From left to right:
Dr. Lindsey A. Criswell, Director, NIAMS
Dr. Janine A. Clayton, Director, ORWH
Dr. Susan K. Gregurick, Director, ODSS

Dear Colleagues, 

Many studies have shown that autoimmune diseases disproportionately affect women – nearly 80 percent of those with an autoimmune disease are women. Better understanding these types of health disparities, and identifying ways to mitigate them, is central to the mission of the NIH. It is also one reason why we announced the Team Science Leadership Scholars Program (LSP) in Women’s Health, Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases last year. 

This pilot program, developed in partnership among NIAMS, the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), and the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS), was designed to improve the health of women by supporting the research and development of scholars who specialize in women’s health studies in autoimmune and immune-mediated diseases. After a rigorous application and selection process, we are pleased to announce the selection of the six awardees who make up the inaugural class of scholars. The 2023 LSP Awardees are:

  1. Sheila Angeles-Han, M.D., M.S.
  2. April Lynn Barnado, M.D., MSCI
  3. Monica Guma, M.D., Ph.D.
  4. Sara McCoy, M.D., Ph.D.
  5. Paula Sofia Ramos, M.D., M.Sc.
  6. Kelly Ruggles, Ph.D., M.S.

Embedded within the Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases (AMP® AIM) program1, the LSP will provide these scholars the opportunity to work closely with AMP AIM researchers. Launched in 2021, AMP AIM seeks to deepen our understanding of the cellular and molecular interactions that lead to inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The scholars, whose projects will help us to better understand female-dominant autoimmune diseases, will be integrated into the AMP AIM program where they will be able to leverage established infrastructure, samples, and datasets. 

Within the LSP, scholars will have the opportunity to enhance their team science leadership skills through immersive, cross-sectoral collaborative experiences. The LSP will provide lectures, workshops, and mentoring in multiple areas of team science, including leadership skills development, conflict resolution, mediation, creating a vision, communication skills, team dynamics, and other associated topics. We believe that this program will help to prepare the next generation of leaders in team science by equipping them with the skills needed to serve as effective leaders and mentors.

The announcement of the first class of scholars is only the first phase of our ongoing effort. Given the robust response to our pilot, NIH will be issuing a second funding opportunity announcement for the LSP later this fall. The second phase of this program will have expanded eligibility criteria designed to encourage early-stage researchers to apply. Please stay tuned for more information about this upcoming announcement in the coming months.

Ensuring that future generations of researchers have effective leaders and mentors is critical to the biomedical research enterprise. We are eager to see how this program will create and train new leaders in women’s health research. Please join us in congratulating the 2023 Leadership Scholars Program Awardees!

The 2023 LSP Awardees and Projects are:

Sheila Angeles-Han, M.D., M.S. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Towards Personalized Use of Methotrexate for the Treatment of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis-Associated Uveitis
April Lynn Barnado, M.D., MSCI

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Quantifying the Predictive Value of Clinical, Genetic, and Molecular Data for Treatment Response in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Nephritis

Monica Guma, M.D., Ph.D. University of California San Diego

Integrated scRNAseq and Lipidomics Reveals New Synovial Pathogenic Pathways and Therapeutic Targets

Sara McCoy, M.D., Ph.D University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Sjögren’s Disease Salivary Gland Mesenchymal Stromal Cells: Defining the Transcriptional and Epigenetic Landscape Changes in Health and Disease

Paula Sofia Ramos, M.D., M.Sc. Medical University of South Carolina Cell Type-specific Epigenetic Effects of Social Exposures on Autoimmune Disease Severity
Kelly Ruggles, Ph.D., M.S. NYU School of Medicine Developing and Leveraging Multi-Omic Approaches to Elucidate Early Disease Pathogenesis in Lupus Nephritis

Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc.
Director, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Janine A. Clayton, M.D., FARVO
NIH Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health
Director, Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)

Susan K. Gregurick, Ph.D.
NIH Associate Director for Data Science
Director, Office of Data Science Strategy

1 The AMP AIM program is managed through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, with additional support from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Eye Institute, and thirteen public and private partners.