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Meet Our Team

Ingrid Avalos, MD
Dr. Avalos received her medical degree from Francisco Marroquin University in 1998 and completed her medical residency at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in 2003.   In 2005, she completed her Rheumatology Fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.   She has particular interests in Lupus, patients with pediatric lupus transitioning to an adult rheumatology practice, Scleroderma/Systemic sclerosis and Dermatomyositis. She is now available to see patients at BIDMC, BIDMC-Chestnut Hill and BID-Milton.

Fadi Badlissi, MD
Dr. Badlissi is a rheumatologist who treats autoimmune diseases and inflammatory arthritis, and provides medical management for orthopedic problems that do not require surgery such as arthritis, tendinitis and bursitis.  Dr. Badlissi has a special interest and expertise in gout, musculoskeletal ultrasound and in performing procedures such as corticosteroid injections with or without ultrasound guidance.

Clinical and Research Interests: 
Crystal induced arthritis (gout and pseudogout)
Musculoskeletal Ultrasound
Inflammatory arthritis
Rheumatic diseases in the elderly

Arturo Diaz, MD
Dr. Diaz’s specialty is Rheumatology with a special interest in Hereditary Periodic Febrile Syndromes (Familial Mediterranean Fever, TNF-Receptor Associated Periodic Syndrome, Cryopyrin- Associated Periodic Syndromes, Hyper IgD Syndrome); Systemic Autoimmune Diseases and Vasculitis. He received his MD from the Universidad Nac. Autonoma de Mexico School of Medicine, where he also completed his internship and residency followed by a Fellowship in Rheumatology. He then completed an additional residency in Internal Medicine at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. A second fellowship in rheumatology followed at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Michele Finnell ANP-BC
Ms. Finnell holds a Masters Degree in Nursing from Boston University and is Board Certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner in the State of Massachusetts. She has been a Nurse Practitioner at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center specializing in Rheumatology since 1995 and before that she was a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Orthopedics and Rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center since 1988. Michele cares for and treats patients in the Rheumatology Office. Michele also maintains all of the legal documentation pertaining to human subject involvement in Research for the Rheumatology Division and coordinates all of the research efforts clinically. 

Lisa M. Fitzgerald, MD
Dr. Fitzgerald is the Co-Director of the Lupus Center of Excellence at BIDMC. She received her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA and completed an internship and residency at Mount Auburn Hospital in Internal Medicine, Cambridge, MA following with a Clinical Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Rheumatology and a Clinical Fellowship at the University of Connecticut Health Science Center in Rheumatology in Farmington, CT. Dr. Fitzgerald is available to see patients both at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Mount Auburn Hospital. 

Irina Gavanescu-Stockton, MD, PhD
Dr. Gavanescu-Stockton received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila” Medicine, Bucharest, Romania in 1995 and her PhD in Immunology and Virology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  She completed a research fellowship at the Joslin Diabetes Center studying how autoimmunity elicits chronic inflammation and medical residency at the Cambridge Health Alliance Internal Medicine in 2013. She graduated from the BIDMC Rheumatology Fellowship in 2016 and is available to see patients at the Longwood practice where she has an interest in General Clinical Rheumatology and Lupus.‚Äč

Jonathan Hausmann, MD
Dr. Hausmann received his medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 2008. He completed residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, and pursued combined training in pediatric and adult rheumatology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  With Dr. Arturo Diaz, he created the Autoinflammatory Diseases Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a specialized center designed to diagnose and treat adults with known or suspected autoinflammatory diseases or periodic fever syndromes. A native Venezuelan, Dr. Hausmann is also interested in the care of Latino patients with rheumatic illnesses, adolescents and young adults transitioning their care from pediatric providers, as well as general rheumatology. He enjoys teaching and exploring the use of technology and social media in healthcare. Dr. Hausmann is available to see patients at BIDMC and BIDHC-Chelsea.

Vasileios Kyttaris, MD
Dr. Kyttaris spends most of his time in translational and bench-top research in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). After coming to BIDMC in 2006, he became the principal investigator of a dedicated lupus research program and spearheaded the creation of the BIDMC lupus patient cohort. The focus of his laboratory work has been the characterization of SLE T cell phenotypes and their role in the development of organ damage. He has published a series of papers on aberrant SLE T cell calcium responses to TCR engagement and received a mentored K award from the NIH. Moreover, his work on the role of interleukin 23 in SLE resulted in several peer reviewed publications and the awarding of an RO1 grant.

He also cares for patients with SLE and other rheumatic diseases on an inpatient and outpatient basis, precepts rheumatology fellows and teaches medicine residents at BIDMC during patient encounters.  In 2017, he was named Program Director of the BIDMC Rheumatology Fellowship Program.  Finally, he teaches history taking, physical examination skills and immunology to medical students.

