rich history. The first lectures on dermatology delivered in America happened here at Columbia in 1840, and the department was among the first dedicated academic units in dermatology established in New York City. In the decades since, Columbia Dermatology and its faculty have been at the forefront of dermatologic medicine, bringing to bear outstanding patient care, academic programs, and research. The department’s advances include the early use of ionizing radiation, pioneering work in the treatment of syphilis, and major contributions to the discovery of the antifungal agent Nystatin. Today, the department’s legacy is reflected in the breadth and depth of its research and clinical prowess.

Dr. Payne is a highly respected physician-scientist whose clinical and research expertise focuses on mechanisms and treatments of autoimmunity. Her laboratory invented a targeted immunotherapy approach for antigen-specific B cell depletion known as chimeric autoantibody receptor T (CAAR-T) cells and performed key studies leading to FDA clearance of two Investigational New Drug Applications for CAAR-T technology. These studies have enabled the first precision cellular immunotherapies for autoimmunity to enter clinical trials in mucosal pemphigus vulgaris and muscle-specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK) associated myasthenia gravis. The lab’s work was recognized with the 2017 “Top 10” Clinical Research Forum Award and publications in Science, Journal of Clinical Investigation, and Nature Biotechnology. Dr. Payne’s clinical practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with autoimmune blistering skin diseases, including pemphigus and pemphigoid. At Penn, she also serves as associate director of the Medical Scientist Training Program, faculty advisor for the Association of Women Student MD-PhDs, and co-chair of admissions for the dermatology research residency program. She is core director of the Penn Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-based Center, an NIH-funded initiative that was integral in launching the Penn Dermatology BioBank.

Beyond Penn, Dr. Payne is president-elect of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, has served as chair of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Board of Scientific Counselors, and is co-founder and co-chair of the scientific advisory board of Cabaletta Bio, a publicly traded biotechnology company that focuses on engineering cellular immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases. She is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Dermatological Association, and serves on the Medical Advisory Council of the International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation. Dr. Payne received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University and is a graduate of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where she earned her MD and a PhD in molecular and cellular biology. She completed her dermatology residency and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.  

Our thanks to Lisa Kachnic, MD, for chairing the search committee, and to all who lent their time, talent, and insight to the search process. We also extend our deep gratitude to Faramarz Samie, MD, PhD, for providing critical leadership as interim chair. We are delighted that Dr. Samie will continue in his role as vice chair for clinical affairs, where he has made tremendous contributions to the quality of the department’s clinical services. And of course, we would also like to take this moment to once again acknowledge David Bickers, MD, for his longtime leadership of the department.

Please join us in thanking Drs. Bickers and Samie and in welcoming Dr. Payne to the NYP and Columbia communities.


Katrina Armstrong, MD
Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences

Steven J. Corwin, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer, NewYork-Presbyterian