beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Leadership Team

George C. Tsokos, M.D. 
Chief, Rheumatology Division

Dr. Tsokos headshot

George C. Tsokos, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and on staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. He received his M.D. from The National University of Athens and completed his medical residency at the University of Athens, VA Hospital and Georgetown University in Washington DC and his rheumatology and clinical immunology training at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Tsokos’s research has focused on the cellular and molecular pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). His laboratory has opened and led the field of molecular abnormalities on immune cells in patients with SLE. There are two central needs to improve the care of patients with SLE: 1) reliable markers to diagnose and follow the activity of the disease and 2) therapeutic targets which will be specific for the disease with minimal toxicity. His lab performs biochemical, molecular biology and cellular studies of immune and kidney cells using human material- major findings are transferred to lupus animal models to confirm their significance and ultimately back to the clinic for final confirmation. Dr. Tsokos have led the field of deciphering cellular and molecular aberrations that characterize SLE T cells and I have identified several that can be used as disease markers.

Dr. Tsokos directs a T32 sponsored by NIAID on Systemic Autoimmunity and initiated a Clinical Rheumatology Fellowship and he is deeply dedicated to the development of young colleagues in the division. He supervises rheumatology and immunology fellows in the laboratory and takes pride in their development and progress to independent investigator status. Several of his trainees have moved to K status (and on to R grants) while many are already professors and leaders of divisions/departments or other activities. He founded and chaired an annual (for 7 years) School for Systemic Autoimmune Diseases (Clinical Immunology Society).

He is the past-President of the Clinical Immunology society and has served on the Boards of Directors of the Research Foundation of the American College of Rheumatology and the Lupus foundation of America and serves as member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Alliance for lupus Research. He has served as regular member for 7 years and as chair for two years of the Hypersensitivity, Autoimmunity and Immune Mediated Disorders Study Section of the National Institutes of Health and as Chair of the Alliance for Lupus Research Study Section. He is a Master of the American College of Physicians and has been elected member of the Association of American Physicians and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. He holds 4 honorary degrees. He has received the Philip Hench, James Leonard, William Felts, Galen and William Crosby awards. He has been a Kirkland Awardee of the Hospital for Special Surgery. More recently he received the Distinguished Basic Investigator Award from the American College of Rheumatology, the Evelyn Hess Award from the Lupus Foundation of America and the Lupus Insight Award from the three lupus organizations of America. NIH has granted him a MERIT award for his pioneering work on lupus. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Immunology and has served as editor or the editorial boards of more than 50 journals.

Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. Dr. Shmerling headshot
Clinical Chief, Rheumatology Division

Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. is a graduate of Tufts University (1979) and Harvard Medical School (1983); he completed his internship and residency training at Beth Israel Hospital in 1986 and a combined Primary Care and Rheumatology Fellowship at Beth Israel and Brigham and Women's Hospital in 1989. He is currently an Associate Physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and is an active teacher in the Internal Medicine Residency Program, serving as Associate Firm Chief of the Robinson Firm from 1991 to 1998 and as its Firm Chief from 1998 through the present.

He is also the Program Director of the BIDMC Rheumatology Fellowship Program. His clinical interests include gout, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. He has published research and review articles exploring the usefulness of commonly ordered diagnostic tests including the rheumatoid factor, anti-cyclic citrullinated protein (anti-CCP), anti-nuclear antibody (ANA), anti-neutrophilic cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) and analyses of synovial fluid. Working with Dr. Ziv Paz, his most recent studies have focused on risk factors, treatment and outcomes of patients with septic arthritis. He also serves as a Senior Editor of Internet Publishing at Harvard Health Publications and is a regular reviewer for the New England Journal of Medicine, Arthritis and Rheumatism and Arthritis Care and Research.

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