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Featured First Author Profiles

Pr. Arsene Mekinian (1)Pr. Arsene Mekinian received his diploma in Internal Medicine from Descartes University in France and his PhD at the University of Paris 13.

Since 2015, he has been a Professor at Sorbonne University in France and is involved in the clinical research of autoimmune diseases, and in particular Takayasu arteritis. He is involved in the design and collaboration in various French and international trials of autoimmune diseases. He is also at the head of French national network on the dysimmune disorders associated to hemopathies and cancer, called “MINHEMON”. Outside his work, Arsene likes soccer and “boxe anglaise”.

Tocilizumab in treatment-naïve patients with Takayasu arteritis: TOCITAKA French prospective multicenter open-labeled trial
Arsene Mekinian et al.
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2020 22:218
Published on: 17 September 2020

Other published articles in Arthritis Research & Therapy by Pr. Mekinian can be found here.

Lorenzo Ramos-MucciLorenzo Ramos-Mucci received his Bachelor’s degree at Yale University, USA and his Master’s degree at the University of Twente, Netherlands both in Biomedical Engineering. Previously, he also worked in the Laboratory for Lipid Medicine and Technology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, USA. Lorenzo is currently finishing his PhD at the University of Liverpool, UK where he worked in the Department of Musculoskeletal Biology on ligament pathology during osteoarthritis (OA) progression, exploring OA disease markers, ligament fibroblast markers, ligament viscoelastic mechanical properties and single-cell RNA-seq. Recently, Lorenzo has started a new research role at the University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, focusing on tendon transcriptomics.

Outside of the laboratory, Lorenzo enjoys playing and watching football (soccer), and exploring new places with family and friends.

Meniscal and ligament modifications in spontaneous and post-traumatic mouse models of osteoarthritis
Lorenzo Ramos-Mucci et al. 
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2020 22:171
Published on: 6 July 2020

New Content ItemDr Kevin Ming-Chin Lee received his Bachelor degree in Biomedical Science and PhD at the University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His major research contribution has been towards the understanding of cytokine-mediated functions of macrophage lineage cells in inflammation and in musculoskeletal conditions, namely rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA), thereby identifying and validating potential therapeutic targets for their treatment. Since 2015, he has been a member of the Department of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, working with his colleagues to advance our understanding of rheumatoid diseases. Outside of research, he loves travelling around the world and shares such experiences with his beloved family and friends.

IL-23 in arthritic and inflammatory pain development in mice
Kevin M.-C. Lee et al.
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2020 22:123
Published on: 7 July 2020

Paola Di BenedettoDr. Paola Di Benedetto graduated with a degree in Biological Science from "La Sapienza" University of Rome. In 2013, she received her PhD in Internal Medicine and Applied Immunology at University of L’Aquila. Afterwards, from 2013 until 2015, she was a post-doc fellow at University of L’Aquila. Furthermore, she was invited Visiting Research Fellow at University of Leeds (UK), focusing her research activity on the identification of new biomarkers in autoimmune diseases. She has carried out several studies on Systemic Sclerosis pathogenesis, focusing on the mechanisms that starting with vascular damage leads to fibrosis. Beginning with the characterization of mesenchymal stem cells isolated from SSc patients, she has systematically documented the molecular alterations and immunomodulatory properties of these MSCs. At present, Paola Di Benedetto is Assistant Professor in Clinical Pathology at University of Aquila and co-author of over 49 published scientific articles and reviews.

Interleukin-32 in systemic sclerosis, a potential new biomarker for pulmonary arterial hypertension
Paola Di Benedetto et al.
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2020 22:127
Published on: 1 June 2020

Other published articles in Arthritis Research & Therapy by Dr. Di Benedetto can be found here.

