When the Human Genome Project was completed and published in 2003, it was hailed as a “detailed blueprint for building every human cell.” Scientists finally had a sort of operating manual for the more than 20,000 genes that determine every characteristic present in a human being.
Today, we use that genetic information to help answer questions about systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, leading to inflammation, organ failure and, in some cases, death. By comparing the genetic information of normal individuals with that of people with lupus, we are able to pinpoint specific differences that might account for the onset of disease.
Because lupus often occurs in families, genetic data gathered from them may help us create tools for predicting when it will strike and finding ways to stop it. In my lab, we hope to develop better treatments for lupus, as well as ways to monitor those already afflicted with the disease.
Improving our understanding of the genetic basis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a major focus of the work in our laboratory. SLE is a prototypic autoimmune disease characterized by the production of antibodies that react with a wide variety of tissues resulting in systemic inflammation and organ failure.
From over a decade of work on the genetics of SLE, it is now clear that the risk of developing SLE is strongly influenced by genetic polymorphisms inherited within families. We use rapid high-capacity genotyping technology to systematically evaluate genetic polymorphisms associated with human SLE. With the completion of our genome-wide association study many new genetic targets will be identified and will require further replication. We are engaged in all phases of genetic evaluation from discovery to validation to functional characterization in model systems. The overall objective of these studies is to develop a comprehensive view of the genetic landscape of SLE and then use that information to develop new and improved treatments, predictive tools and monitoring programs for patients with SLE.
B.S., Saint John’s University, Collegeville, MN, 1983
M.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1991
Honors and Awards
1996 Midwest Trainee Investigator Award, American Federation for Clinical Research
1997 Molecular Genetics Fellowship, University of Minnesota
1998 Participant, Genetic-Epidemiological Studies of Complex Diseases, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
1999 NIH NIAMS Clinical Investigator Award
2000 Young Investigator Award, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota
2005 Cancer and Leukemia Group B Junior Faculty Research Award
2006 Faculty Career Development Award, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota
2008, 2011 The Merrick Award for Outstanding Research, Merrick Foundation, Oklahoma City, OK
2013 Edward L. and Thelma Gaylord Prize for Scientific Achievement, Oklahoma City, OK
2013 J.G. Puterbaugh Chair in Medical Research, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, OK
Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, SLE Biomarkers Working Group (2004 to present)
Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, DeCide Clinical Trial, University of Chicago Medical School (2005 to present)
Member, SLEGEN Consortium Data Analysis Committee (2006 to present)
American Society of Hematology
American Society of Clinical Oncology
American Society of Human Genetics
American Association for Cancer Research
American College of Rheumatology
Joined OMRF Scientific Staff in 2007
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Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program, MS 57
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
825 N.E. 13th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Phone: (405) 271-2572
Fax: (405) 271-3045
Ying-Yu Wu, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Member
Satish Pasula, Ph.D.
Associate Staff Scientist
Feng Daniel Wen
Associate Staff Scientist
Graham Wiley, Ph.D.
Associate Staff Scientist
Mandi Wiley, Ph.D.
Assistant Staff Scientist
Research Project Director
Yao Fu, Ph.D.
Ajay Nair, Ph.D.
Kandice Tessneer, Ph.D.
Jim Warner, Ph.D.
Senior Research Assistant