Recent News & Events



2015-2016 Division Grants


Dr. Natalia Giltiay was recently awarded a grant for her project, “Developing New Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis Using Antigen-Targeting to Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells”.  The grant was awarded by the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, funded through the Department of Defense. 


The Rheumatology Research Foundation awarded Dr. Erika Noss a Career Development Bridge Funding Award: K Supplement to continue her work on, “Role for the PDGF pathway in RA fibroblast hyperplasia”.


Dr. Keith Elkon received funding from Seattle Genetics for a collaborative project on systemic lupus erythematosus.



Drs. Lood & Elkon Discover How Neutrophil NETS Cause Inflammation - Discussion and Article in Nature Medicine

The research of the Elkon lab was recently highlighted in the article Mitochondral troublemakers unmasked in lupus: drivers of autoimune disease inflammation discovered in the traps pathogen-capturing of white blood cells published in the journal Nature Medicine.


These findings focus on how mitochondria can instigate lupus-like inflammation. The University of Washington and the National Institutes of Health are working to find out why these chemicals and other mitochondrial materials can trigger body's self-attack in systemic lupus erythematosus.


More information on the new findings can be found here. Information on the Elkon Lab can be found on our Division website.


Dr. Michael Holers- 2016 Lane Lecture Speaker

Dr. Michael Holers will be the 2016 Lane Lecture speaker. He is currently the Division Head of Rheumatology and Scoville Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.


Dr. Holers’ research efforts have focused on the structure-function relationships and biologic roles of the complement system. These studies were recognized by his receiving the singular 2008 American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Basic Investigator Award.


More recently the Holers’ Laboratory has moved a major focus of research activities to studying the natural history and pathogenesis of human rheumatoid arthritis (RA) prior to and immediately after the onset of clinically apparent arthritis. These studies have provided strong evidence for a pulmonary mucosal origin of RA-related autoimmunity prior to the development of clinically apparent arthritis. In recognition of these and other efforts, Dr. Holers has been elected a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the Association of American Physicians (AAP).

Dr. Holers will speak at the Lane Lecture & Reception on March 24th 2016. On March 24th he will also present at the UW Department of Medicine Grand Rounds as well at a Rheumatology specific conference talk March 25th.

You can view pictures from the 2015 Lane Lecture & Reception here.



2016 ACGME Rheumatology Fellows

We are excited to announce our 2016 ACGME Fellows.


Dr. Percy Balderia.

Dr. Balderia will join us from University of the Philippines Manila School of Medicine in the Philippines. He completed his residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA.


Dr. Meredith Barnes.

Dr. Barnes will join us from Emory University School of Medicine. She completed her residency at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.



Dr. Andrew Vasconcellos.

Dr. Vasconcellos will join us from Ross University Schooll of Medicine. He completed his residency at the New York Methodist Hospital & Weill Cornell Medical College in Brooklyn, NY.


You can learn more about our Fellowship Program here.

UW & Seattle Children's Hospital Team Up at Jingle Bell Run!

The UW and Seattle Children's Rheumatology teams joined forces again this year to support the Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run. The team was made up of faculty, fellows, staff, and friends! Over 41 team members helped raise more than $2,500. You can find out more about the Arthritis Foundation on their website.







UW Presents Abstracts & Posters at 2015 ACR Annual Meeting

The 2015 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Meeting will be held in San Francisco, California from November 7-11th. The Division of Rheumatology will be presenting over ten abstracts and posters this year.


Abstracts & Posters Presented at the 2015 ACR:


  • Luz P Blanco, Christian Lood, Monica M Purmalek, Suk S De Ravin, Carolyne K Smith, Carmelo Carmona-Rivera, Harry L Malech, Jeffrey A Ledbetter, Keith B Elkon and Mariana J Kaplan. Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species Modulate Autoimmunity in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.


  • McCann Y, Barnes M, Hughes G. Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Birth Control May Suppress Toll-like Receptor 7-Induced Interferon-Alpha Production By Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells in Women


  • Greenfield M. Poster  - Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease - Clinical Aspects and Pathogenesis


  • Christian Lood, Luz P. Blanco2, Monica M, Purmalek, Carolyne K, Smith, Carmelo Carmona-Rivera, Jeffrey A. Ledbetter, Mariana J. Kaplan, Keith B. Elkon.Oral Presentation - Mitochondrial ROS is a Novel Regulator of STING-mediated Type I IFN Production by Governing Extrusion of Oxidized Mitochondrial DNA upon Neutrophil Extracellular Trap Formation.


  • Gazitt T. Complement-Mediated Neutrophil Lysis-a Mechanism Promoting Hypercitrullination in Rheumatoid Arthritis?