Grunde WibetoeDr. Grunde Wibetoe began his career in research with projects using phospho flow cytometry to study intracellular T-cell signaling in HIV during his years as a medicine student at the University of Oslo. Due to his interest in immunology and rheumatology, he commenced a specialty in rheumatology before he joined the research group at Department of Rheumatology at Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo. Here, he completed his PhD in 2019 which focused on cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular risk prediction in patients with chronic inflammatory joint diseases. Now, besides participating in a few research projects, he is currently focusing on clinical practice at the Department of Internal Medicine at Oslo University Hospital. After working hours he hurry to get back home to play with his daughter before bed time. Soon, the family of three will expand as a new little girl is soon to arrive. His life-long interest have been learning new sports, an interest he hopes his two daughters might adopt.

Prediction of cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis using risk age calculations: evaluation of concordance across risk age models
Grunde Wibetoe et al.
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2020 22:90
Published on: 23 April 2020

Other published articles in Arthritis Research & Therapy by Dr. Wibetoe can be found here.

Seungwon RyuSeungwon Ryu is a Ph.D. student and a participant of the Basic Research Training Program for MD at the Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea. Ryu received his B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from KAIST and his M.D. degree from Konkuk University School of Medicine, South Korea. His interest in autoimmune rheumatic diseases grew from a visiting experience at the Lupus Center of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, under the mentorship of Dr. Michelle Petri. To study the immunology of rheumatic diseases in earnest, he joined the lab of Dr. Hye Young Kim in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine. Ryu is interested in the pathogenic mechanism of SLE with the contribution of the innate immune response. Unlike adaptive immune cells, which have been well studied in the mechanism of SLE, the role of innate immune cells in this chronic inflammation has not received much attention until recently. In particular, the roles of Innate Lymphoid Cells (ILCs), the innate counterpart of adaptive T cells, are emerging in autoimmune diseases. Currently, Ryu is studying the role of ILCs in SLE from a variety of perspectives, using both patient samples and mouse disease models. Outside of work, he enjoys skiing and travelling with his family.

Reduction of circulating innate lymphoid cell progenitors results in impaired cytokine production by innate lymphoid cells in patients with lupus nephritis
Seungwon Ryu et al. 
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2020 22:63
Published on: 29 March 2020

Lukas BütikoferDr. Lukas Bütikofer received his diploma in Biochemistry from the ETH Zurich in Switzerland and did a PhD at the University of Zurich. He investigated the synaptic protease neurotrypsin at the neuromuscular junction and found that an overexpression of neurotrypsin leads to premature sarcopenia, a muscle wasting disease associated with aging. Driven by his interest in quantitative methods and evidence-based medicine, Lukas did a specialized master in Biostatistics at the University of Zurich. In his master thesis, he investigated the effect of browsing by deer on tree seedlings using a large data set and machine learning methods. Since 2014 he is working at the CTU (clinical trials unit) at the University of Bern and was involved in the design and analysis of various clinical trials, observational studies and meta-analyses in the fields of rheumatology, pain medicine, oncology, infectiology and anesthesiology. Outside his work, Lukas likes diving and skiing, and very recently, he started paragliding. From time to time, he enjoys a game of table soccer, which always reminds him of his time as a student.

ACE inhibitors in SSc patients display a risk factor for scleroderma renal crisis—a EUSTAR analysis
Lukas Bütikofer et al. 
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2020 22:59
Published on: 24 March 2020

Waka Yokoyama-KokuryoDr. Waka Yokoyama-Kokuryo received clinical and research training and undertook doctor’s degree in the department of Rheumatology at Tokyo Medical and Dental University. In her career, she has conducted research on chemokines in the patients with rheumatoid arthritis and research using microarrays. Since 2018, she has been a member of the Department of Rheumatology at Chubu Rosai Hospital, working with her colleagues to treat patients with rheumatic diseases. Outside of work, she loves cooking, thinking about what to cook for dinner, and choosing the wine which goes well to the dishes to enjoy meals with her family and friends. Currently, she is looking forward to going on a trip to enjoy local delicacies and the hot springs.

