2016 - Vasilieos Kyttaris, MD
Mary Betty Stevens, MD, Young Investigator Prize
Dr. Vasilieos Kyttaris, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, received the 2016 Mary Betty Stevens, MD, Young Investigator Prize. The prize recognizes achievements in lupus research during the early part of an investigator's career. Dr. Kyttaris received his medical degree in 1994 from the University of Patras School Of Health Science in Greece and trained in rheumatology at the Washington Hospital Center and did his research fellowship with past Evelyn V. Hess, MD, MACP, MACR, Award Recipient, Dr. George Tsokos. In 2006, he moved with Dr. Tsokos to the Rheumatology Division of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center At Harvard Medical School, pursuing a career in translational research in lupus. He went on to receive his doctorate of science in medicine from the University of Athens in 2007. Dr. Kyttaris’s studies of cellular and molecular defects in t cells from patients with lupus focuses on the identification of new targets and biomarkers that could expand our understanding of the disease and its identification. During his fellowship he studied the expression of nuclear factor of activation of t cells in lupus and was able to show successfully how it is responsible for the increased expression of cd40 ligand, a process that is increased in SLE. Later he found that the commonly used drug, Dipyridamole, blocks the interaction of the phosphatase calcineurin with NFAT and subsequently its dephosphorylation and activation. Dipyridamole suppressed disease in lupus prone mice and is therefore a candidate adjuvant therapeutic for the treatment of patients with SLE. Dr. Kyttaris leads the weekly lupus clinic at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and organized the Beth Israel Lupus Patient Cohort which has more than 200 patients at this time. To date, Dr. Kyttaris has served on the editorial board of several prominent journals including Lupus, Rheumatology: Current Reports, Clinical Immunology, and Current Rheumatology Research. In 2013, he served as special issue editor for the Journal of Clinical Immunology which focused on the development of new therapies in lupus.