Clinical, translational, and basic research are all high priorities for the division. The division is one of the top NIH-funded pediatric rheumatology units in the country.
Pediatric scleroderma is a focus with a specialized, nationally-recognized clinic for patients with pediatric scleroderma led by Dr. Kathryn Torok who is investigating inflammatory and profibrotic cytokines. Other areas of research include defining subsets of sepsis, abnormal activation of the inflammasome, and IL-18 and macrophage activation syndrome in Dr. Canna’s lab; chromatin accessibility, epigenetic and transcription factor networks contributing to immune cell differentiation and function in Dr. Poholek’s lab; and the understanding the immunology of aging and inflammatory syndromes in Dr. de Vallejo’s lab.
The goal of Dr. Sawalha’s lab is to study the genetics and epigenetics of systemic autoimmune diseases, with subsequent functional studies to understand the underlying mechanisms contributing to disease development and identify novel treatments for autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, scleroderma, and vasculitis.
Finally, the division is a lead participant in the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Network (CARRA), as well as a number of pharmaceutical trials specifically for children affected by rheumatologic conditions.