Clinical Trials and Observational Studies

The UCSF Division of Rheumatology plays a national role in the design and conduct of interventional clinical trials, utilizing a substantial clinical and research infrastructure based at all three of its training sites, including the Rheumatology Clinical Research Center (RCRC) and the University’s NIH funded-Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Maria Dall’Era, who directs the RCRC, is the Vice-chair of the Steering Committee of the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN). LuCIN provides support for trainees to participate in various industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated trials. In addition, Maria is a member of the Executive Committee of the international Lupus Nephritis Trials Network, which provides opportunities for trainees to participate in lupus nephritis trials. Jonathan Graf is the director of the UCSF Rheumatoid Arthritis Cohort and has served as the PI or co-investigator on more than a dozen clinical trials and translational studies investigating novel therapeutics and interventional strategies to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These studies range from pre-clinical investigations to multi-centered phase IV trials and include both investigator-initiated and industry-partnered collaborations, funded from a variety of sources that include the NIH and Rheumatology Research Foundation.

Dr. Maria Dall’Era

Dr. Dall’Era is the Director of the UCSF Lupus Clinic, which cares for over 200 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus from all over Northern California. This work has culminated in the demonstration of effective new approaches to induce and maintain remission in people with life-threatening kidney disease due to SLE. Currently, her research focuses on the design and conduct of clinical trials in order to develop safer and more effective medications for the treatment of lupus. Her work also looks at the symptoms, clinical course, treatments, and outcomes of lupus patients in a prospective registry.

Dr. Lianne Gensler, MD

Dr. Lianne Gensler is the Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Clinic Director and performs research in AS and related fields. Currently, she is enrolling patients in 2 observational studies to better understand outcomes in patients with AS. One of these is in collaboration with other investigators to better understand the genetic contributions towards the disease. She is also studying a survey tool to identify patients with AS early, with the hope of reducing the current delay to diagnosis of 5-10 years.

Dr. Jon Graf, MD

Dr. Jon Graf is the Director of the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital and co-director of the UCSF RA cohort. Dr. Graf’s research interests relate broadly to immune mechanisms in rheumatic disease, spanning from basic laboratory research to studies in humans with RA and other rheumatic disorders. Currently, his research focuses on clinical and translational studies of RA, including studies that look at novel therapeutics, biomarkers, and cardiovascular risk in patients with RA.