Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology

Christopher Ritchlin

Christopher Ritchlin, M.D., MPH

M. D. 1982
Albany Medical College

Chief, Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology

Research Overview

The focus of Dr. Ritchlin’s laboratory is directed towards understanding the mechanisms that underlie pathologic bone resorption and new bone formation in psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Using a translational approach, investigators in his lab are analyzing the cell surface molecules expressed by osteoclast and dendritic cell precursors with the goal to identify susceptibility and response biomarkers in patients with inflammatory arthritis. The lab is also studying the effect of anti-TNF agents on dendritic cell differentiation in RA and PsA patients. In addition, collaborative studies are underway with the lab of Dr. Eddie Schwarz to understand the mechanisms that are responsible for bone marrow edema as recorded on magnetic resonance imaging scans in inflammatory arthritis. The bulk of this work is performed in animal models but insights gained from these studies are applied to the study of human joint diseases such as psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Ritchlin is also the Director of the Clinical Immunology Research Unit where he is the principle investigator on several clinical trials testing the efficacy of anti-TNF agents and other biologic molecules in the treatment of psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. In the Clinical Immunology Research Unit, patient oriented research is conducted on multiple levels. Investigator New Drug (IND) trials of novel agents (adalimumab, rituximab) in the treatment of PsA and AS have been completed or are about to start. Additional trials have been performed to study the effect of TNF inhibition on the frequency of osteoclast precursors and enhancing bone marrow edema in PsA. The Unit also conducts multicenter trials with novel biologic agents such as rituximab and abatacept in PsA with special attention directed towards understanding how these agents alter bone remodeling in these disorders. Additional studies underway include microanalysis assays of synovium, skin and intestinal tissues in patients with Immune Mediated Inflammatory Disroders (IMIDs) before and after TNF inhibition. Future plans include the development of ultrasound outcome measures in collaboration with Dr. Ralf Thiele and Dr. Darren Tabechian, to assess synovial, lymph node and periarticular tissue responses to different therapies in inflammatory arthritis.

Dr. Ritchlin has mentored post-doctoral fellows and students in his lab in the past and continues to serve as a mentor for future scientists. He is very active in the Psoriatic Arthritis Clinic.

Select Publications

Ritchlin C, Haas-Smith S, Stroyer B, Schwarz E. Mechanisms of TNF-alpha- and RANKL-mediated osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption in psoriatic arthritis. J Clin Invest 111(6): 821-833, 2003. PMC153764

Chiu Y, Mensah K, Schwarz E, Ju Y, Feng C, McMahon L, Hicks D, Panepento B, Keng, P, Ritchlin CT. Regulation of Human Osteoclast Development by Dendritic Cell Surface Transmembrane Protein (DC-STAMP). J Bone Min Res. 2012 Jan:27(1):79-92.
doi: 10.1002/jbmr.531. PMC3304467

Chiu, YG, and Ritchlin CT (2013) Characterization of DC-STAMP+ Cells in Human Bone Marrow. J Bone Marrow Res 1: 127. doi:10.4172/2329-8820.1000127.

Chiu, YG, and Ritchlin CT (2012) Biomarkers to diagnose early arthritis in patients with psoriasis. Psoriasis Forum 18 (2):48-56.

Chiu YG, Shao T, Feng C, Mensah KA, Thullen M, Schwarz EM, Ritchlin CT. CD16 (FcRgIII) as a potential marker of osteoclast precursors in psoriatic arthritis. Arthritis Res Ther 2010, 12(1):R14. PMC2875642

The Ritchlin Lab

Ritchlin Lab


Christopher Ritchlin, M.D., MPH
University of Rochester
601 Elmwood Ave., Box 695
Rochester, NY 14642
Office: 585-275-2125

Lab Members

Grace Chiu, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor

Grace Chiu

Graduate Students:
Liz Marie Albertorio Sáez

Dongee Li