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Pediatrics / Rheumatology Division / Current Research

Current Research

Our recent growth has enabled the Division to expand its research efforts. The Division is a member of the Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group (PRCSG), a consortium of pediatric rheumatology programs across North America that participate in multicenter therapeutic trials, often, but not exclusively, industry sponsored. Studies are periodically initiated and the Division participates based on target population appropriateness. Membership in CARRA (Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance) also provides networking with other North American pediatric rheumatology centers for research collaboration.

In addition, studies of pediatric rheumatology patients are underway to monitor long-term efficacy and adverse effects of adalimumab; to utilize ultrasound and Doppler to characterize growth plate anatomy in children with asymmetric juvenile arthritis including comparison with contralateral, uninvolved joints; and investigate the therapeutic effect of low and high dose Vitamin D administration in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Funding for these projects come from NIH, industry and some intramural in-kind support.

On the other end of the spectrum, our laboratory work involves the development of mouse models to understand the pathophysiology of inflammatory arthritis with the goal of identifying markers of emerging and evolving synovitis to be translated to the clinical realm.

Research Projects

David M. Siegel, M.D., M.P.H.

Chief, Division of Rheumatology and Immunology

David M. Siegel, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Siegel's research interests include descriptive and natural history studies of pediatric rheumatologic diseases, particularly juvenile arthritis and fibromyalgia syndrome, as well as serving as Principal Investigator on clinical trials of therapeutic interventions for pediatric rheumatologic disorders. He has also been involved in designing and evaluating school based high risk sexual behavior prevention interventions.

Research / Sponsored Programs

  • Site PI. Vitamin D3 Effects on Immune Function in Pediatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. NIH/NIAID.
  • Co-PI. Joint Ultrasound for Characterization of Growth Plates in Children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. (Marston, Co-PI)
  • PI. A Long-Term, Multi-Center, Longitudinal Post-Marketing, Observational Registry to Assess Long Term Safety and Effectiveness of HUMIRA® (Adalimumab) in Children with Moderate to Severe Active Polyarticular or Polyarticular Course Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) – STRIVE. Abbott Pharmaceuticals.

Research Networks

  • Member, Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group

Bethany A. Marston, M.D.

Assistant Professor, Pediatrics and Medicine

Bethany A. Marston, M.D.

Dr. Marston’s research interests focus on understanding characteristics of psoriasis patients that may predispose to the development of psoriatic arthritis, exploring optimal use of musculoskeletal ultrasound for diagnosis, monitoring response to therapy, and guidance of arthrocentesis in children with inflammatory arthritis, and understanding and improving the process of transition of care between pediatric and adult rheumatologic services.

Research / Sponsored Programs

  • Co-PI. Joint Ultrasound for Characterization of Growth Plates in Children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.  (Marston, Co-PI)
  • Study Collaborator, Imaging and Cellular Markers of Arthritis in Psoriasis Patients. (Ritchlin, PI)

Homaira Rahimi, M.D., M.T.R.

Assistant Professor, Pediatrics

Homaira Rahimi, M.D.

Dr. Rahimi’s research interests focus on imaging of lymph nodes as a marker for arthritic flare in rheumatoid arthritis, lymphangiogenesis in arthritic flare in murine model of erosive arthritis and intensive physical therapy as a treatment for amplified musculoskeletal pain.

Research / Sponsored Programs

  • PI: sGCβ1 sGC BETA1: A Potential Critical Regulator of the Lymphatic Pulse and Novel Target in Arthritic Flare.
    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a destructive, progressive disease that affects millions of adults, and its analogous disease in childhood, juvenile idiopathi arthritis, is the most common childhood rheumatic condition. Despite optimal management, people continue to suffer from episodic bouts of arthritis or "flares" for unknown reasons. The aims in this proposal expand from animal studies that show lymphatic dysfunction is a key event in arthritic flare and will examine if molecular targets in lymphatic vasculature that maintain flow are valid drug targets to ameliorate flare and improve function and quality of life for RA patients.
  • Co-I: Elucidating the Mechanisms of Arthritic Flare and Developing Treatments. 
    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most prevalent autoimmune disease, which affects ~1% of our population, and is manifested by episodic flares of joint inflammation, pain and tissue destruction. We discovered that arthritic flare can be caused by the loss of lymphatic drainage from the affected joint. We are testing the theory that drugs that increase lymphatic drainage may be effective therapies to treat RA flares.

Research Networks

  • Member, American College of Rheumatology (ACR)
  • Member, Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA)

Fellowship Research

View research projects of current and past fellows.

Also see Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology Research in the Department of Medicine.