LRI 2014 Forum for Discovery Shares Inspiring Research Progress

Two-day Think Tank on Lupus

Sparks of innovation and stimulating insights were flying as 150 top researchers spent two full days at Lupus Research Institute’s 14th annual Forum for Discovery directing all their intensity and talent on driving the most novel science to transform patient lives today while advancing to prevent and cure lupus tomorrow.



 “The LRI annual conference provides a unique forum for researchers from diverse disciplines to interact and spark new collaborations, united in the search for solutions to this very difficult disease,” noted world-leading immunologist William Paul, M.D., LRI Scientific Advisory Board Chairman and National Academy of Sciences member.

Read more to experience the same excitement that world-class scientists do as they exchange results, ideas, insights and suggestions for pushing lupus research further and faster.


Big data was a focal theme explored throughout the conference. LRI brought together experts in novel data-driven approaches to understanding the immune system to discuss how this complex information on genes, cells and molecules can be collected, analyzed and put into use to improve the care of people with lupus.

Guest speakers Bali Pulendran, Ph.D. at Emory University and Mark Davis, Ph.D. at Stanford University described how systems biology helps answer fundamental questions about how the human immune system works.

How can we process the growing amounts of available genetic information and increasing computational power to help develop new drugs? That was the question addressed by pharmaceutical industry speakers Robert Plenge, M.D., at Merck Research Laboratories and Mark E. Curran, Ph.D., at Janssen Research & Development, LLC.

We were honored to have Sir Marc Feldmann, M.D., Ph.D, from Oxford University share insights from his pioneering research in rheumatoid arthritis. He described how scientific approaches taken in this autoimmune disease offer lessons that could be applied to lupus research and development of new therapies.



Lupus Research Institute Awards $1 Million Grants to Discover What Causes Lupus

The LRI announced recipients of its 2014 Distinguished Innovator Awards with three cutting-edge projects that tackle the underlying causes of the disease.  The LRI Distinguished Innovator Awards are the largest privately funded lupus research grants, providing up to $1 million to afford visionary scientists the ability to pursue ambitious studies that will get at the fundamental causes of lupus that can drive toward prevention and a cure.

The 2014 award recipients are Douglas Green, Ph.D., at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Zhijian "James" Chen, Ph.D., at UT Southwestern Medical Center; (both pictured below left); and Randolph J. Noelle, Ph.D., at Dartmouth College (below right).



36 investigators currently working on their Novel Research Grants presented the important strides they’ve made to further our understanding of lupus and development of new treatments.

Highlights include:

  • Novel Research Grant awardee Meggan Mackay, M.D., M.S., of The Feinstein Institute of Medical Research presented her ongoing research of new brain imaging markers of mental impairment to detect disease in people with lupus.
  • Small remnants of viruses passed down from our collective ancestors might very well be behind autoimmune diseases like lupus according to findings presented by LRI Novel Research Grant recipients Hamit Malik, Ph.D., of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and Matthias Wabl, Ph.D., of University of California, San Francisco.


Thanks to Our Sponsors

The Lupus Research Institute thanks our corporate sponsors for supporting the unfettered scientific interchange that has made the Forum for Discovery a forum for collaboration and innovation.