Hacking Dermatology

Solving the challenges facing patients with skin disease

Hacking Dermatology aims to shine a spotlight on skin health and to address the most pressing challenges for patients living with dermatologic conditions. The year-long initiative provides innovators with a framework to enable the formation of multi-disciplinary teams that are able to clearly identify a need in the field and to actualize their ideas. By engaging like-minded individuals in collaborative partnerships Hacking Dermatology seeks to generate and accelerate innovative technologies and products in dermatology.


2020 Hackathon: October 23-25, Virtual
2021 Final Pitch Competition: April 20, 2021, Virtual

About the Hackathon

The hackathon was focused on the unique dermatologic challenges that face patients with skin of color.

The three-day event was held virtually and engaged more than 100 participants and mentors from around the world. Participants came from exceptionally diverse backgrounds, ranging from clinical dermatology to industrial design to data science to chemical engineering, and formed project teams to advance innovative ideas toward potential solutions.

The top five teams were each awarded $3,000 in grant seed funding and greater access to dedicated mentors to advance their ideas during the incubation stage of the Hacking Dermatology framework.

Event Sponsors

Along with Founding Partner – LEO Science & Tech Hub, the UCSF Rosenman Institute and Gore Range Capital sponsored this year’s event and will provide the finalists with startup expertise and mentorship in the form of office hours with entrepreneurs, investors and experts in product development and commercial strategy.

Hackathon Finalists

Final Pitch Competition

April 20, 2021 – Virtual

The five finalists from the October Hacking Dermatology event competed alongside two new teams for a total of $25k in additional grant funding.

Final Pitch Winners

1st Place: Folliculology
Connects individuals and barbers to dermatologists who can improve the quality of life of those with follicular disorders through expert advice, recommendations and direct care. Our app was created to help individuals: Find curated resources and dermatologists; Form a plan of care; Follow recommendations from experts.

2nd Place: Broad Spectrum
Sunscreen specifically designed for skin of color patients with pigmentary disorders.

3rd Place: GeneSkin
A novel human cell-based experimental model to evaluate skin-related therapeutic and cosmetic products. With whole genome sequencing for individual cell lines, GeneSkin is developing deep learning-based computational algorithms to investigate the genetic variants that are associated with drug response on our experimental models. The goal is to develop a deep learning model that can predict product response and suggest product usage to customers by simply analyzing the customers’ genome sequences.


Hacking Dermatology is spearheaded by a consortium of founding partners: Hacking Medicine Institute (HMi), LEO Science & Tech Hub, the R&D innovation unit of LEO Pharma, and Advancing Innovation in Dermatology (AID).

MIT Hacking Medicine, the Lahey Medical Center Department of Dermatology, the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), the UCSF Rosenman Institute, and Gore Range Capital have provided sponsorship.

Hacking Dermatology Previous Years