Rheumatology Research

The Rheumatology Division has an active basic and clinical research program in the field of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) headed by Dr. George Tsokos. The laboratory, which consists of over 6,000 square feet of bench space, is located in the Clinical Life Science Building.

The Lupus Center of Excellence supports basic and translational studies in SLE and provides clinical care to patients across multiple disciplines such as rheumatology, nephrology and dermatology. 

Investigations are supported by highly competitive grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and additional funding from foundations and pharmaceutical companies. Present funding exceeds 3.0 million dollars annually.

Research activities within the Division include:

  • Study of immune cell signaling events in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Study of regulatory T cells in patients with autoimmune diseases
  • Study of Il-17 producing cells in autoimmune diseases
  • Study of mechanisms that are involved in the development of lupus nephritis
  • Studies to understand the propensity of patients with lupus to infections
  • Study of the role of complement in the expression of tissue damage
  • Preclinical studies in lupus-prone mice and other engineered mice to characterize disease mechanisms and to develop novel therapeutics

The laboratory uses a broad range of approaches including:

  • Use of patient material
  • Lupus-prone mice
  • Genetically engineered mice
  • Metabolomics
  • RNA sequencing and single cell sequencing
  • Bioinformatics

Learn more about the Tsokos Lab.

  1. The immune podocyte. Bhargava R, Tsokos GC. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2019 Mar 31(2):167-174. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0000000000000578.
  2. Signaling lymphocyte activation molecule family in systemic lupus erythematosus. Comte D, Karampetsou MP, Humbel M, Tsokos GC. Clin Immunol. 2018 Nov 8. pii: S1521-6616(18)30442-X. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2018.11.001. [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Calcium/Calmodulin Kinase IV Controls the Function of Both T Cells and Kidney Resident Cells. Ferretti AP, Bhargava R, Dahan S, Tsokos MG, Tsokos GC. Front Immunol. 2018 Oct 1;9:2113. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.02113. eCollection 2018. Review.
  4. Regulatory T cells in the treatment of disease. Sharabi A, Tsokos MG, Ding Y, Malek TR, Klatzmann D, Tsokos GC. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2018 Oct 12. doi: 10.1038/nrd.2018.148. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
  5. Aberrant T Cell Signaling and Subsets in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Katsuyama T, Tsokos GC, Moulton VR. Front Immunol. 2018 May 17;9:1088. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.01088. eCollection 2018. Review.
  6. Targeting Regulatory T Cells to Treat Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Mizui M, Tsokos GC. Front Immunol. 2018 Apr 17;9:786. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00786. eCollection 2018. Review.
  7. SLE-Associated Defects Promote Altered T Cell Function. Crispin JC, Hedrich CM, Suárez-Fueyo A, Comte D, Tsokos GC. Crit Rev Immunol. 2017;37(1):39-58. doi: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.2018025213. Review.
  8. Pathogenesis of Human Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Cellular Perspective. Moulton VR, Suarez-Fueyo A, Meidan E, Li H, Mizui M, Tsokos GC. Trends Mol Med. 2017 Jul;23(7):615-635. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2017.05.006. Epub 2017 Jun 13. Review.
  9. T cells and autoimmune kidney disease. Suárez-Fueyo A, Bradley SJ, Klatzmann D, Tsokos GC. Nat Rev Nephrol. 2017 Jun;13(6):329-343. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2017.34. Epub 2017 Mar 13. Review.
  10. DNA methylation in systemic lupus erythematosus. Hedrich CM, Mäbert K, Rauen T, Tsokos GC. Epigenomics. 2017 Apr;9(4):505-525. doi: 10.2217/epi-2016-0096. Epub 2016 Nov 25. Review.
  11. New insights into the immunopathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus. Tsokos GC, Lo MS, Costa Reis P, Sullivan KE. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2016 Nov 22;12(12):716-730. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2016.186. Review.
  12. What rheumatologists need to know about innate lymphocytes. Exley MA, Tsokos GC, Mills KH, Elewaut D, Mulhearn B. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2016 Nov;12(11):658-668. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2016.140. Epub 2016 Sep 2. Review.
  13. T cells in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Suárez-Fueyo A, Bradley SJ, Tsokos GC. Curr Opin Immunol. 2016 Dec;43:32-38. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2016.09.001. Epub 2016 Sep 13. Review.
  14. Empowering Regulatory T Cells in Autoimmunity. Kasper IR, Apostolidis SA, Sharabi A, Tsokos GC. Trends Mol Med. 2016 Sep;22(9):784-797. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2016.07.003. Epub 2016 Jul 25. Review.
  15. Pathogenesis and targeted treatment of skin injury in SLE. Deng GM, Tsokos GC. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2015 Nov;11(11):663-9. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2015.106. Epub 2015 Aug 4. Review.
  16. T cell signaling abnormalities contribute to aberrant immune cell function and autoimmunity. Moulton VR, Tsokos GC. J Clin Invest. 2015 Jun;125(6):2220-7. doi: 10.1172/JCI78087. Epub 2015 May 11. Review.
  17. Gene-function studies in systemic lupus erythematosus. Crispín JC, Hedrich CM, Tsokos GC. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013 Aug;9(8):476-84. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2013.78. Epub 2013 Jun 4. Review.
  18. Systemic lupus erythematosus. Tsokos GC. N Engl J Med. 2011 Dec 1;365(22):2110-21. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1100359. Review