John Varga, MD
Frederick G. L. Huetwell Research Professor of Rheumatology
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Professor, Department of Dermatology
Associate Director, Scleroderma Program
Dr. John Varga is an academic rheumatologist with a long-standing interest in patient-relevant research of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and fibrosis. Dr. Varga is the division chief of Rheumatology and principal investigator of the ScleroLab. He is interested in animal models; genetic, immunologic, and bioinformatics strategies to delineate key pathways and clinical associations; and the role of inflammatory mechanisms in fibrosis. The work from the ScleroLab provides the framework for pilot clinical trials in SSc and fibrosis.
Dr. Swati Bhattacharyya received her PhD from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in India, and did her postdoc training at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University. Dr. Bhattacharyya is a senior research supervisor and the director of the ScleroLab. She has a long-standing expertise in molecular and cellular mechanisms of fibrosis, with emphasis on cytokines and intracellular signaling pathways in scleroderma patients and animal models of scleroderma. Dr. Bhattacharyya's research primarily focuses on the role of innate immune signaling in fibrosis progression in scleroderma.
Dr. Mohammad Amin is an associate research scientist with proficiency in different animal models of arthritis, tumorigenesis, angiogenesis, and the contribution of angiogenesis, monocytes, and fibroblasts in rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, scleroderma (SSc), and cancer. Dr. Amin graduated as a medical doctor from Allama Iqbal Medical College Lahore in Pakistan. Currently his research focuses on the role of CD38-NAD+ metabolism in scleroderma and aging.
Dr. Seok-Jo Kim is an research assistant professor studying the role of environmental dietary factors with enhanced host TMA metabolism in a meta-organismal pathway in organ fibrosis. Dr. Kim is also interested in the role of mitochondrial DNA and epigenetic regulation of factors involved in lung epithelial cell DNA damage and lung diseases (e.g. lung fibrosis, COPD). He received his PhD from Dong-A University in South Korea, and did his postdoc training at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Pharmacology) and Northwestern University (Pulmonary).
Dr. Swarna Bale is a postdoctoral research fellow interested in understanding the role of TAK1 in animal models of scleroderma, and developing novel therapeutic approaches targeting TAK1 using small molecule TAK1 inhibitor to mitigate disease condition of scleroderma. Dr. Bale received her PhD from the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Hyderabad in India in the discipline of Pharmacology and Toxicology with research focused on organ fibrosis.
Dr. Hanshi Sun received her PhD in neuroscience from Wayne State University. Before Dr. Sun joined the ScleroLab as a research lab specialist associate, she had worked in cancer research for 14 years. Currently, her research focuses on the role of innate immune signaling in organ fibrosis.
Dr. Johann Gudjonsson is the Arthur C. Curtis Professor of Skin Molecular Immunology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, and Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar with the Taubman Institute. Dr. Gudjonsson's research focus is on mechanisms of skin inflammation, including psoriasis, connective tissue diseases, and sex bias in autoimmunity.
Dr. Eliza Tsou, Edward T. and Ellen K. Dryer Early Career Professor of Rheumatology and Research, is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Rheumatology where she conducts translational research in the field of systemic sclerosis. Dr. Tsou is interested in exploring the epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis, with a specific focus in the vascular space. Her goal is to identify epigenetic markers that define disease pathogenesis and progression, patient heterogeneity, and response to therapy.