Li Lin

BSc, PhD



Skin Microbiopsy

Diagnosis of skin cancer by a dermatologist is aided by analysis of patient skin samples by a pathology service. The doctor takes samples from a suspect mole or skin region using a biopsy punch which takes a core sample from the skin which can then be sent off for microscopic evaluation. However, taking skin samples in this way is painful and often leaves scarring. The researchers have designed and fabricated a novel sub-millimetre biopsy device. The device takes a sample of skin tissue about 0.3mm across. This means that the procedure is almost painless and does not require anaesthetic or leave a scar. The tissue sample can then be sent to a pathology service for automated genetic analysis rather than the much slower light microscopy methods that have been used in the past. This means that dermatologists now have a tool that can be used to monitor suspect skin regions across large skin areas such as an entire back or forearm. Skin specialists can now significantly increase the efficiency of diagnosis of skin cancers. The micro biopsy device will also enable near patient sequencing for rapid detection of skin disease. Further, this technology will be used to help clinicians to choose which medication combinations will work most efficiently for a lesion with a defined molecular signature.

Evaluation of physical drug penetration enhancement technologies

Actinic keratoses (AK) is caused by frequent sun exposire accompanied by solar damage. AK, also known as sun spots, are precursors to intraepithelial carcinoma (IEC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Certain topical drug treatment are prone to recurrence, necessitating repeated treatment. Improved and consistent drug deliveyr across the field would ideally bring the drug concentration to a mimally effective concentration in all cells. The stratum corneum is the main barrier for drug penetration into the skin. Physical enhancement technologies are systemically evaluated in pre-clinical models for improved topical drug delivery, reproducibility and robustness. The obtained knowledge will be used to conduct an exploratory clinical study to confirm clinical efficacy of optimised physical stimulation technology.


About me

Dr. Li Lin spent 4 years involved in skin-related research and set-up of clinical-testing facilities at Procter & Gamble Singapore from 2005. She moved to Queensland in 2009 to pursue higher education and has recently graduated with a PhD in biomedical engineering from University of Queensland, supervised by A/Prof Tarl Prow and Prof Peter Soyer (Chair of Dermatology Research Centre). The focus of her project was on the development of a new micro-sized skin biopsy device for molecular diagnosis of skin diseases.  Moving forward as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, she is leading a few industry sponsor trial with focus on drug delivery, diagnostics and imaging in the context of dermatology.


  1. Lin LL, Prow TW, Raphael AP, Harrold III RL, Primiero CA, Ansaldo AB, Soyer HP. Microbiopsy engineered for minimally invasive and suture-free sub-millimetre skin sampling. F1000 Research. 2013. PMID: 24627782. Featured article in Sept 2013.
  2. Banan P, Lin LL, Lambie D, Soyer HP, Prow TW. Ex-vivo skin microbiopsy effects on histopathological diagnosis in melanocytic skin lesions. JAMA Dermatology. 
  3. Prow TW, Lin LL, Soyer HP. The opportunity for microbiopsies for skin cancer. Future Oncol 2013. PMID: 23654202. IF: 3.163. Featured article in Oct 2013.
  4. Soyer HP, Lin LL, Prow TW. A plea for bio-banking of all equivocal melanocytic proliferations. JAMA Dermatology 2013. PMID: 23864136
  5. McClenahan P, Lin LL, Tan JM, Flewell-Smith, Schaider H, Jagirdar K, Atkinson V, Lambie D, Prow TW, Sturm RA, Soyer HP. Case study - BRAFV600E Mutation Status of Involuting and Stable Nevi in Dabrafenib Therapy With or Without Trametinib. JAMA Dermatol. 2014. PMID: 24695877. 
  6. Tan JM*, Lin LL*, Lambie D, Flewell-Smith R, Jagirdar K, Schaider H, Sturm RA, Prow TW, Soyer HP. BRAF wild-type melanoma in situ arising in a BRAFV600E 1 mutant dysplastic nevus. JAMA Dermatol. 2015 PMID: 25607474. *Equal contributors.
  7. Raphael AP, Primiero CA, Lin LL, Soyer HP and Prow TW. High aspect ratio elongated microparticles for enhanced topical drug delivery in volunteers. Adv Healthc Mater. 2014. PMID: 24421280.

Research fields

Skin; Technology development; Micro-devices; Molecular Biology; Imaging; Drug Delivery