Identification of molecules associated with response to abatacept in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
Waka Yokoyama-Kokuryo et al. 
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2020 22:46
Published on: 12 March 2020

Giovanni CagnottoDr. Giovanni Cagnotto received his MD in Medicine in Italy at the University of Pavia, one of the oldest Universities in Europe, where he also got his specialization in Rheumatology, defending a thesis on IgG4-related disease written in collaboration with Lund University, in Sweden. Since 2018, he has been a PhD student at Lund University, with research focusing on potential clinical and ultrasonographic predictors of treatment response in rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Cagnotto is also working as rheumatologist at Skåne University Hospital in Lund-Malmö where he is the head of the Department of Rheumatology’s Clinical Trial Unit. His interests lie in evidence-based medicine and as such, he is working on several systematic literature reviews. Outside work, he is interested in economics and ancient history, and loves fencing, teaching fencing to kids and going skiing with his family.

Abatacept in rheumatoid arthritis: survival on drug, clinical outcomes, and their predictors—data from a large national quality register
Giovanni Cagnotto et al

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2020 22:15
Published on: 22 January 2020

Richard BellDr. Richard Bell performed his undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology. During his studies he performed research with Dr. Sandra Shultz understanding the genetic contribution to Anterior Cruciate Ligament laxity in the context of altering the risk of ACL rupture. After graduating he performed post-baccalaureate research with Dr. Lori Setton and Dr. Sam Adams at Duke University investigating the relationship between histological changes, pain, and NF-kB activity in response to both direct and indirect NF-kB antagonists with various drug delivery methodologies in a post-traumatic osteoarthritis model. Richard then entered graduate school at the University of Rochester Medical Center in the Cell Biology of Disease graduate program. He joined the lab of Dr. Edward Schwarz in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research in which he focused on elucidating the role of the lymphatic system in rheumatoid arthritis. Once finished with his graduate studies, he joined the lab of Dr. Lionel Ivashkiv at the Hospital for Special Surgery where he is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow studying the trafficking of immune cells to inflamed joints and their respective draining lymph nodes in the context of inflammatory arthritis.

Outside of research, he has a passion for both soccer and college basketball. Specifically, he loves Duke Basketball, having grown up in Durham, North Carolina and Liverpool soccer club. He also has a love for jazz, funk and rock and roll, having played in bands in high school and college.

iNOS dependent and independent phases of lymph node expansion in mice with TNF-induced inflammatory-erosive arthritis
Richard D. Bell et al.
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2019 21:240
Published on: 14 November 2019

Takuya TomizawaDr. Takuya Tomizawa, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in rheumatoid arthritis. He is currently a graduate student at Kyoto University in Japan, where his research focuses on the management of biofilm on implant related infection using murine models. He also participates in some clinical research analysis with a rheumatoid arthritis-cohort. When not engaged in scientific research, he enjoys exploring different types of music and watching rugby. 

Distinct biomarkers for different bones in osteoporosis with rheumatoid arthritis
Takuya Tomizawa et al
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2019 21:174
Published on: 15 July 2019

Yoshiya TanakaDr. Yoshiya Tanaka, M.D., Ph.D. is the Professor and Chairman of the First Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine (2000-present) and Dean of Graduate School of Medical Science (2017-present), University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan. He was a visiting fellow in Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA (1989-92). Professor Tanaka authored and reviewed 626 publications (impact factor 2603, h-index 70) in English, including Nature, New Engl J Med, Lancet and many other major journals. His scientific focus lies on pathological analysis and development of novel treatment in systemic autoimmune diseases, rheumatic diseases and endocrine metabolic diseases, including osteoporosis. He is the President of Japanese Association of Clinical Immunology (JSCI) and Vice-President of Japanese Society of Bone and Mineral Research (JSBMR). He is a Chair of Scientific Committee of Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology (APLAR), a Chair of Committee for International Affairs in the Japanese College of Rheumatology (JCR) and a director board member of Japanese Society of Inflammation and Regeneration and many. He is also an editor-in-chief of Modern Rheumatology Case Reports, an associate editor of Rheumatology, Cytokine, Arthritis Care and Research, Arthritis Research & Therapy, Inflammation Research, International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases and many, an editorial board member of Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, RMD Open, Modern Rheumatology, Inflammation Research, etc. He has received numerous awards from Japanese Society of Inflammation, JSBMR, JCR and EULAR, etc.

