There are multiple diseases of the skin that range in severity from simple irritation and itching to serious and life-threatening conditions. These more serious conditions include all forms of pemphigus and pemphigoid, dermatitis herpetiformis, vasculitis, lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, scleroderma, and others. These diseases are considered autoimmune diseases, where the immune system incorrectly fights against the body’s own tissues leading to damage of the skin and other tissues. Some of these conditions affect only the skin and others affect the skin and internal organs. The causes and precipitating factors in these illnesses are poorly understood and are still being investigated by NIH-funded researchers here at UNC and around the world.