Alan Irvine’s primary research focus is on the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD), the most common chronic inflammatory disease of children in the developed world
A major strand of Alan's program centres on the genetics of AD, biophysical measurement of the skin barrier and immune mechanisms in AD. Supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Irvine group has developed one of the largest case collections of childhood AD; this case collection has been used to discover several new genetic insights into this common disease. In a collaboration with Irwin McLean (The University of Dundee) in 2006, they identified loss-of-function mutations in filaggrin (FLG) as the major genetic risk for AD. Subsequently, these findings have been widely replicated and have changed the understanding of AD and of allergic disease in general. Irvine’s work is widely published in high impact journals including Nature Genetics and the NEJM.