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
Aberle T, Bourn RL, Munroe ME, Chen H… and James JA. 2016. Clinical and serological features distinguish patients with incomplete lupus classification from systemic lupus erythematosus patients and controls. Arthritis Care Res. In Press.
Slight-Webb S, Lu RF, Ritterhouse, LL, Munroe ME, Maecker HT, Fathman CG, Utz PJ, Merrill JT, Guthridge JM, and James JA (2016). Autoantibody-positive healthy individuals display unique immune profiles that may regulate autoimmunity. Arthritis & Rheumatology 68 (10): 249202502. PubMed PMID: 27059145.
Young KA, Munroe ME, Guthridge JM, Kamen DL, Niewold TB, Gilkeson GS, Weisman MH, Ishimori ML, Kelly J, Gaffney PM, Sivils KH, Lu R, Wallace DJ, Karp DR, Harley JB, James JA, Norris JM. 2016. Combined role of vitamin D status and CYP24A1 in the transition to systemic lupus erythematosus. Ann Rheum Dis. 2016 Jun 9. pii: annrheumdis-2016-209157 doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-209157 [Epub ahead of print] PMC Journal In Process
Munroe ME and Bishop GA (2007). A costimulatory function for T cell CD40. Journal of Immunology 178 (2) 671-682. PubMed PMID: 17202327.
Munroe ME, Bishop GA. 2004. Role of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) Receptor-associated Factor 2 (TRAF2) in Distinct and Overlapping CD40 and TNF Receptor 2/CD120b-mediated B Lymphocyte Activation. J. Biol. Chem. 279: 53222-53231. Accepted before April 7, 2008.
Munroe ME, Visa ES, Guthridge JM et al (2014). Proinflammatory adaptive cytokine and shed tumor necrosis factor receptor levels are elevated preceding systemic lupus erythematosus disease flare. Arthritis & Rheumatology 66 (7) 1888-1899.
Lu R*, Munroe ME*, Guthridge JM, Bean KM, Fife DA, Chen H, Slight-Webb SR, Keith MP, Harley JB, James JA (2016). Dysregulation of innate and adaptive serum mediators precedes systemic lupus erythematosus classification and improves prognostic accuracy of autoantibodies. Journal of Autoimmunity 74: 182-193. PubMed PMID: 27338520. *Equally Credited Authors
Munroe ME, Lu R, Zhao YD, Fife DA, Robertson JM, Guthridge JM, Niewold TB, Tsokos GC, Keith MP, Harley JB, James JA (2016). Altered type II interferon precedes autoantibody accrual and elevated type I interferon activity prior to systemic lupus erythematosus classification. Annals of the Rheumatic Disease 75 (11): 2014-2021. PubMed PMID: 27088255.
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 Rheumatol. doi: 10.1002/art.40004. [Epub ahead of print] NIHMSID: 819899. PMC Journal In Process
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