Eirini Kefalogianni, PhD

Subject: Lupus

Study Title: Roles of Circulating TNFR1/2 in Lupus Nephritis

My name is pronounced: E-ree-nee Ke-fa-lo-yanni


I am a new Assistant Professor of Medicine with the goal to become fully independently funded academic research scientist. Ι am developing a portfolio of translational research projects in rheumatic and kidney diseases, addressing fundamental mechanistic questions and validating treatment strategies, using multidisciplinary approaches in collaboration with physicians and other scientists. My main research interests involve the release of cytokines and their soluble receptors in rheumatic and kidney diseases, and their local and systemic effects. I have a broad background in physiology, with specific training and expertise in kidney injury, inflammation and fibrosis, as well as in membrane protein biochemistry and cellular signaling, evident by my first author or collaborative publications (total of 24 publications with more than 1000 citations to date) in each of these fields. During the past six years, I laid the groundwork for my independent translational line of research, by obtaining pilot and career development grant funding and assembling tools to analyze circulating and kidney resident/infiltrating immune cells in vivo and in vitro, in both mouse disease models and patient samples. Importantly, I have established collaborations with clinicians and basic research experts in the kidney, immunology and rheumatology fields who are providing valuable guidance and support towards developing a rigorous independent research program.

Research Summary:

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks many tissues causing damage in the affected organs. A severe complication of Lupus is the development of kidney disease (Lupus Nephritis) that currently has no specific treatments. Previous research has identified two proteins that are elevated in the blood of Lupus patients, and even more in patients with active kidney disease. Moreover, the higher the levels of these proteins are, the more likely is that kidney disease becomes worse in the future. In this project, we propose to study the function of these proteins in Lupus patients, as to how they can affect the function of the immune system. The results of this study will help us better understand the disease process and hopefully help us design new treatments for patients with Lupus and other rheumatic diseases.

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