Four Leading Experts Join Lupus Research Institute Scientific Advisory Board

NEW YORK, NY - June 18, 2012. The Lupus Research Institute (LRI) announces the addition of four thought-leaders to its Scientific Advisory Board. They join a distinguished group that has guided the Institute to become the world's leading private sector supporter of novel innovative science in lupus. Since its inception in 2001, the LRI has led the field having produced many of the decade's most pivotal scientific discoveries in lupus and autoimmunity.

Chaired by William Paul, MD, world-leading immunologist and member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Board is comprised of many of the country's finest scientists specializing in lupus and immunology from academia, industry and clinical practice throughout the country. The newest members are:

Mary CollinsMary Collins, PhD, Past Chief Scientific Officer (CS0), Inflammation and Immunology at Pfizer Research. Dr. Collins is a scientific leader in the biopharmaceutical industry with 28 years of experience leading the development of new small molecule and protein therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, including lupus.  Dr. Collins has collaborated extensively with the academic scientific community, and she is currently a visiting scientist with colleagues at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard University.

Keith ElkonKeith Elkon, MD, Mannik-Henderson Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Immunology, Head, Division of Rheumatology, University of Washington. His research over the past 20 years has shown how defects in clearance of dead and dying cells from the body might be linked to lupus. His group has pioneered new experimental models of lupus and is currently working to translate their fundamental discoveries into new therapies.

V. Michael HolersV. Michael Holers, MD, Scoville Professor of Rheumatology and Head, Division of Rheumatology, University of Colorado School of Medicine. With his extensive work on the complement system, a group of proteins that interact to form a first-line defense against infection but also are inappropriately misdirected against one's own organs and cells, Dr. Holers' research has revealed the fundamental biology of complement proteins and their therapeutic potential as targets to treat autoimmune and inflammatory conditions such as lupus. In addition, as co-founder of Taligen Therapeutics, he has led the development of new complement inhibitors now in clinical development.

David WofsyDavid Wofsy, MD, Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Past President of the American College of Rheumatology, Dr. Wofsy is a leader in both basic and clinical lupus research. He has developed and tested several novel strategies for the treatment of lupus. His current research is devoted to clinical trials of biologic therapies for people with lupus. Dr. Wofsy is also Principal Investigator of the Autoimmunity Center of Excellence at UCSF.

"The LRI is very pleased to welcome our esteemed colleagues to our Scientific Advisory Board," noted Dr. Paul. "The Institute will benefit from their new perspectives and diversity of experience."

Drs. Collins, Elkon, Holers, and Wofsy bring extensive expertise in lupus, autoimmune disease, and the broader field of immunology. Together with the existing members, the Board spans the continuum from laboratory and translational research to drug and diagnostic development through clinical trials. As advisors their role is critical, harnessing creativity with scientific rigor to steer the LRI in its pursuit of the most novel research that delivers true innovation with tangible benefits to patients.

"Our Board members are more than advisors but rather visionaries" said Margaret Dowd, LRI President and CEO. "Their expertise helps shape the Institute's strategic direction and identify the most promising programs ranging from discovering ways to improve diagnosis and treatment to finding the causes of lupus that can drive to a cure."