“I now feel like a real scientist …”
Over the past two weeks, I have performed pilot experiments to finalize the design of my final project. One of these pilots compared an infected wild type model with an uninfected one; wild type means that the model has not been genetically modified in any way.
A day after infection, I examined spleen for the presence of certain dendritic cell variants. Dendritic cells are one of many types of white blood cells, and some of their subsets are found in greater ...Continue Reading →
Lupus research: a balancing act
This week I learned how to balance doing multiple things in a laboratory! Sometimes you can have three different experiments running at once, and you have to make sure you know what all of them are doing. I’m doing a lot of different protocols, like RNA extraction, DNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, and Toll-Like Receptor stimulations.
This week I also got to meet with Dr. Jerry Molitor who is an Associate Professor of Medicine in Rheumatology, working at clinics here at the ...Continue Reading →
What my lupus research project is
Now that we’ve gone through the introductions, here’s a little bit about the project I’m working on (I promise it will be understandable!). I am examining the role of a lupus-associated gene, called PTPN22, in response to viral infection. Many people with lupus, and other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, have a mutation in this gene and produce a mutated protein. This protein’s mutation is in the form of a substituted amino acid at position 620.
What does that mean? ...Continue Reading →
My First Week Here at the U of M Lupus Research Facilities
My name is Brianna Lauer and I first joined the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota through their Summer Fellowship Program, which is a program that gives undergraduate students the chance to work alongside faculty at the University of Minnesota and work on funded programs dealing with lupus. I became interested in lupus research through the amazing guidance of Dr. Emily Gillespie and her dedication to this research.
I wanted to talk about my experiences this summer working in the laboratory here at ...Continue Reading →
New Faces to Lupus Research: Student Summer Research Fellows
If you attended the Lupus Food and Wine Classic in June, you might remember the group of enthusiastic young adults who greeted you as you entered Nickelodeon Universe and escorted you to the registration table. Those students are this year’s Lupus Foundation of Minnesota (LFM)Summer Research Fellows, and we are fortunate to be hosting them in our laboratories at the University of Minnesota while they participate in a lupus research project and learn what full-time research is really like. (Spoiler ...Continue Reading →
Increased severity of lupus and African-American women focus of Lupus Foundation of Minnesota-funded research at University of Minnesota
Researchers who seek new biomarkers for human diseases may have many goals. In the field of lupus research, we would like to find biomarkers that could make the disease easier to diagnose, improve the management of disease activity, predict when a flare is likely to occur, and help physicians decide which medications to use (or avoid) in a particular patient.Continue Reading →
Thanks to advances in genomic and proteomic technologies over the past 10 years, lupus researchers have been successful in ...
A new drug is approved, new questions arise. So how do we find the answers?
Fortunately, many researchers have ideas about where to look for answers, because we know that Benlysta works by reining in a type of immune cells called B cells. B cells play an important role in the normal immune response, but when inappropriately activated in a lupus patient, they produce harmful elements that cause the damaging effects seen in SLE. Researchers think that measuring these may provide clues to help us determine whether an individual patient is likely to respond to ...Continue Reading →
A new drug is approved. What’s next?
We finally get to ask that question about lupus, after the FDA approved Benlysta, the first new drug approved for SLE in over 50 years, in March 2011.
Patients and researchers alike are asking questions … Who needs to take this drug? How is it different from the medicines that doctors were already using? How do we know it’s going to work? How do we know that it’s going to work better than those other medications?
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Lifetime Risk of Adult-Onset Autoimmune Diseases
There is a recent (within the past year) article from Mayo Clinic that I’ve attached here, that I think addresses some questions about the incidence of lupus in Minnesota. It is focused on the overall lifetime risk for development of autoimmune diseases, including SLE.
“The Lifetime Risk of Adult-Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis and Other Inflammatory Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases”
Article published in:
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Arthritis & Rheumatism
Vol. 63, No. 3