Rheumatology Research​

Our physicians participate in a variety of clinical research projects managed by Marisa Klein-Gitelman, MD, many of which are sponsored by various national organizations including the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance, and the Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Study Group​

Lauren Pachman, MD , is a world-renowned researcher in juvenile myositis. Megan Curran, MD , researches medical education. Michael Miller, MD, researches patient-centered outcomes in children with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. Learn more about our physician’s specific research interests below.

Research areas​ include:

  • Epidemiology of rheumatic diseases
  • Characterization of the immune and vascular response in children with myositis
  • Clinical trials (medication, descriptive, treatment protocols)
  • Patient-centered outcomes and quality of life in children with arthritis

In addition to our clinical trials, we’re focusing on the following initiatives:

Dr. Klein-Gitelman’s Resea​rch

Dr. Klein-Gitelman’s research includes projects investi​gating pediatric lupus:

  • Evaluation of thinking processes at onset of lupus and potential damage over time
  • Participation in a NIH-funded project to evaluate possible lupus genetic risk factors
  • Assessment of medical therapies of the treatment of lupus, including drug delivery and metabolism
  • Assessment of tools to monitor pediatric lupus disease activity and damage
  • Assessment of potential markers that detect the onset of disease activity
She is also involved in projects investigating health services and the economic burden of childhood rheumatic diseases.

Dr. Pachm​an’s Research

Dr. Pachman runs a large research lab in addition to her clinical practice. Dr. Pachman’s patient database is computerized and is linked to a sera bank which contains over 20,000 samples gathered by Dr. Pachman and her staff over the past 20 years.

Dr. Pachman’s research interests center on the regulation of the immune response, both in children with vascular involvement and with rheumatic disease. Her specific focus is the study of factors affecting the onset and course of the most common pediatric inflammatory myopathy, juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM).

This focus is implemented by both a national NIH-funded study of the epidemiology of JDM (JDM — New Onset Juvenile Dermatomyositis Research Registry) and a NIAMS-sponsored laboratory-based investigation of genetic and immunological factors that may be associated with a short vs. a long disease course. The course of the disease is altered by therapy; prednisone and other steroids are the primary drugs now used to treat pediatric vascular inflammation.

Another study reviews data provided by children admitted to the Clinical Research Center (no patient charges for study) regarding how vascular inflammation alters the absorption and metabolism of prednisone when the drug is given by mouth as compared to intravenous administration. In addition, other new biological agents are under investigation for their effect on JDM and other pediatric rheumatic diseases.

Dr. Miller’​s Research

Dr. Miller’s research interests include health status and drug treatment of children with arthritis and related conditions. Miller’s research characterizes the extent of problems in different areas of health status, determining which problems are unique to arthritis patients and which problems are results of chronic illness in general. Such research will be increasingly important in justifying the need for special health services for children with chronic illness. Miller also coordinates and participates in studies of new drugs for treating children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.