Overview of the Research Program of the NCCAF Center of Excellence

Simply bringing together faculty from the Divisions of Rheumatology at Stanford and UCSF led to proposals for projects with substantive involvement by investigators from both institutions.

For this initial phase of the Center of Excellence 8 such projects have been selected using the following criteria:

  • Research projects must be consistent with the Mission of the NCCAF Center of Excellence;
  • Research projects must focus on RA, JIA, and/or OA;
  • The work proposed must be original;
  • The experimental plan must be feasible and include metrics;
  • If the project is successful, the results should have a substantive impact on the field.

The organization of the Research Proposal is thematic, with the goal of promoting synergistic interactions between investigators and between projects. The themes and projects build upon existing strengths and expertise in T-cell biology, vascular biology, osteoimmunology, and clinical and translational studies of rheumatic diseases. Natural areas of collaboration stemmed from the complementary infrastructure investments made by the Stanford and UCSF Divisions of Rheumatology, notably the development of cutting-edge antigen microarrays and high-throughput multiplex analyses (Stanford) and development of the large, well-characterized observational RA Cohort with dedicated RA clinics and a biorepository of samples linked to detailed clinical data (UCSF).

Center Themes and Projects

  • Theme 1. Disease progression in RA
    • Project 1.1: Isolation of the affinity-matured autoantibodies in active rheumatoid arthritis
    • Project 1.2: Development of actionable biomarkers for rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Project 1.3: FCRL3 polymorphisms and RA disease progression
    • Project 1.4: T cell signaling signatures as biomarkers in rheumatoid arthritis
  • Theme 2. Cardiovascular disease in RA
    • Project 2.1: The Molecular Mechanisms of Vascular Endothelial Dysfunction in RA
    • Project 2.2: Immune Aging and Cardiovascular Disease in Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Theme 3. Role of osteoclasts and monocytes in joint damage in JIA and RA
  • Theme 4. Role of inflammation in osteoarthritis