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Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research

2004-2007 Kirkland Scholars

Philip Cohen, MD
Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Staff Physician at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Dr. Cohen co-directs the Rheumatology fellowship program at University of Pennsylvania and is Principal Investigator of its NIH Training Grant in Rheumatic Diseases. He has a longstanding interest in the pathogenesis of SLE and has published extensively in this area.  His present research focuses on the role of apoptotic debris in provoking autoantibody responses in SLE and on the role of T cells in lupus. He is an Associate Editor of Arthritis and Rheumatism and has served on many grant review committees. He holds a Merit Award from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

John B. Harley, MD, PhD
Member and Head, Arthritis and Immunology Research Program;
James R. McEldowney Professor of Immunology and George Lynn Cross Research Professor, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; Professor, Department of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Department of Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

The Arthritis and Immunology Research Program, headed by John B. Harley, M.D., Ph.D., particularly concentrates upon the immunology and genetics of the inflammatory rheumatic diseases, especially systemic lupus erythematosus, familial Mediterranean fever, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's Syndrome, scleroderma, ankylosing spondylitis, dermatomyositis, and polymyositis. These are human diseases, and the Program has a distinctly human emphasis. A major approach is to study the immunology of the disorder at the structural level of autoantibody and autoantigen. This work has led to the suspicion that Epstein-Barr virus may be playing a role in causing this disease. Some of Dr. Harley's research is now focused upon testing this idea. Other approaches include the application of gene "chip" technology and use of modern genetics to find the genes predisposing to lupus. Indeed, this Program is the home of the Lupus Multiplex Registry and Repository -- this is a national collection of materials from families with two or more members with lupus. There are over 300 families in the entire OMRF collection and they have already been critically important in establishing 13 of the 17 known genetic linkages in lupus. Experiments using a wide variety of immunochemistry, molecular biology, cellular immunology, and cell biology approaches are also underway. The multidisciplinary approach taken here is designed to understand the rheumatic inflammatory diseases at their most fundamental level. They are meant to identify possible etiologies or causes of these illnesses and to provide important new insights into the pathogenesis and mechanisms of these and related diseases.

Michelle Petri, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland

Dr. Petri earned her medical degree at Harvard Medical School in Boston and completed her internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. She completed her fellowships in allergy, immunology, and rheumatology at the University of California at San Francisco. Her master's in public health and epidemiology were earned at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Hygiene and Public Health, and she is currently the Director of the Lupus Center at Johns Hopkins.

In addition to her academic and medical appointments, Dr. Petri has authored over 100 papers on lupus and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome as well as numerous book chapters on systemic lupus erythematosus. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Rheumatology and Journal of Clinical Rheumatology and is internationally recognized for her clinical research in lupus and the antiphospholipid antibodies. Her work has included clinical trials, translational research, epidemiological studies, and outcomes research. She is an active investigator in the Systemic Lupus International Cooperating Clinics and has established a large cohort of patients in the Johns Hopkins Lupus Center to study pregnancy and risk factors for vascular disease in lupus.