My research is focused on developing and testing novel strategies for monitoring autoimmune diseases. We use custom, high-throughput, multiplex assays to detect soluble mediators of inflammation and autoantibodies in human samples, then apply mathematical modeling methods to identify biomarkers for impending changes in disease activity. We also study unique preclinical patient cohorts to identify molecular and proteomic signatures that are dysregulated prior to SLE classification, in some cases years before clinical disease onset, when patients are still asymptomatic. This work builds on my postdoctoral studies in the lab of Gail Bishop, PhD, at the University of Iowa. By using multiparameter approaches to detect soluble biomarkers in cell lines, a mouse model of inflammatory arthritis, and human samples, I identified new functions and mechanisms of CD40 and identified environmental exposures that influence the regulation of immune responses relevant to autoimmune disease. Since joining OMRF, I have applied this expertise to evaluating pathogenic mechanisms, identifying new biomarkers of disease pathogenesis, developing diagnostic and prognostic algorithms, and examining the initial events in systemic autoimmunity and other inflammatory diseases. I use the information from these studies to develop predictive tests and algorithms that accurately distinguish patients at high risk of developing SLE, and to predict increased disease activity in patients with established disease. The ultimate goal of this research is to mitigate or prevent further organ damage caused by lupus.
B.S., B.M., Drake University, Des Moines, IA 1991
M.A., Drake University, Des Moines, IA, 1993
Ph.D., Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 2001
M.D., Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 2002
Postdoctoral fellowship, University of Iowa, 2002-2007
Joined OMRF Scientific Staff in 2010
Munroe ME, Young KA, Guthridge JM, Kamen DL, Gilkeson GS, Weisman MH, Ishimori ML, Wallace DJ, Karp DR, Harley JB, Norris JM, James JA. Pre-Clinical Autoimmunity in Lupus Relatives: Self-Reported Questionnaires and Immune Dysregulation Distinguish Relatives Who Develop Incomplete or Classified Lupus From Clinically Unaffected Relatives and Unaffected, Unrelated Individuals. Front Immunol 13:866181, 2022 June, PMID: 35720322, PMCID: PMC9203691
Thanou A, Jupe E, Purushothaman M, Niewold TB, Munroe ME. Clinical disease activity and flare in SLE: Current concepts and novel biomarkers. J Autoimmun 119:102615, 2021 February, PMID: 33631651, PMCID: PMC8044029
Munroe ME, Anderson JR, Gross TF, Stunz LL, Bishop GA, James JA. Epstein-Barr Functional Mimicry: Pathogenicity of Oncogenic Latent Membrane Protein-1 in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Autoimmunity. Front Immunol 11:606936, 2021 February, PMID: 33613527, PMCID: PMC7886997
Munroe ME, Anderson JR, Gross TF, Stunz LL, Bishop GA, James JA. Epstein-Barr Functional Mimicry: Pathogenicity of Oncogenic Latent Membrane Protein-1 in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Autoimmunity. Frontiers in immunology. 2020;11:606936. Epub 2021/02/23. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.606936. PMID: 33613527; PMCID: PMC7886997.
Munroe ME, Young KA, Kamen DL, Guthridge JM, Niewold TB, Costenbader KH, Weisman MH, Ishimori ML, Wallace DJ, Gilkeson GS, Karp DR, Harley JB, Norris JM, James JA. Discerning Risk of Disease Transition in Relatives of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients Utilizing Soluble Mediators and Clinical Features. Arthritis & rheumatology. 2017;69(3):630-42. doi: 10.1002/art.40004. PMID: 27863174, PMCID: PMC5329053
Munroe ME, Vista ES, Merrill JT, Guthridge JM, Roberts VC, James JA. Pathways of impending disease flare in African-American systemic lupus erythematosus patients. J Autoimmun. 2017;78:70-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2016.12.005. PMID: 28162788, PMCID: PMC5340190.
Munroe ME, Lu R, Zhao YD, Fife DA, Robertson JM, Guthridge JM, Niewold TB, Tsokos GC, Keith MP, Harley JB, James JA. Altered type II interferon precedes autoantibody accrual and elevated type I interferon activity prior to systemic lupus erythematosus classification. Ann Rheum Dis. 2016;75(11):2014-21. Epub 25 Jan 2016. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2015-208140. PMID: 27088255; PMCID: PMC4959992.
Munroe ME, Vista ES, Guthridge JM, Thompson LF, Merrill JT, James JA. Pro-inflammatory adaptive cytokines and shed tumor necrosis factor receptors are elevated preceding systemic lupus erythematosus disease flare. Arthritis & rheumatology. 2014;66(7):1888-99. doi: 10.1002/art.38573. PubMed PMID: 24578190; PMCID: PMC4128244.
Lu R*, Munroe ME*, Guthridge JM, Bean KM, Fife DA, Chen H, Slight-Webb SR, Keith MP, Harley JB, James JA. Dysregulation of Innate and Adaptive Serum Mediators Precedes Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Classification and Improves Prognostic Accuracy of Autoantibodies J Autoimmun. 2016;74:182-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jaut.2016.06.001. PMID: 27338520; PMCID: PMC5079766. *Co-first authors
Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program, MS 53
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
825 N.E. 13th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Phone: (405) 271-7026
Fax: (405) 271-7063