The Arthritis National Research Foundation Announces Trailblazing Scholars and Unprecedented Funding

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, July 5, 2023 — The Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF) announces the 2023 – 2024 scholar cohort embarking on a journey to revolutionize the understanding and treatment of arthritis and autoimmune diseases. With an unwavering commitment to advancing scientific breakthroughs, ANRF has awarded its largest-ever funding allocation to support groundbreaking research.

This cohort showcases remarkable achievements, including the pioneering investigation of VEXAS Syndrome, a rare and often fatal disorder. Their proposals received a rigorous review from ANRF’s Scientific Advisory Board, and the most promising investigations were selected. Each scientist brings a fresh eye to the challenges across the spectrum of arthritis and autoimmune diseases with research focused on Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Lupus, Gout, Psoriatic Arthritis, Juvenile Arthritis, Scleroderma, and more. By directing significant resources toward these underserved areas, ANRF aims to advance treatment options, enhance patient care, and ultimately improve the quality of life for millions of individuals affected by these conditions.

“The future of arthritis and autoimmune disease treatment is dependent on innovative discoveries,” says ANRF CEO Emily Stormoen, “and we could not be more confident in the abilities of this exceptional cohort to improve our understanding of these complex diseases and bring us closer than ever to a cure for arthritis.”

Grant funding is made possible by industry partnerships, foundation support, and donations from individuals and organizations. ANRF is grateful for their partners in scientific excellence who are generously supporting five fellowships. These include the Janssen Immunology Psoriatic Arthritis Fellow, supported by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, the Sontag Foundation Fellow, the Staci Stringer Valiant Women Fellow, supported by Louise Dawson, and the Gale “Morrie” Granger and Carl F. Ware Fellowships, named for prominent figures in arthritis research.

Along with their partners, donors, and community, ANRF remains at the forefront of innovation, investing in scholars who are transforming the landscape of arthritis and autoimmune research. To learn more about each scientist and the details of their research, please visit the ANRF website.


The 2023 – 2024 Arthritis National Research Foundation Cohort:

Ramadan Ali, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
“The Role of Neutrophils and Nets in The Pathogenesis of Scleroderma”

Shabana Amanda Ali, Ph.D.
Henry Ford Health System
“Elucidating the Role of miR-126-3p in Osteoarthritis”

Sanja Arandjelovic, Ph.D.
University of Virginia
“Removal of Apoptotic Cells in Inflammatory Arthritis”

Yemil Atisha Fregoso, M.D., Ph.D.
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
“Activation and Repertoire of Autoreactive B cells in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus”

David Beck, M.D., Ph.D.
New York University Grossman School of Medicine
“Defining the Role of UBA1 in Autoimmune Disease”
Gale “Morrie” Granger Fellowship

Tarin Bigley, M.D., Ph.D.
Washington University in St. Louis
“Virus-induced Predisposition to Lupus after TLR7 Stimulation”
Carl F. Ware Fellowship

Seoyeon Bok, Ph.D.
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
“An Articular Cartilage Stem Cell Mediating Cartilage Regeneration for The Treatment of Osteoarthritis”

Susan Canny, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Washington
“The Role of Cytokines in Monocytes During Macrophage Activation Syndrome”

Margaret Chang, M.D., Ph.D.
Boston Children’s Hospital
“Inflammatory Mediators of Synovial Resident Memory T Cell Formation”
Sontag Foundation Fellow

Isidoro Cobo, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
“Epigenetic Mechanisms of Macrophages during Gouty Inflammation”

Kelsey Collins, Ph.D.
The Regents of the University of California, San Francisco
“The Role of Neuroimmune Metabolic Crosstalk in the Onset and Progression of Pain in Osteoarthritis”

Heather Faust, Ph.D.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
“Adipose Tissue as a Memory T Cell Storage Site in Inflammatory Arthritis”

Eirini Kefalogianni, Ph.D.
Washington University in St. Louis
“Roles of Circulating TNFR1/2 in Lupus Nephritis”

Taehyeung Kim, Ph.D.
Boston Children’s Hospital
“A Non-Coding Genetic Risk Variant That Controls T-Reg Abundance”

Megan Leask, Ph.D.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
“Functional Genetics in Immunometabolism and Gout”

Mark Lee, M.D., Ph.D.
Yale University School of Medicine
“Identification of Self-Reactive T Cell Antigens in Systemic Sclerosis”

Anna Patrick, M.D., Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
“Mechanisms of Th1.17 Cell Development in Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis”
Staci Stringer Valiant Women Fellow

Bahram Razani, M.D., Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
“Role of A20 in Restricting Psoriatic Skin and Joint Disease”
Janssen Immunology Psoriatic Arthritis Fellow

Fan Zhang, Ph.D.
The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
“Deciphering Complement-Dependent Phagocytic Myeloid Phenotypes in Human Autoimmune Arthritis Using Single-Cell Computational Omics”

About Arthritis National Research Foundation
Since 1970, the ANRF has funded arthritis research to understand the causes, prevention, and development of new treatments for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, juvenile arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. Since then, more than $27M in grant funding has been awarded to more than 230 researchers providing initial research funding to scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Visit for more information.

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