Autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), are commonly described as “complex” diseases, but what does “complex” mean?
To a patient with an autoimmune disease, “complex” often means years of undiagnosed symptoms that increase in occurrence and severity over time. It can mean multiple physicians and several invasive diagnostics tests before finally receiving a confirmed diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, “complex” means a lifelong battle against vicious cycles of remission and disease flare and a regimen of intensive immunosuppressive therapies.
At the molecular and genomic level, “complex” refers to the thousands of genetic variations that collectively modify how the immune system responds to environmental triggers to stimulate the onset and progression of autoimmune disease.
Our research is aimed at unraveling the genetic and molecular complexities of autoimmune disease in order to better understand the precise mechanisms that drive disease pathology and reveal new regulatory pathways for targeted drug discovery. We use state-of-the-art technologies to perform high-throughput genomic sequencing coupled with advanced bioinformatics, and functional analyses to define the molecular pathways that intersect genetics, environment, and disease phenotypes.