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Thomas Winans

Thomas Winans

2019 Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Fellow

SUNY Upstate Medical University
Study Title: The Effects of Rab4A Q72L Knock-In Mutation on Interferons I/II Receptors, Behavior, and Brain Metabolome in a Mouse Model
Mentor: Andras Perl, M.D. Ph.D., SUNY Distinguished Professor, Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Chief, Division of Rheumatology

About the Researcher

Winans graduated with a degree in cell biology from Cornell University. He is now at SUNY Upstate Medical University completing his doctorate in biochemistry. Upon completion of his doctorate he hopes to become a practicing rheumatologist with a dual career in treatment and research. 

How will your Lupus Foundation of America Grant help advance your research career?

“As long as I can remember, I have always been interested in the immune system and the role of autoimmunity in disease. This grant will provide me the opportunity to further my studies on interferon receptors, mouse behavior, and brain metabolomics as a funded professional investigator.”

Summary from Winans’s Research Proposal 

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a serious and sometimes fatal disease in which the immune system inappropriately attacks the body. One form of SLE, known as neuropsychiatric SLE (NPSLE), attacks the central and peripheral nervous system. This causes a range of symptoms, including mood disorders, anxiety, and psychosis, along with seizures, demyelinating syndromes, and movement disorders. A better understanding of the fundamental causes of SLE and NPSLE will inevitably lead to improved diagnosis, treatments, and prevention. NPSLE patients display elevated levels of two circulating proteins called interferons that are important regulatory components of the immune system. Interferons are detected by membrane-spanning interferon receptors called interferon α/β receptors (IFNARs). Dr. Perl’s lab has developed genetic tools to artificially overexpress these receptors in laboratory mice. In this proposal, we will exploit these genetic tools to study the consequences of IFNAR overexpression on the behavior and brain chemistry of these mice.

Meet the Researcher

Learn more about research funded by the Lupus Foundation of America

For more information on Lupus Foundation on America’s granted research, please contact Ashley Marion at