Lupus Foundation Announces 2019 Research Fellows

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Lupus Foundation of America’s (LFA) Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship Program aims to cultivate the next generation of lupus researchers. This year, six new members are well on their way.

The students’ projects focus on scientific areas including genetics, lupus nephritis, disease education, and neuropsychiatric lupus.

”The Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship Program is an incredibly important grant opportunity. It helps motivate and initiate young generations of students into lupus research, a field that must continue to grow,” Christina Drenkard, MD, PhD and mentor to a 2019 program fellow, said in a press release.

”This program provides students with a rich, hands-on experience by conducting their own study during the summer. It’s a unique opportunity for these young scientists, and elevates lupus research early in their education,” Drenkard said.

The fellows are spending their summer exploring areas vital to the field’s advancement. Their work is expected to contribute to new treatments, prevention strategies and educational solutions to better understand, detect, and treat lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks tissues and organs. Each fellow is mentored by an established lupus researcher.

The 35-year-old program, named after the late daughter of former LFA president Sergio Finzi, has supported some 200 young investigators across North America, many of whom have become prominent lupus scientists.

This year’s fellows are:

“We are committed to ensuring the lupus research field is growing, and that means investing in young scientists with an interest in lupus research,” said Stevan W. Gibson, the LFA’s president and CEO. He called the program “an unparalleled opportunity that makes it possible for students pursuing their education to advance their lupus research career path.”

The LFA estimates that lupus affects at least five million people — mostly women — globally, including 1.5 million U.S. residents.