Bahram Razani, MD, PhD

Fellowship: Janssen Immunology Psoriatic Arthritis Fellow

Subject: Psoriatic Arthritis

Study Title: Role of A20 in Restricting Psoriatic Skin and Joint Disease

My name is pronounced: Bah-raam Ra-za-nee


I grew up in New Mexico and wanted to be a scientist from an early age. During my Biochemistry degree at Rice University, I became interested in philosophy and went to graduate school in Philosophy of Science at University of Cambridge in the UK. After my MPhil, I decided to pursue an MD-PhD at UCLA where my thesis focused on the details of signaling systems in immune cells, specifically on NF-kB signaling. My work in immunology as a graduate student sparked my interest in Dermatology where inflammation can be seen with the naked eye. I joined UCSF first as a resident trainee and stayed on as faculty in the Department of Dermatology. My research interest is in Psoriasis and its connection to Psoriatic Arthritis.

Research Summary:

Psoriasis affects 2-3% of the US population and nearly a third of patients develop debilitating inflammation of joints known as Psoriatic Arthritis. We cannot accurately predict which patients will develop arthritis and therapies are less helpful for joints compared to skin. Determining how skin and joint inflammation are linked may help predict which patients may get arthritis and reveal new therapeutic approaches.

Patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis often carry particular versions of the gene A20 which reduce its abundance. A20 is a key inhibitor of several important inflammatory pathways; therefore, we aim to determine how A20 prevents psoriatic inflammation in skin and joints.

We use novel animal models in which A20 function is specifically eliminated in skin cells to understand how skin and joints are immunologically connected. We have found new immune pathways which A20 regulates and are trying to understand how these pathways operating in the skin might cause inflammation in the joints. We hope these studies will help reveal how Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis are connected in humans with the aim of identifying new methods to prevent the skin to joint transition of inflammation.

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