This summer has flown by! I feel so incredibly blessed to be spending my summer in the Niewold Lab at Mayo Clinic. The time that I have spent in lab has confirmed my love for research, and playing with bioassays all day has specifically increased my interest in biological research. I find it absolutely fascinating that we can learn so much about cell signaling and responses just by using a collection of buffers, patient sera, a variety of reagents, and ...Continue Reading →
My name is Ami Yamamoto, and I have the great opportunity of being one of the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota’s Student Summer Fellows for 2013. This summer, I am studying under Erik Peterson, M.D., in the Department of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.
As I will write about in more detail in a later post, my project is to contribute to research on the gene PTPN22 which Dr. Peterson and his team thinks ...Continue Reading →
SLE is an autoimmune disease capable of causing severe tissue damage in many organs. The cause of SLE is unknown, but recent research has identified infection-fighting proteins called interferons (or IFNs) which are made and released by host cells in response to the presence of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, parasites or tumor cells. IFNs allow for communication between cells to trigger the protective defenses of the immune system that eradicate pathogens or tumors.
In this ...Continue Reading →
It is common knowledge that lupus runs in families. In fact, primary relatives (siblings, parents, children) of a person with the condition have a three- to five-fold increased risk of developing the disease compared with the average person on the street. But until just the last decade, we haven’t known how increased risk of lupus could be inherited.
Figuring out how lupus runs in families has been complicated. Lupus is not like some genetic diseases carrying a high profile in the ...Continue Reading →
One hears statements of this kind while playing the popular board game “Clue.” Players of Clue must travel around an imaginary old mansion while collecting hints. Based on hints, players make educated guesses about the “where, who, and with what weapon” facts of a murder mystery.
Pursuing better treatments and cures for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a little like playing an exceedingly complicated game of Clue. Villainous SLE ...Continue Reading →
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 →