The Foundation


Professor John M Wood

In Memoriam Professor John M Wood

John Martin Wood was born on the 22nd of March 1938 in Huddersfield, UK and lost the battle against cancer on February 5th 2008. 

A multitalented young man, he was an accomplished artist, a professional cricketer and a talented footballer, playing for his local team “Huddersfield Town”. However, above all, he will be remembered as an outstanding scientist.

His early career in science took him from his native Yorkshire to America. Completing his PhD at the University of Leeds, UK, in 1964, he moved to the chemistry department of the University of Illinois, USA, to follow his interest in transition metals in biology, researching the structure and function of B12 enzymes, dioxygenases and metabolic cycles for toxic elements.

He became associate professor at the age of 32 and shortly after a sabbatical year as a Guggenheim fellow in Oxford, he was promoted to full professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois.

His expertise then took him to Minnesota, becoming the first director of the Gray-Freshwater Biological Institute and professor of biochemistry at the University of Minnesota. Here, John Wood led substantial research into the environmental conversion of inorganic metal compounds, the biological synthesis and bio-accumulation of alkyl-lead compounds in food chains, and chemical studies with free and bound Vitamin B12. He was heavily involved in unravelling the mechanism behind Minamata disease. His research on methyl mercury resulted in three Nobel-prize nominations.  Yielding 9 publications in Science and 2 in Nature, amongst others, John Wood served 2 years on the editorial board of Science.

However, in the late 1980’s following a life-changing encounter with his future wife Professor Karin U Schallreuter, John Wood changed his area of research to the field of dermatology and both began a successful partnership lasting over 20 years. With his passion for understanding and teaching the pure fundamentals of chemistry, John Wood became an important contributor to the field of dermatology with emphasis on the biochemistry of epidermal pigmentation, oxidative stress and epidermal free radical defence. This has become especially important with regards to the depigmentation disease vitiligo, but also other disorders.

Together with his wife and with funding from Stiefel Inc, he moved back to England to the University of Bradford as professor for medical biochemistry in 1992. Publishing over 70 original papers in this field, John Wood has had a huge impact in advancing the understanding of the principal biochemical problems in dermatology.

In addition, not only has he contributed significantly to science with his research, he has also been immensely important as an outstanding teacher to countless undergraduate and post-graduate students in Illinois, Minnesota and the UK. He took great pride in imparting his knowledge to his students and he had a gifted ability to teach science in a way that was passionate, exciting and interesting. 

His own passion for science was evident to all of his students and colleagues and this was combined with a great humorous personality and love for life. His humour endeared him to many, ranging from young patients with vitiligo to his university students, and to colleagues within the scientific community.

He will be sorely missed by all who got to know him and none more so than his wife, his 4 children and his beloved 8 grandchildren.

 “Politicians come and go but scientists are here forever” a quote from Professor John M. Wood in April 2006 should be motivation to all of us.

Dancing with the children at the Dead Sea

On the way to the desert Wadi Rum in Jordan with the children group, 2005


Medical Advisory Board

David E. Fisher MD, PhD 
Wigglesworth Professor and Chairman 
Department of Dermatology 
Director, Cutaneous Biology Research Program 
Director, Melanoma Program MGH Cancer Center 
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Pearl E. Grimes, M.D.
Diplomate American Board of Dermatology
Vitiligo and Pigmentation Institute of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

John E. Harris, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Dermatology
Director, Vitiligo Clinic and Research Center

Wayne T. McCormack, Ph.D
Associate Dean for Graduate Education
Associate Professor, Dept. of Pathology, Immunology & Laboratory Medicine
University of Florida College of Medicine
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Richard A. Miller, D.O., F.A.O.C.D./F.O.D.
Chairman/Program Director
Suncoast Hospital/Nova Southeastern
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Department of Dermatology

Margaret (Peggy) Wallace, Ph.D. 
Professor, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology 
University of Florida College of Medicine 
Gainesville, Florida 
email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Leopoldo F. Montes, M.D., M.S., F.R.C.P.C.
Buenos Aires

Professor Jean-Paul Ortonne M.D.
Chairman of the Department Of Dermatology
University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis
Nice, France

Dr. Mauro Picardo
Scientific Director
San Gallicano Dermatological Institute of Rome
Rome, Italy

Karin U Schallreuter MD, PD University of Hamburg, FRSM 
Professor for Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 
Clinical Director at the Institute for Pigmentary Disorders in  association with EMArndt University Greifswald/Germany 
Assoc Director (clinical),CSS, University of Bradford/UK
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Our History

The American Vitiligo Research Foundation, Inc. (AVRF) was founded in December 1995, by Stella Pavlides of Clearwater, FL. Since its inception, the foundation has been operated out of the home of its founder.

The primary objective of the foundation is embracing the diversity and promoting the inclusion of all individuals. To meet this objective, the goals of the AVRF include public awareness, education, acceptance, and a cure. The foundation furthers these goals by providing an array of resources, fundraisers, and conferences designed to enlighten and uplift members of the foundation and the public.

The AVRF, a federally tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) charity, sponsors research to determine the possible causes of vitiligo. It is hoped that with the future success of this research, viable treatment options as well as a potential cure can be developed.

The AVRF is a humane charity. Money donated to AVRF and designated for research is given only for research done without the use of animals whatsoever.  Before money is donated to any researchers, the AVRF requires their agreement to use the funds accordingly.

Having this disorder can expose children (and adults) to ridicule from peers and insensitivity from the general public. With this in mind, the AVRF gives support to individuals afflicted with this life-altering skin disorder, focusing mainly on children and their families.

We welcome you to the American Vitiligo Research Foundation and look forward to serving you!

Enjoy your blessings,




Contact AVRF

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Board of Directors

Stella Pavlides
Founder & President

Gregory V. Parganos

Trudy Zwick 

Scott Thomas Blair Clark


The AVRF Mission Statement

American Vitiligo Research Foundation Inc. (AVRF) provides public awareness about vitiligo through dedicated work, education and counseling. We seek to make a difference worldwide to those afflicted by the disease, focusing on children and their families.

We embrace diversity and encourage acceptance. The AVRF encourages higher ethical standards in research, and therefore supports finding a cure through alternatives to animal testing.

AVRF is a tax-exempt charity, regulated by section 501(c)(3) of The Internal Revenue Code.