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Mary Crow: leader in research on systemic lupus erythematosus

The Lancet—October 6, 2017

The Lancet published a feature article on HSS physician-in-chief and chief of Rheumatology Mary K. Crow, MD, which covered her journey to become a rheumatologist, her area of focus in lupus and how she spends her time as a co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research at HSS.

Originally not planning to study medicine, Dr. Crow won her school’s biology prize in college and felt she could excel in the field. According to the article, Dr. Crow began work as a lab tech with an immunologist who encouraged her to apply to medical school.

During her third year at medical school, Dr. Crow met a 16-year-old girl with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This meeting inspired Dr. Crow to pursue a career in lupus research.

"I think that's a really common story if you speak to many people who are focused on lupus. The disease is galvanizing. There is so much to think about. It's such a great model disease to learn from," said Dr. Crow.

According to HSS rheumatologist Jane E. Salmon, MD, who is a co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center, Dr. Crow was one of the first scientists to be interested in the role of alpha interferon as a driver of lupus. The article reported that Dr. Crow’s research was fundamental to the development of alpha interferon as a target for lupus therapy.

"If we can understand the autoimmune diseases and identify therapeutic targets, we could really move therapy ahead," noted Dr. Crow.

HSS rheumatologist Michael D. Lockshin, MD, who is also a co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center, said "one of her strengths is her ability to interdigitate the basic science labs with the clinical practice".

When asked how she spends her time, Dr. Crow said she encourages her co-faculty members and helps them be productive. She added that her research is her favorite thing to do.

Read the full article at thelancet.com


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