The effect of deep or sustained remission on maintenance of remission after dose reduction or withdrawal of etanercept in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
Yoshiya Tanaka et al.
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2019 21:164
Published on: 5 July 2019

Other published articles in Arthritis Research & Therapy by Dr. Tanaka can be found here.

Helen GosseltHelen Gosselt began her career in science by obtaining her bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences and a master’s degree in oncology from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. At the moment, she is working as a PhD student at the department of Clinical Chemistry of the Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam and at the Department of Clinical Chemistry at the Amsterdam University Medical Centre in Amsterdam. Her research focuses on clinical and laboratory predictors of methotrexate response and the use of therapeutic drug monitoring of methotrexate in early rheumatoid arthritis patients. She is especially interested in the role of DNA methylation and the application of machine learning tools to predict treatment response and thinks that there are many more great opportunities in the application of such tools in the healthcare domain. When she is not doing research, she enjoys trying new activities and outdoor sports.

Higher baseline global leukocyte DNA methylation is associated with MTX non-response in early RA patients
Helen Gosselt et al.
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2019 21:157
Published on: 26 June 2019​​​​​​​

Stefano AliverniniDr. Stefano Alivernini is an academic researcher in Rheumatology at the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome (Italy). He undertook his medical degree and specialty training in Rheumatology at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome and completed his PhD in Clinical Proteomics at the University of Verona. After the subspecialty degree in Rheumatology he took part to the “Inflammatory Arthritis Fellowship Program” during which he did his training, as research fellow, on synovial tissue biopsy and basic and translational science at the Institute of Clinical Immunology of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam and at the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation of the University of Glasgow. His research activity is mainly focused on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis with specific interest on synovitis, mechanisms leading to tissue inflammation and its resolution and on biomarkers discovery for personalised medicine in inflammatory arthritis treatment (from multiple fields as epigenetics, omics, autoimmunity and pro-resolving mediators). In particular, his own interests lie in finding biomarkers predicting successful remission in response to current treatments aiming to develop algorithm for personalized medicine for RA and PsA. He is in chief of the synovial tissue biopsy unit (SYNGem) at the Division of Rheumatology of the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, which is actively involved in translational studies and tissue-driven clinical trials. He is a member of the European Synovitis Study Group (ESSG) and of the Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathogenesis Centre of Excellence (RACE) network in collaboration with the Universities of Glasgow, Newcastle and Birmingham. Stefano is a member of the EMEUNET (Emerging EULAR Network) Country Liaison subgroup. Outside of work his passions are arts and travelling.

Differential synovial tissue biomarkers among psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid factor/anti-citrulline antibody-negative rheumatoid arthritis
Stefano Alivernini et al.

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2019 21:116
Published on: 9 May 2019

Other published articles in Arthritis Research & Therapy by Dr. Alivernini can be found here.

Debbie BoetersDr. Debbie Boeters is an academic researcher in Rheumatology at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Her research focuses mainly on early identification of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. One of her studies details the additional value of MRI-detected erosions and inflammation and of novel autoantibodies. She found that thus far, their value in improving early identification of RA patients is limited. One of the difficulties is that RA is considered to be a heterogeneous disease, probably consisting of separate disease subsets, besides ACPA positive and ACPA negative RA. Especially ACPA negative RA is considered to consist of separate disease subsets. In part of her research, she aimed to differentiate ACPA negative RA patients in subgroups based on the clinical outcome. To this end, she studied the achievement of sustained DMARD-free remission, which currently can be considered the best clinical outcome. Mechanisms underlying the achievement of sustained DMARD-free remission remain unclear but she aims to get more insight into this relevant outcome.

Besides research she also likes to be involved in patient care, and recently started her training to become a rheumatologist. Outside of work she loves to spend time outside, either cycling or walking through nature.

ACPA-negative RA consists of subgroups: patients with high likelihood of achieving sustained DMARD-free remission can be identified by serological markers at disease presentation
Debbie M. Boeters et al.
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2019 21:121
Published on: 14 May 2019

Other published articles in Arthritis Research & Therapy by Dr. Boeters can be found here.

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