Timothy B. Niewold, M.D.
Dr. Niewold studies the pathogenesis of human autoimmune diseases, such as lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus), rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, and dermatomyositis. Dr. Niewold's laboratory is mapping the genetic factors that cause autoimmune diseases, and exploring the ways in which genetic variations alter the human immune response to result in disease. In lupus, he has established a large body of work demonstrating ways in which the normal immune response against viruses has been pathologically and persistently activated, resulting in autoimmune disease. Dr. Niewold also studies the different patterns of immune system activation that exist between people with the same autoimmune disease, as this should explain some of the heterogeneity in treatment responses we observe in autoimmunity.
Significance to patient care
The causes of human autoimmune disease are still unknown. Therefore, our current treatments for autoimmune disease are relatively non-specific, and result in fairly generalized immune system suppression. The work in Dr. Niewold's laboratory focuses on finding the causal molecules and pathways in human autoimmune disease. This knowledge will allow for the rational development of new therapies which target specific pathogenic molecules, and should also assist with establishing diagnoses and provide prognostic information in autoimmune diseases.
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