Sawalha Lab

DNA methylationOur research program focuses on elucidating genetic and epigenetic contribution to the pathogenesis of systemic autoimmune and inflammatory rheumatic diseases. We apply state-of-the-art genomic, epigenomic, and bioinformatics methodologies, and subsequent functional studies using both in vitro and in vivo systems to identify and characterize genetic loci and pathways involved in the pathogenesis of immune-mediated diseases. Using careful clinical phenotyping and extensive national and international collaborations, we aim at discovering genomic and epigenomic markers for disease progression, specific organ involvement, and response to therapy in systemic autoimmunity. 

Our research program is currently funded by NIH R01 grants and a U19 Autoimmunity Center of Excellence grant.

Our Focus Areas

  1. Novel discoveries in the genetic and epigenetic causation of complex autoimmune diseases
  2. Functional characterization of these novel findings to provide mechanistic insights into disease pathogenesis
  3. Development of genetic and epigenetic biomarkers of disease severity, activity, response to therapy, and phenotypic progression