Lupus Foundation of America Awards Four Grants to Early Career Scientists, Supporting Crucial Areas of Research and Growth in the Field
The Lupus Foundation of America is proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 Gary S. Gilkeson Career Development Award (CDA), a two-year grant focusing on critical lupus research while supporting early career scientists at the beginning of their careers, helping to ensure continued growth in the lupus research field.
The 2021 recipients are:
- Irene Chernova, MD, PhD, Yale University
- Andrea Fava, MD, Johns Hopkins University
- Carolina Munoz Grajales, MD, Toronto Western Hospital
- Jordan Roberts, MD, Boston Children’s Hospital
“It’s incredibly important that the lupus researchers of the future are given opportunities early in their careers to have their research projects funded while working with established researchers to help guide them along the way. The Lupus Foundation of America’s Gary S. Gilkeson Career Development Award supports young scientists at this pivotal time in their research careers, playing an integral part in ensuring they commit to the lupus research field,” said Karen H. Costenbader, MD, MPH, Chair of the Lupus Foundation of America’s Medical-Scientific Advisory Council.
This year’s grantees will focus their research on cognition, pediatric lupus, lupus nephritis and B-cell therapies.
Joseph Craft, MD, Yale University, Paul B. Beeson Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology) and Professor of Immunobiology; Program Director, Investigative Medicine, one of this year’s grantee mentors stresses the importance of young scientists being supported early in their careers. “The Lupus Foundation of America’s Gary S. Gilkeson Career Development Award provides research funding that supports young investigators during a crucial time in their careers, as they transition to running their own clinical and translational research programs devoted to the understanding of lupus and design of better treatments,” shared Dr. Craft. “The mentorship aspect of the grant program enables us to pass along our knowledge to future investigators, and help young investigators develop the skills to run research teams and thrive as the lupus researchers of the future.”
The 2021 Career Development Award recipients are committed to advancing the field by studying the following important areas of lupus research:
- Irene Chernova, MD, PhD, will study B cell therapies, common treatments for people with lupus, and their effects on organs with high salt content such as the kidney. She will study pathways inside of cells that are activated when a B cell is present in a high salt environment, aiming to create organ-targeted B cell therapies to decrease side effects such as lowered immune function.
- Andrea Fava, MD, will study the links between IL-16, a chemokine induced by the body during an immune response, and lupus nephritis. Dr. Fava will study this relationship through the use of kidney biopsies and groundbreaking technology known as spatial transcriptomics, which measures and maps gene activity within a tissue sample. His work hopes to create a greater understanding of lupus nephritis and treatment strategies to prevent further kidney inflammation and scarring.
- Carolina Munoz Grajales, MD, aims to define clinical subtypes of cognitive impairment in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and predict risks of cognitive impairment investigated blood biomarkers and using various novel data analyses techniques. Her study hopes to help alleviate the burden of disease due to cognitive impairment and improve the overall health related quality of life among people with lupus.
- Jordan Roberts, MD, will examine hospitalizations and emergency department visits for infections in children with lupus, including the number and types of infections that children with lupus get, in order to better understand the burden of serious infections in pediatric lupus and how certain medications may increase risk of infections. Her study will provide clinicians with better information to select the safest treatments.
Learn more about the Gary S. Gilkeson Career Development Award and its 2021 grantees, here.