Kathryn S. Torok, M.D.

  • Associate Professor of Pediatrics 
  • Assistant Professor of Clinical and Translational Science

Dr. Torok is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University of Medicine. She began her career in Pediatric Rheumatology as a Fellow at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) in 2006.  Upon completion of her fellowship, she stayed at Children's and became an Assistant Professor, mentored by internationally recognized clinical and bench experts in the adult scleroderma sphere, Dr. Thomas Medsger, MD and Dr. Carol Feghali-Bostwick, PhD.  She helped develop and now serves as director of the CHP Scleroderma Clinic, which provides treatment for children with localized and systemic scleroderma, with national and international consultations.  Along with treating patients, Dr. Torok has been involved in numerous research projects. She is the principal investigator of the National Registry for Childhood-Onset Scleroderma (NRCOS), which serves as a national resource of longitudinal pediatric scleroderma data.  Dr. Torok also holds a secondary appointment as Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

Dr. Torok is a leader in the field and serves as one of the Pediatric Scleroderma Steering Committee members within CARRA (Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatic Disease Research Alliance).  Most North American clinical and translational research studies in pediatric rheumatic diseases funnel through CARRA.  The Torok lab at the University of Pittsburgh has been designated as the main biorepository site for any pediatric localized and systemic sclerosis projects associated with CARRA, serving as a resource for both Dr. Torok’s investigations and other current and future pediatric scleroderma researchers/collaborators.

Major Lectureships

  • “Health-related Quality of Life in Pediatric Scleroderma” and “Updates in Research in Pediatric Scleroderma,” National Scleroderma Patient Education Conference, Unmask the Cure, New Orleans, La., July 2016
  • “Updates in Localized Scleroderma,” adult rheumatology grand rounds, University of Pittsburgh Arthritis Institute (Torok)

Professional Affiliations/Society Memberships

  • Society for Pediatric Research
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American College of Rheumatology
  • American Medical Association
  • Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance
  • Pennsylvania Medical Society

Representative Publications

  1. Kurzinski K, Zigler CK and Torok KS (2018). Prediction of Disease Relapse in a Cohort of Juvenile Localized Scleroderma Patients.  Br J of Dermatol.  2018 Oct 13.  doi: 10.1111/bjd.17312. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 30315656
  2. Mirizio E, Marathi A, Hershey N, Ross C, Schollaert K, Salgadgo CM, Reyes-Mugica M and Torok KS.  Identifying the signature immune phenotype present in pediatric Localized Scleroderma.  Journal of Investigative Dermatology.  Accepted September 24, 2018. 
  3. Li SC, Li X, Pope E, Stewart K, Higgins GC, Rabinovich CE, O'Neil KM, Haines KA, Laxer RM, Punaro M, Jacobe H, Andrews T, Wittkowski K, Nyirenda T, Foeldvari I, Torok KSNew Features for Measuring Disease Activity in Pediatric Localized Scleroderma. J Rheumatol. 2018 Sep 15. pii: jrheum.171381. dsoi: 10.3899/jrheum.171381. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30219769.
  4. Constantin T, Foeldvari I, Pain CE, Palinkas A, Höger P, Moll, M, Nemkova D, Weibel L, Laczkovski M, Clements P and Torok KS. Development of Minimum Standards of Care for Juvenile Localized Scleroderma. Eur J Pediatr (2018) 177: 961.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-018-3144-8.  PMID: 29728839
  5. Foeldvari I, Klotsche J, Torok KS, Kasapcopur O, et. al. Are diffuse and limited juvenile systemic sclerosis different in clinical presentation?  Clinical characteristics of a juvenile systemic sclerosis cohort. J Scleroderma relat disorder; First Published August 7, 2018.  DOI: 10.1177/2397198318790494
  6. Stevens BS, Torok KS, Li SC, Hershey N, Curran M, Higgins GC, Moore KF, Rabinovich CE, Dodson S, Stevens A, and The CARRA Registry Investigators.  Clinical Characteristics and factors associated with disability and impaired quality of life in children with juvenile systemic sclerosis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2018 Dec;70(12):1806-1813. doi: 10.1002/acr.23547. Epub 2018 Nov 8. PMID: 29457372
  7. Stevens AM, Kanaan SB, Torok KS, Medsger TA, et.al. HLA in Juvenile Systemic Sclerosis:  HLA DRB1. DQA1 and DQB1 in Juvenile Onset Systemic Sclerosis. Arthritis & Rheumatol; 2016 Nov; 68 (11): 2772-2777. DOI: 10.1002/art.39765 PMID: 27214100
  8. Ardalan K, Zigler CK, and Torok KS. Predictors of Longitudinal Quality of Life in Juvenile Localized Scleroderma. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 2017; 69: 1082-1087.
  9. Kelsey CE and Torok KS. The Localized Scleroderma Cutaneous Assessment Tool: responsiveness to change in a pediatric clinical population. J Am Acad Dermatol 2013; 69: 214-220
  10. Kurzinski K and Torok KS. Cytokine profiles in localized scleroderma and relationship to clinical features. Cytokine 2011; 55: 157-164.
  11. Magee KE, Kelsey CE, Kurzinski KL, et al. Interferon-gamma inducible protein-10 as a potential biomarker in localized scleroderma. Arthritis research & therapy 2013; 15: R188.
  12. Poff S, Li SC, Kelsey CE, et al. Durometry as an outcome measure in juvenile localized scleroderma. Br J Dermatol 2016; 174: 228-230.
  13. Torok KS. Pediatric scleroderma: systemic or localized forms. Pediatric clinics of North America 2012; 59: 381-405.
  14. Torok KS and Arkachaisri T. Methotrexate and corticosteroids in the treatment of localized scleroderma: a standardized prospective longitudinal single-center study. J Rheumatol 2012; 39: 286-294
  15. Torok KS, Kurzinski K, Kelsey C, et al. Peripheral blood cytokine and chemokine profiles in juvenile localized scleroderma: T-helper cell-associated cytokine profiles. Semin Arthritis Rheum 2015; 45: 284-293

A full list of Dr. Torok's publication can be found on NCBI

Research Interests

Kathryn S. Torok’s research is focused on the inflammatory and profibrotic cytokines involved in pediatric scleroderma. She uses a translational approach by comparing these proteins in serum and skin biopsy specimens with clinical parameters of disease activity and damage in her pediatric scleroderma cohort. Understanding which key inflammatory mediators are present during the active phase of disease may foster the development of more effective therapies in localized scleroderma to prevent disease damage, such as limb-length discrepancy and skin and muscle atrophy.