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Dr. Elizabeth Mellins graduated from Cornell University with degree in political science, did a post-bac year at MIT and received her MD from Harvard Medical School. She trained in Pediatrics at the University of Colorado and in Pediatric Rheumatology at the University of Washington. She began to focus on research in immunology and immunogenetics during her postdoctoral work at the University of Washington with Dr. Donald Pious. She had her first independent laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania and then moved to Stanford, where she is now a professor of Pediatrics and a member of the Interdisciplinary Program in Immunology. She was a member of the Cellular and Molecular Immunology NIH study section for 9 years (2 terms) and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Association of Immunologists. She was also a founder and first chairperson of the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance.
International research network
Our lab focuses on the study of antigen presentation by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules. We have been particularly interested in the molecular mechanisms and intracellular steps involved in the generation of complexes between MHC class II molecules and peptides. Our basic work in this area has elucidated the roles of invariant chain, HLA-DM, HLA-DO (inhibitor of HLA-DM), three molecules which regulate peptide-loading of class II molecules. We continue to study basic molecular mechanisms in antigen presentation by MHC class II molecules, focusing now on particular events in antigen presentation by B cells. In addition, we have an active program to understand the molecular basis of class II associations with autoimmune diseases. We have developed novel hypotheses in this area, which we have tested in animal models. We also recently discovered an HLA-linked, drug-related complication in systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA). Our second research area focuses on the contribution of monocytes to auto-inflammatory responses. Our studies revealed altered monocyte phenotypes and function in sJIA, including increased levels of circulating monocytes primed for transition to macrophages. We have also discovered brain-homing, immunosuppressive monocytes in pediatric acute neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS).Ongoing studies deal with:1. Regulation of class II-restricted antigen presentation by professional antigen presenting cells, particularly B cells.2. Mechanistic basis of HLA allele association with autoimmune disease3. Disease mechanisms in sJIA and its complications4. The phenotypes functions of moncytes in PANS, including novel brain-homing monocytes.
Observational Study of Pediatric Rheumatic Diseases: The CARRA Registry
Continuation of the CARRA Registry as described in the protocol will support data collection
on patients with pediatric-onset rheumatic diseases. The CARRA Registry will form the basis
for future CARRA studies. In particular, this observational registry will be used to answer
pressing questions about therapeutics used to treat pediatric rheumatic diseases, including
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