The overall mission of the Division of Rheumatology is to establish Cedars-Sinai as a major center of rheumatic disease research in Los Angeles through internal and external alignments. We are planning to take our efforts to the next level utilizing partnerships and collaborations to create research results that will have a major impact on the outcome of chronic rheumatic diseases. The word that best describes our research effort is "collaboration" — a concept that recognizes that no one place can do it alone and that the success of any research effort is based on mutual respect and a sincere desire to work together. Research topics include the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Primary Sjogren's syndrome
As part of the fellowship program, a 12-week translational research project is mandatory. This will provide the fellow with the essential skills and know-how to interpret and potentially apply basic science findings to their field of practice. This program is run by Caroline Jefferies, PhD, associate professor in the Division of Rheumatology and Biomedical Sciences. Projects may involve analysis of large data sets looking for correlations in gene/microRNA/cytokine expression with clinical parameters followed by hypothesis generation and testing in samples using laboratory techniques — qPCR, flow cytometry, and genetic knock-down. Throughout the process, the fellow is mentored by a member of Jefferies' research team (typically a postdoctoral scholar). The fellow meets weekly with Jefferies to discuss results and next steps. Regular lab meetings are held weekly, allowing for opportunities for scientific discussion and research presentations. In addition, the fellow is required to give updates at the monthly division research meeting.