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Rheumatology Research

The Division of Rheumatology is engaged in research to improve quality and outcomes for children who live with autoimmune and autoinflammatory disorders including childhood forms of arthritis, lupus and vasculitis. Each physician in our division takes on this charge through a different focus resulting in a multidisciplinary approach to reach our goals.

Marisa Klein-Gitelman, MD

Klein-Gitelman studies:

  • Measures of lupus disease activity and damage
  • Evaluation of genetic risk factors for lupus
  • Assessment of lupus renal disease biomarkers
  • Assessment of tools to measure quality of life in lupus
  • Participation in multicenter CARRA projects, including rheumatology disease registries, comparative treatment protocols, study of autoimmune encephalitis and chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis
  • Participation in multicenter PRCSG drug studies and registries for childhood arthritis

Lauren Pachman, MD

Pachman's research interests center on the regulation of the immune response, both in children with vascular involvement and rheumatic disease. Her specific focus is the study of factors affecting the onset and course of the most common pediatric inflammatory myopathy, juvenile dermatomyositis. This focus is implemented by both a national NIH-funded study of the epidemiology of JDM (JDM - New Onset Juvenile Dermatomyositis Research Registry) and a NIAMS-sponsored, laboratory-based investigation of genetic and immunological factors that may be associated with a short vs. a long disease course. The course of the disease is altered by therapy; prednisone and other steroids are the primary drugs now used to treat pediatric vascular inflammation.

Another study reviews data provided by children admitted to the Clinical Research Center (no patient charges for study) concerning the way that vascular inflammation alters the absorption and metabolism of prednisone when the drug is given by mouth as compared to intravenous administration. In addition, other new biological agents are under investigation for their effect on JDM and other pediatric rheumatic diseases.

Kaveh Ardalan, MD

Ardalan's research interests and expertise are in patient-reported outcomes, outcomes research, psychometrics and qualitative research (specifically with children and families). His primary populations of interest include children with juvenile myositis, morphea/localized scleroderma and cutaneous lupus. He has a secondary appointment in the Department of Medical Social Sciences. His most recent studies and collaborations encompass validation of PROMIS pediatric quality of life surveys in juvenile myositis, assessment of long-term physical function in juvenile myositis, epidemiological study of comorbidities and inpatient healthcare utilization in juvenile myositis, evaluation of disease evolution in discoid lupus and the study of quality of life in morphea/localized scleroderma.

Deidre De Ranieri, MD

Ranieri's research focuses on the use of Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (MSK US) in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). As one of the leaders in the Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Subcommittee, she is involved in several ongoing projects, including the standardization of image acquisition and scoring of pathology in pediatric joints, which is a collaborative initiative with several other institutions in the United States and Canada. She is the PI on a multicenter prospective study using ultrasound to investigate the role of subclinical synovitis in new onset Oligoarticular JIA. She serves on the American College of Rheumatology’s MSK US Examination Development Committee as the sole pediatric rheumatologist. Other interests include studying the role of synovial cells in disease evolution, evaluating the role of intra-articular steroids in JIA and assessing how the use of musculoskeletal ultrasound affects medication adherence in patients with JIA. She also participates in studies of new drugs for treating children with JIA.

Michael Miller, MD

Miller's research interests include health status and drug treatment of children with arthritis and related conditions. Miller is characterizing the extent of problems in different areas of health status, determining which problems are unique to arthritis patients and which problems are a result of chronic illness in general. Such research will be increasingly important in justifying the need for special health services for children with chronic illness. Miller also participates in studies of new drugs for treating children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

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