Clinical and Research Interests: Systemic Autoimmunity

Jennifer M. Nashel, MD
Dr. Nashel received her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. She completed an internship and residency at Rush University Medicine Center in Internal Medicine, Chicago, Il, and completed a fellowship at Georgetown University Hospital in Rheumatology, Washington, DC

Ziv Paz, MD 
Dr. Paz joined the rheumatology fellowship at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2012. During his training, he joined the Tsokos laboratory and focused on the role of phosphatases in the abnormal molecular events that lead to T cell dysfunction in SLE. This work received the Scientist Development Award from the Rheumatology Research Foundation of the American College of Rheumatology. Dr. Paz graduated from fellowship in June of 2015. Encouraged by the BIDMC's outstanding academic environment, he has joined the faculty and plans to devote himself to an academic career that combines clinical rheumatology and research.

Paul Romain, MD
Dr. Romain received his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, Chicago, IL following with an internship and residency at Bellevue Hospital Center in Internal Medicine, New York, NY. He completed a fellowship in Rheumatology at Parkland Health & Hospital Systems, Dallas, TX

Robert H. Shmerling, MD,
Clinical Chief, Division of Rheumatology

Dr. Shmerling received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital.  He then completed a combined fellowship in General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Hospital and Rheumatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.   He currently serves as the Clinical Chief of the Rheumatology Division and is also a Senior Editor at Harvard Health Publications.  He is particularly interested in rheumatology education, ethics, quality improvement, utility of diagnostic testing, and crystal-induced arthritis.

Selected Publications: 

  1. Smetana GW, Shmerling RH. Does this patient have temporal arteritis? JAMA. 2002;287:92-101.
  2. Mandl LA, Solomon DH, Smith EL, Lew RA, Katz JN, Shmerling RH. Using antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody testing to diagnose vasculitis: can test-ordering guidelines improve diagnostic accuracy? Arch Intern Med. 2002;162:1509-14. PMID: 12090888.
  3. Shmerling RH. Autoantibodies in systemic lupus erythematosus there before you know it. N Engl J Med. 2003; 349:1499-500. PMID: 14561791
  4. Shmerling RH. An 81-year-old woman with temporal arteritis. JAMA. 2006 Jun 7;295:2525-34.
  5. Leveille SG, Jones RN, Kiely DK, Hausdorff JM, Shmerling RH, Guralnik JM, Kiel DP, Lipsitz LA, Bean JF. Chronic musculoskeletal pain and the occurrence of falls in an older population. JAMA. 2009;302:2214-21.
  6. Shmerling RH. Diagnostic tests for rheumatic disease: clinical utility revisited. South Med J. 2005;98:704-11.
  7. Shmerling RH. Testing for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies: is it time to set this genie free? Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:9-14.
  8. Shmerling RH. The Ethics of Recent Gout Trials. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016;68:2057-60.

Francine Ton-Nghiem, MD
Dr. Ton-Nghiem received her medical degree from UMDNJ, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ. She completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Internal Medicine, Philadelphia, PA following that with a Fellowship in Rheumatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA before joining Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Ton-Nghiem’s interests are Rheumatoid Arthritis; Osteoporosis; Psoriatic Arthritis.

George C. Tsokos, MD, Chief, Division of Rheumatology
Dr. Tsokos was born in Greece and received his Medical Degree and a Doctorate in Sciences from the University of Athens. He trained in Internal Medicine at the University of Athens and Georgetown University/VA Medical Center in Washington DC and completed Immunology and Rheumatology Fellowships at the National Institutes of Health. Between 1987 and 2007 he was a member of the Uniformed Services/Walter Reed community where he served in various positions including Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine and Chief of the Department of Cell Injury. In 2007 he joined the Beth Israel Medical Center as Chief of Rheumatology and Harvard Medical School as Professor of Medicine.


Tsokos, G. C. (2011). Disease Pathogenesis: Systemic lupus erythematosus. N. Engl. J. Med. 365:2110-21.

Hedrich C. C., Rauen, T., Apostolidis, S. A. Grammatikos, A. P., Rodriguez-Rodriguez, N., Ioannidis, C., Kyttaris, V. C., Crispin, J. C. and Tsokos, G. C. (2014). Increased Stat3 phosphorylation promotes IL-10 expression in SLE T cells through trans-activation and chromatin remodeling.  Proc. Natl. Aca. Sci. (USA). 111(37):13457-62. 

Muroya, T., Kannan, L., Ghiran, I. C., Shevkoplyas, S. S., Paz, Z., Tsokos, M., Dalle Lucca, J. J., Shapiro, N. I. and Tsokos, G. C.  (2104).  C4d deposits on the Surface Membrane of Red Blood Cells in Trauma Patients and Interferes with their Function. Crit. Care Med. 42(5):e364-72. 

Koga, T., Hedrich, C., Mizui, M., Yoshida, N., Lieberman, L. A., Rauen, T., Crispín, J. C.  and Tsokos, G. C. (2014). CaMK4 promotes TH17 related autoimmune pathology though Akt/mTOR and CREM-alpha.  J. Clin. Invest. 124(5):2234-45. 

Moulton, V. and Tsokos, G. C.  (2015). T cell signaling abnormalities in systemic autoimmunity explain aberrant immune cell function and provide rational targets for treatment. J. Clin. Invest., 125(6):2220-7.
Complete list

Contact Information

Division of Rheumatology
Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
West Campus, Lowry Medical Building, 4B
110 Francis St.
Boston, MA 02215