Recent News & Events


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.


2015 ACGME Rheumatology Fellows

We are excited to announce our 2015 ACGME Fellows.


Dr. Hsin-Hsuan Juo.

Dr. Juo will join us from Fu Jen Catholic University School of Medicine in Taiwan. She completed her residency at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, CT.


Dr. Jeonghun Moon.

Dr. Moon will join us from Yonsei University, Wonju College of Medicine in the Republic of Korea. He completed his residency at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, NY.



Dr. Jenna Thomason.

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


You can learn more about our Fellowship Program here.


March 2015 Visiting Speakers

In March 2015 the Division of Rheumatology will be hosting multiple visiting speakers.


On Monday March 9th, Dr. Erika Noss will visit from Harvard Medical School & Brigham and Women's Hospital. She will present "Joint Fibroblast Function in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tales of SNPs & Cadherin". Please note that Dr. Noss's presentation will take place at the South Lake Union campus.


On Tuesday March 31st, Dr. Daniel Furst will visit from the University of California, Los Angeles. He will present on "GI Complications in Systemic Sclerosis". Dr. Furst's presentation will take place in the Health Sciences Building, Room RR-110.



You can find presentation times and more information on our Rheumatology Conferences page.



Dr. John Stone- 2015 Lane Lecture Speaker

Dr. John Stone was the 2015 Lane Lecture speaker. He is currently the Director of Clinical Rheumatology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Stone spoke at the Lane Lecture & Reception on March 5th regarding Updates on IGG4 Disease. On March 5th he also presented at the UW Department of Medicine Grand Rounds as well as a Rheumatology specific conference talk.

You can view pictures from the 2015 Lane Lecture & Reception here. You can also find Dr. Stone's Lecture on the Department of Medicine's YouTube site.


February 2015 Visiting Speakers


In February 2015 the Division of Rheumatology will be hosting multiple visiting speakers.


On Friday February 13th, Dr. Una Makris will visit from the University of Texas, Southwestern. She wil present "Back Pain In Older Adults: A Quantitative & Qualitative Perspective".


On Tuesday February 17th Dr. Laura Durcan will visit from John Hopkins. She will present "Hydoxychloriquine Blood Levels in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: How Measurement Improves Adherence".


On Tuesday February 24th, Dr. James Andrews will visit from the University of California at San Francisco. He will present on "Muscle Strength, Body Composition, and Physical Disability in SLE".


All presentations will take place in the UW Health Sciences Building in room RR-110. You can find presentation times and more information on our Rheumatology Conferences page.


Rheumatology Research Foundation - Paula de Merieux Fellowship Training Award


RRF Logo


The UW Division of Rheumatology is proud to announce our division has been awarded the Paula de Merieux Fellowship Training Award by the Rheumatology Research Foundation. This Award is to provide support to an underrepresented minority or female fellow in Rheumatology to help ensure a diverse and highly trained workforce for those affected with rheumatic diseases.



UW & Seattle Children's Hospital Joint ForceTake First Place in Jingle Bell Run Fundraising

The UW and Seattle Children's Joint Forces placed first in fundraising amongst all healthcare teams at the 2014 Jingle Bell Run. They had a total of 48 team members representing both institutions - including the Rhuematology Division. The team was made up of faculty, fellows, staff, and friends!


Jingle Bell Run 2014


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UW Presents 41 Abstracts at ACR Meeting in Boston

The 2014 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Meeting was held in Boston, Massachusetts from November 15-19. The Division of Rheumatology had a total of 41 abstracts that were presented this year. Our faculty were recognized as the seventh most productive presenters at this national gathering among other Top Ten NIH Institutes.


2014 ACR Abstracts


Some Abstracts Presented at the 2014 ACR:


  • Jie An, Joshua Woodward, Reynold Karr, Thomas Teal, Keith Elkon. The second messenger, Cyclic GMP-AMP dinucleotide (cGAMP) and the enzyme, cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS), are expressed in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
  • Lucrezia Colonna, Christian Lood, YuFeng Peng, Xizhang Sun, Lena Tanaka, Sandip Panicker, Keith B. Elkon. Intracellular Complement C3 Is Exposed on the Cell Surface upon Apoptosis Induction and Participates in the Clearance of Apoptotic Cells By Phagocytes.
  • Tal Gazitt, Jeremy Sokolove. Netosis Induced Histone Citrullination Facilitates Onset and Propagation of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
    • Presented in the first plenary session
  • Natalia Giltiay, Geraldine Shu, Anthony Shock, Edward Clark. Regulation of the Responses of Human B Cell Subsets to Innate Immune Signals By Epratuzumab, a Humanized Monoclonal Antibody Targeting CD22.
  • Jordan Brodsky, Meghan Greenfield, Erin Patton. Osteoporosis Screening and Fracture Risk Assessment Tool Usage Among House Staff.
  • Christian Lood, Xizhang Sun, Lena Tanaka, Jeffrey Ledbetter, Keith Elkon. RNA-containing Immune Complexes shift Human Neutrophils from Phagocytosing Cells to Efficient Releasers of Oxidized DNA in a Process requiring Crosstalk between TLRs and FcgRIIA.
  • Bernard Ng. Factors Associated with Methotrexate Treatment Duration, Including Subcutaneous Use, in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Observations from the VA Database.
  • Ingeborg Sacksen, Mark Wener, Scott Pollock. Precision of Ultrasound Skin Thickness Measurements: Influence of Examiner and Ultrasound Transducer.
  • Clay Sontheimer, Lucrezia Colonna, Yenly Nguyen, Keith Elkon, YuFeng Peng. Distinct Contributions of C1q and C3 in Preventing Immunogenicity of Apoptotic Cells in Lupus.
  • Clayton Sontheimer, Keith Elkon. Ultraviolet B Generates Type 1 Interferon and Induces Autoantibody-Mediated Disease in a Mouse Model of Cutaneous Lupus.


Dr. Elkon Awarded LSDF Grant

Dr. Keith Elkon was recently awarded a $250,000 grant from the Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF). LSDF announced nearly $750,000 in Proof of Concept grants to Washington state for-profit and non-profit organizations to promote translation of health-related technologies from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace.


Project Title: Targeted Therapy to Inhibit cGAS stimulated Type I IFN Production

Objective: To synthesize and test new drugs for treating systemic lupus erythematosus



Dr. Gordon Starkebaum Appointed as ACR Masters

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Gordon Starkebaum has been appointed as Master of the American College of Rheumatology. As per ACR, the ACR Master “is one of the highest honors the College bestows. The designation of Master is conferred on ACR members, age 65 or older, who have made outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology through scholarly achievement and/or service to their patients, students, and profession. This honor is usually bestowed upon no more than 20 members per year.”

It is unusual, but Gordon truly has excelled in all four fields of service: clinical care, research, teaching and administration. He joins a distinguished cadre of UW faculty to receive this honor.

Gordon will receive the award at the ACR meeting in Boston. Please join us there and also at a UW dinner to TBA where we can congratulate Gordon.


- Keith Elkon, MD, Professor of Medicine and Division Head