Cornelius named Showman Professor

Lynn A. Cornelius, MD, chief of the Division of Dermatology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named the Winfred A. and Emma R. Showman Professor in Dermatology.

Cornelius’ appointment was announced by Larry Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the medical school.

“Lynn is exceptional in her field and a real standout at the School of Medicine,” Shapiro says. “She is beloved by her patients and well respected by her colleagues. This professorship is a testament to Lynn’s outstanding leadership and her superb clinical skills, which have had an impact on so many patients.”


A highly regarded dermatologist, Cornelius specializes in the treatment and research of melanoma, a deadly skin cancer. Her studies focus on the regulation of genes at play in melanoma and on inherited mutations that can increase the risk of the disease. She also has a leadership role in the melanoma program at the Siteman Cancer Center.

Cornelius became division chief in 2000 and has expanded clinical and research dermatology programs and recruited key faculty whose achievements contribute to the academic strength of the division and the medical school.

“Lynn is nationally recognized in her field and is a role model for many young physicians at the outset of their careers,” says Victoria Fraser, MD, the Adolphus Busch Professor of Medicine and head of the Department of Medicine. “She is an extraordinary physician and researcher, and we are so fortunate to have her on our faculty.”

Cornelius also is co-director of the new Center for the Study of Itch, the first of its kind in the world. Investigators at the center are working to discover the molecular mechanisms driving the sensation of itch. She is actively developing a clinical itch program to evaluate and treat patients with chronic itch. As part of the program, patients will have access to clinical trials as new anti-itch therapeutic agents are developed.

“It is an honor to be recognized as the Showman professor,” Cornelius says. “This professorship enables me to expand my clinical and translational efforts in melanoma, an area of dermatology and cutaneous biology that is truly my passion. I am sincerely grateful, and I am committed to use this support for the benefit of our patients in the years ahead.”

The endowed professorship was established by the late Winfred Showman, MD, a 1921 graduate of Washington University School of Medicine, and his wife, Emma. Showman completed his physician training at St. Louis City Hospital, and for a short time, his practice was affiliated with Barnes Hospital and the Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital. He left St. Louis in 1928 to establish a private dermatology practice in Tulsa, where he continued to treat patients until retiring at age 80.

Cornelius is the second faculty member to hold the Showman professorship. She earned a medical degree from the University of Missouri and completed a residency in dermatology at the School of Medicine and a postdoctoral fellowship in immunodermatology at Emory University in Atlanta.

She has served on the School of Medicine faculty since 1993, with leadership roles as the associate dean of faculty affairs and as an elected member of the Faculty Practice Plan Board of Directors.

Cornelius recently was elected to the Board of Trustees of the St. Louis Science Center. Nationally, she served as secretary-treasurer of the Association of Professors of Dermatology and is currently vice president-elect of the Society of Investigative Dermatology.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.