Michael Ombrello, M.D., joined the Pediatric Translational Research Branch as a Tenure-Track Investigator in 2017. Dr. Ombrello graduated from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in 1993. He matriculated to Saint Louis University as a Pre-Medical scholar, where he earned both a B.S. in Biology and an M.D. He obtained residency training in combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and Saint Louis University Hospital, where he also received subspecialty training in combined adult and pediatric rheumatology. During his rheumatology fellowship, Dr. Ombrello’s desire to explore the underpinnings of inflammatory diseases blossomed, leading him to pursue postdoctoral training in the genetics and genomics of inflammation with Daniel Kastner at the NIH. As the inaugural NIAMS Henry Metzger Scholar in Translational Medicine, he performed genomic studies of Behçet’s disease and established an international collaboration to study the genetics of systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA). He also identified novel deletions of PLCG2 in 3 families with a novel autoinflammatory disease, PLCG2-associated antibody deficiency and immune dysregulation (PLAID). In 2013 he was appointed by NIAMS as an Assistant Clinical Investigator and established the Translational Genetics and Genomics Unit.
Dr. Ombrello is board certified in both rheumatology and pediatric rheumatology. He leads the genetic investigations of sJIA for the International Childhood Arthritis Genetics (INCHARGE) Consortium. He is actively involved in a range of organizations, including the American College of Rheumatology and the Childhood Arthritis Rheumatology Research Alliance. He has received numerous local and national awards and honors, including NIAMS and NIAID Merit Awards, the American College of Rheumatology’s Distinguished Fellow Award, the NIH Fellows’ Award for Research Excellence and the NIH Director’s Award.
The Translational Genetics and Genomics Unit is a research group focused on understanding the mechanisms that underlie inflammatory and autoimmune disease. We have a particular interest in genetically-complex diseases, such as Still’s disease/systemic juvenile arthritis and Behçet’s disease, whose pathophysiologies manifest dysfunction of both innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. Working with large international collaborations, we are engaged in integrated genomic investigations of well-phenotyped patient collections. We are also seeking to better understand the mechanisms of seemingly unprovoked inflammation through the study of individuals and families with monogenic inflammatory diseases, such as PLCG2 associated antibody deficiency and immune dysregulation (PLAID), together with phenotypically-similar but genetically-complex disorders, such as common variable immune deficiency. Through the biologic knowledge that our studies produce, we hope to identify novel therapeutic targets to ultimately improve the lives of individuals affected by chronic inflammatory and rheumatic diseases.