  • Andrews J. Rheumatoid Arthritis – Clinical Aspects Poster II


  • Natalia V. Giltiay, Geraldine L. Shu, Anthony Shock, and Edward A. Clark. Inhibition of B Cell Activation and Plasma Cell Differentiation By Epratuzumab, a Humanized Monoclonal Antibody Targeting CD22 


  • Lucrezia Collona. The Complement C1s Inhibitor TNT003 Blocks C3b Deposition and Inhibits the Uptake of Late Apoptotic/Secondary Necrotic Cells.


  • Jie An, Joshua J. Woodward, Mark Minie, YuFeng Peng, Tomikazu Sasaki ,Keith B. Elkon. Novel mechanism of action of Anti-malarial drugs in the inhibition of Type I interferon production


  • Bays A, Nayak R, Daikh DI, Yazdany J, Schmajuk G. Implementation of New Pneumococcal Vaccination Recommendations in an Academic Rheumatology Clinic [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015; 67


  • Bays A, Wahl ER, Daikh DI, Yazdany J, Schmajuk G. Implementation of Disease Activity Measurement for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients in an Academic Rheumatology Clinic [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015; 67


Dr. Grant Hughes Recieves UW PRAISE Award

Congratulations to Grant Hughes, MD, Associate Professor who has received a UW PRAISE award.  PRAISE stands for Patient Reported Assessment In Satisfaction and Excellence. The awards are given out semi-annually to clinicians who have received at least 15 patient satisfaction surveys in the past 6 months and achieve a ranking for communication in the 80th percentile or better. Clinicians with this ranking are among the top in the nation for their listening and communication skills.



September 2015 Newsletter

The September 2015 Newsletter has been released. Highlights include:


  • Dr. Grant Hughes appointed Willkens-Henderson Endowed Professor.
  • NIH T32 Training Grant Renewed
  • Clinical Faculty Promotions
  • Dr. Uche Obih named Paula de Merieux Fellow by Rheumatology Research Foundation
  • Dr. Meghan Greenfield Named 2015 Arthritis Foundation Fellow
  • Recent Division Publications


You can view the current and past Newsletters here. If you would like recieve Division Newsletters via email or postal mail please email



Four New Rheumatology Faculty Recruited

The Division of Rheumatology is excited to announce the addition of four new faculty members.


Dr. James Andrews: Dr. Andrews has just completed his third-year as a Rheumatology Fellow and Clinical Instructor at the University of California, San Francisco. James completed medical school at Stanford University and trained in Internal Medicine at UCSF. His research focuses on the effects of rheumatic disease on muscle strength, body composition, and physical disability. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Patricia Katz, his most recent studies have demonstrated the important contribution of muscle weakness to increased physical disability among women with lupus. His current studies address relationships between chronic inflammation, body composition, and muscle strength in lupus. James will be pursuing a path as a Physician Scientist in clinical research and will also have clinics at the University of Washington Medical Center.


Dr. Alison Bays: Dr. Bays received her Bachelor of Science in biopsychology from the University of Santa Barbara. She then joined the Peace Corps and worked in Malawi as a teacher. Her many experiences there included completing a carpentry skills center for a local orphanage. She returned to the U.S for medical school at Tulane University. While at Tulane she also completed a Masters of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at that very highly regarded School of Public Health. Dr. Bays completed her residency in 2013 with our Internal Medicine Program at the University of Washington. Dr. Bays then did her rheumatology fellowship at UCSF and will complete her fellowship by August 2015. Dr. Bays will be pursuing a path as a Clinician-Educator and will primarily see patients at Harborview Medical Center.


Dr. Erika Noss: Dr. Noss is an Assistant Professor in Medicine at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard University. She obtained her PhD at Case Western where she worked on antigen processing. After completing her MSTP requirements, she moved to Brigham’s for residency and fellowship. Working in Mike Brenner’s lab, Erika made a set of highly original observations regarding the role of cadherins in fibroblasts. In studies published in Science and PNAS, she showed that deficiency or blockade of cad 11 resulted in protection from mouse models of arthritis and also showed that ligation of this adhesion molecule leads to induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Apart from her translational science projects, Erika has a strong interest in teaching for which she has won awards at Harvard and is actively participating on ACR educational subcommittees. Erika will be based at South Lake Union but also see patients at the Roosevelt Bone and Joint Center.


Dr. Marat Gadzhiev: Dr. Gadzhiev completed his U.S. residency in internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He did a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado in Denver and a rheumatology fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Gadzhiev will split his time between the American Lake location and the Seattle VA. In addition to his clinical work, he will assume the educational and supervisory responsibilities for residents and fellows working at the VA.


