Lupus Foundation of America Honors 2 Researchers

Ines Martins, PhD avatar

by Ines Martins, PhD |

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Lupus research

The Lupus Foundation of America presented two awards recognizing distinguished career achievements in lupus research to Dr Mariana J. Kaplan, of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Dr Timothy B. Niewold, of the Mayo Clinic, at a Nov. 8 foundation ceremony that coincided with the American College of Rheumatology’s 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, California.

Dr. Kaplan was granted the Evelyn V. Hess Award and Dr. Niewold received the Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize, the Lupus Foundation announced in a press release.

“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 chair of 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 currently serves as Chief of the Systemic Autoimmunity Branch in the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the NIH. The studies conducted by the investigator are focused on lupus-associated organ damage associated with lupus, such as cardiovascular disease, a leading consequence of this autoimmune disease. Throughout her career, Dr Kaplan has identified mechanisms crucial to the development and prevention of premature atherosclerosis in lupus patients.

The Evelyn V. Hess Award, named after the internationally known expert in environmental aspects of lupus, Dr. Evelyn Hess, is granted to pioneering researchers whose significant work allowed for the advance in the understanding of the causes and management of lupus.

Dr. Niewold, a rheumatologist at Mayo Clinic and an associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, received the Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize to distinguish his work, which focuses on the importance of genetics and immune system signaling molecules in the development and progression of lupus. The research has advanced the development of individualized therapies for lupus patients. The Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize is named after the late Dr. Mary Betty Stevens, who served as chair of the rheumatology division at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, becoming the first woman to occupy a division chair at that institution. The award is granted to investigators in the early stages of their research career who present outstanding achievements in the field of lupus.