Nov. 09, 2015

Two Prominent Investigators Recognized For Their Achievements In Lupus Research

Two prominent clinician-scientists are the 2015 recipients of prestigious career awards that recognize their important achievements in research on the autoimmune disease lupus.  Dr. Mariana J. Kaplan of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health received the Evelyn V. Hess Award. Dr. Timothy B. Niewold of Mayo Clinic received the Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize.

Drs. Kaplan and Niewold accepted their awards on November 8th at an awards reception hosted by the Foundation coinciding with the American College of Rheumatology’s 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Evelyn V. Hess Award which recognizes the pioneers responsible for significant advancement in lupus research. Previous awardees were present, along with more than 200 researchers involved in the study of lupus.

“We are proud to honor Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Niewold with these prestigious awards,” said Dr. Gary Gilkeson, Professor of Medicine/Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina and the chair the Lupus Foundation of America’s Medical-Scientific Advisory Council.  “Their research is helping us better understand the causes of lupus and its complications, getting us closer to new and improved ways to treat lupus and the organ damage it creates.”

Dr. Kaplan is the Chief of the Systemic Autoimmunity Branch in the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at National Institutes of Health. Her research focuses on lupus-related organ damage, including cardiovascular disease—one of the leading manifestations of lupus. Dr. Kaplan has identified mechanisms that are critical to the development, as well as prevention, of premature atherosclerosis in people with lupus.  

Dr. Niewold is a rheumatologist at Mayo Clinic and an associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. His research focuses on the role of genetics and immune system signaling molecules in the development and progression of lupus and his insights are important to the development of individualize therapies for people with lupus.

The Evelyn V. Hess Award is presented to an outstanding investigator whose work has significantly advanced understanding of the causes and management of lupus.  The award is named after Dr. Evelyn Hess, an internationally known expert in lupus, with a special interest in the area of the environmental aspects of the disease. Dr. Hess is a true trailblazer in lupus research who has had a remarkable career. She is a master of both the American College of Rheumatology and the American College of Physicians, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, as well as the Royal Society of Medicine. 

The Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize is presented to recognize exceptional achievements by an investigator in the early part of his or her lupus research career. The award was named after the late Dr. Mary Betty Stevens, who was chair of the rheumatology division at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center.  She was the first woman to occupy a division chair at that institution. She also was the director of rheumatology at Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore.  Dr. Stevens developed the Hopkins-Good Samaritan Rheumatic Disease Unit, which became renowned for clinical research on lupus and vasculitis.

For additional information about the awards and the Lupus Foundation of America’s comprehensive research initiative, please visit