Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research

2001-2004 Kirkland Scholars

Joe Craft, MD
Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology) and Immunobiology
Chief, Section of Rheumatology
Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Craft's research seeks to define the mechanisms of loss of self-tolerance and activation of autoreactive T cells in systemic lupus erythematosus and their capacity to propagate and to regulate autoreactive B cell help for pathogenic autoantibody production. In ongoing and published studies, his laboratory has demonstrated that T cells from mice with lupus are hyper-responsive to activation through their antigen receptors, compared to T cells from non-autoimmune animals, with this difference apparently an intrinsic (genetic) one. Current studies involve identification of the biochemical and genetic causes of this abnormality in lupus cells, and the effects of extrinsic agents, such as viral infection, upon the ability of lupus T cells to promote pathogenic responses. Dr. Craft is also attempting to determine if these abnormalities found in murine lupus T cells are found in T cells from humans with SLE.

In addition to his research activities, Dr. Craft has played a leadership role in organizations that support lupus research, and has served as the Chair of the Medical and Scientific Committee of the Arthritis Foundation and as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Alliance for Lupus Research.

Matthew H. Liang, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Professor of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health

Dr. Liang is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University in philosophy and chemistry, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in tropical public health and epidemiology.  He founded and directed the Robert B. Brigham Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases Clinical Research Center at the Brigham and Women's Hospital between 1977-2002 and is currently its Director of Special Projects.  He is Medical Director of Rehabilitation Services at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Liang also directs the Center for Advanced Methodological Support for Innovative SLE Trials (ASSIST), and is the Chief of the Section of Rheumatology at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Dr. Liang has served on the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and is currently on the Boards of the Alliance for Lupus Research, the Lupus Clinical Trials Consortium, and Rheuminations, Inc. 

His current research interests include basic methodologic work in clinimetrics, clinical trials methodology in systemic lupus erythematosus, the epidemiology of rheumatic disease and disability, prevention of Lyme disease, outcomes research, the identification of modifiable risk factors in high risk and disadvantaged populations, clinical decision making, and prevention of osteoarthritis.

David Wofsy, MD
Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco

Throughout his career, Dr. Wofsy's research has focused on the development of new strategies for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Initially, this work involved the use of animal models for lupus as a means of understanding the immunologic mechanisms that contribute to SLE. More recently, Dr. Wofsy has applied his discoveries in these models to develop and test new treatments for people with SLE. He is currently extending his studies of the role of costimulatory molecules in autoreactive T cell activation in murine lupus models to clinical trials of approaches to blocking T cell activation through costimulatory molecules.

In addition to his research activities, Dr. Wofsy has been a leader in research and professional organizations that advance the care of patients with lupus and other rheumatologic diseases, most recently as President of the American College of Rheumatology.

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