Dr. Hughes Named Robert F. Willkens, M.D. Lucille Henderson Endowed Professor

The Division of Rheumatology is excited to announce that Dr. Grant Hughes has been appointed to the Robert F. Willkens, M.D. - Lucille Henderson Endowed Professorship in Rheumatology. Dr. Hughes is currently Fellowship Program Director and Associate Professor. Dr. Hughes was a Fellow with the Division from 2003-2005 and was an Assistant Professor from 2005-2009. You can find more information about the Fellowship Program here.


The Division of Rheumatology congratulates Dr. Hughes on this impressive achievement and thanks the many donors whose genersoity make this professorship possible.



Dr. Elkon Named CoMotion Presidential Innvoation Fellow

Dr. Keith Elkon, Professor and Division Head, has been selected as a University of Washington CoMotion Presidential Innovation Fellow. Members of this distinguished group are selected based on their entrepreneurial thinking and impactful innovation. CoMotion Fellows are identified as potential mentors to the UW community and partners for local and global innovation ecosystem.


Dr. Elkon’s research objective is to better define the molecular and genetic basis for autoimmune diseases such as lupus and arthritis. Over the last 20 years the Elkon Lab has focused on apoptotic defects in both humans and mice that predispose to inflammation and autoimmunity. Initial studies led to basic and clinical discoveries in mice as well as the Canale Smith Syndrome (ALPS) patients. The current focus of the laboratory is to define the stimuli that lead to activation of the innate and adaptive immune systems, causing conditions such as lupus.


Find out more information about Dr. Elkon's innovative work on our research page.



Lucrezia Colonna Awarded 2015 Perkins Coie Award

Dr. Lucrezia Colonna, PhD and Researcher with the Elkon Lab, has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Perkins Coie Award for Discovery. Her project “Investigating the Protective Role of Intracellular Complement C3 in the Prevention of Lupus Autoimmunity.” The Perkins Coie Discovery Grants have supported translational research at the UW since 2007.


You can find out more about the Elkon Lab and the Divsion's Publications on our website.

In Memoriam: Dr. Louis Healey

The Division of Rheumatology is sad to annouce the passing of Dr. Louis Healey. Dr. Peter SImkin, Professor Emeritus, describes his career with and contributions to the Division of Rheumatology below.


"Dr. Louis Healey died at home during the week after Christmas, 2014.


Dr. Healey, known as Andy interned in Medicine at King County Hospital (now Harborview), returned to his native New York for training in Rheumatology, and then practiced briefly on Long Island before John Decker recruited him to join the faculty of the University of Washington.  Here, he confirmed the hypothesis that “Filipino Hyperuricemia” represents a genetic defect in the renal transport of uric acid but becomes pathologic only when its bearers adopt a Western diet.  He also began his career-long interest in the paired problems of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and giant cell arteritis (GCA).  He was a well-respected  teacher and student of joint diseases who at times was the only clinician on the faculty.

In 1969, he left the University to enter practice at the Virginia Mason Clinic.  There, with his practice partner Ken Wilske, Andy continued his studies of PMR and GCA and developed the concept of “inverting the pyramid” to treat rheumatoid arthritis. This concept of a “step down bridge” is still seen as a landmark change to a more aggressive regimen aimed at the target of full remission in early disease.


Andy was a prolific writer. The US National Library of Medicine currently cites 138 contributions to him. His papers reflect incisive thought, sparing use of the English language, and a quick sense of humor.  These qualities served him well during the 6 years he served as editor of the King County Medical Society Bulletin in the early 1970’s.
Throughout his years in private practice, Andy remained a valued contributor on the clinical faculty of the University of Washington where he ultimately became Clinical Professor Emeritus.  His work was recognized nationally by the American College of Rheumatology which first named him a Master Clinician and later went on to give him its Distinguished Clinician Scholar award in 1991."




Elkon Lab Awarded Multiple Grants

Dr. Elkon, Professor & Division Head, has been awarded multiple grants to support his research.


  • A NIH R21 for his project: “Mechanisms of Ultraviolet Inflammation in Lupus”.  This project received funding for 2 years.
  • A Royalty Research Fund for his project "Association between Type I Interferons and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus" This project will be funded for 2 years.
  • An Alliance for Lupus Research for the project researching "The cyclic GAMP pathway in SLE" This project will be funded 3 years.
  • A NIH R01 for the project "Innate Immune Response to Hepatocyte Death". Dr. Elkon will be Co-Investigator on this project working with Dr. Nicholas Crispe. The project recieved funding for 5 years.


You can find more information on the Elkon Lab here.


UW Medicine Division of Rheumatology