LFA's Medical-Scientific Advisory Council Spotlight - Dr. Gary Gilkeson
The Lupus Foundation of America looks to our Medical-Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) for guidance in our pursuits to advance lupus research, advocacy, public policy and education. The MSAC, a group of key opinion leaders in the lupus community, offers advice and recommendations to help shape the LFA’s fight against lupus. The LFA would like to highlight these individuals as thanks for their profound contribution to our knowledge of the best avenues to support people with lupus, their families, and caregivers. The MSAC’s sincere dedication to advancing science and medicine as it relates to lupus is invaluable to our organization and the entire lupus community. This “Spotlight” will focus on their personal accomplishments in patient care, diagnosis, treatment and research.
Our first feature in this series is on Dr. Gary Gilkeson, the Lupus Foundation of America’s MSAC Chair.
Gary S. Gilkeson, M.D.
Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development
Medical University of South Carolina
Dr. Gary Gilkeson’s clinical and research interests are in the disease systemic lupus erythematosus. His studies range from population based studies of lupus and clinical trials of new drugs in lupus to molecular studies of gene activation in lupus. Dr. Gilkeson’s focal interests are in ethnic disparities in lupus and the genetic/environmental interactions that lead to development of disease. He served as co-principal investigator of the Carolina Lupus Study which was a 10 year longitudinal follow up study of individuals with new onset of lupus in North and South Carolina assessing environmental and hormonal exposures, and is also the initiating investigator of the SLEIGH study which is “SLE in Gullah health”, a study of the genetic/environmental/disease characteristics of lupus in the Sea Island African American population of South Carolina and Georgia.
Dr. Gilkeson’s basic research interests are in the role of reactive nitrogen/oxygen species in lupus and the role of the estrogen receptor on the gender bias of lupus. A new area of investigation is the use of mesenchymal stem cells as a cellular therapy for the treatment of lupus. He is a Professor of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina where he is Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development for the
Dr. Gilkeson and his colleagues pioneered the study of nitric oxide and reactive intermediates in lupus (molecules that are important messengers involved in many physiological and pathological processes). Dr. Gilkeson explains the relationship between lupus and nitric oxide as such:
"The role of nitric oxide (NO) has expanded from being considered a perpetrator of tissue damage in the lupus kidney to play a role in T cell activation and atherosclerosis. Mutations in the nitric oxide synthase (a synthase is a protein that makes a biologic molecule) genes are also linked with the development of lupus."
Dr. Gilkeson on where the field is going, and what future research is needed to understand the relationship between lupus and nitric oxide:
"The field is moving quickly due to the recognition of other reactive intermediates (like reactive oxygen species) and additional mechanisms by which reactive intermediates impact disease. Further research is needed to define the role of mutations of nitric oxide synthases in development of lupus, the impact of mitochondrial NO production on T cell activity and the role of reactive intermediates in modulating damage in lupus nephritis."
Dr. Gilkeson on his work with the LFA:
"The LFA grant was the first grant I received for the study of nitric oxide in lupus. It began an area of research that continues to this day. The data obtained from the LFA grant enabled me to derive the data necessary to successfully receive an NIH RO1 that I have successfully renewed twice and is still ongoing. Thus, this support was critical in the early development of this field of study and my progression as a lupus researcher."
For more information on Dr. Gilkeson’s research, appointments and awards please see his Curriculum Vitae and his biosketch. Dr. Gilkeson is the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development and the Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.
We would like to thank Dr. Gilkeson not only for his outstanding work with the LFA but also for his critical role in moving lupus research forward.
Learn more about the LFA's MSAC.
See previous "Spotlights"