Dr. Robert Colbert is a board-certified pediatric rheumatologist with a long-standing interest in understanding the pathogenesis of spondyloarthritis. After completing clinical training in pediatrics and rheumatology, he did postdoctoral research in molecular immunology at the University of North Carolina. From there he joined the faculty at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati, where he became Professor of Pediatrics and chief of the Division of Rheumatology. He joined the NIAMS Intramural Research Program in 2008 as Chief of the Pediatric Translational Research Branch.

Research Statement

The Pediatric Translational Research Branch is focused on understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of early onset arthritis, including axial disease in juvenile spondyloarthritis. Patients are studied under a natural history protocol (#11-AR-0223; Studies on the Natural History and Pathogenesis of Spondyloarthritis) to find better clinical, laboratory, and imaging modalities to define axial involvement and disease outcome. We are particularly interested in genetic contributions to early onset axial disease. The laboratory also utilizes animal models to understand the role of risk genes and how they interact, and dissect molecular mechanisms that drive arthritis and spondyloarthritis pathogenesis. Current studies are focused on defining novel effects of ERAP1 on HLA-B27, the role of endoplasmic reticulum quality control pathways in HLA-B27 misfolding, and how misfolding impacts immune function. We also have studies addressing the role of gut microbiota in experimental spondyloarthritis.

Scientific Publications

Recent Updates in Juvenile Spondyloarthritis.

Srinivasalu H, Sikora KA, Colbert RA
Rheum Dis Clin North Am.
2021 Nov;
doi: 10.1016/j.rdc.2021.07.001
PMID: 34635292

JAK1: Number one in the family; number one in inflammation?

Spinelli FR, Colbert RA, Gadina M
Rheumatology (Oxford).
2021 May 5;
60(Suppl 2).
doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keab024
PMID: 33950229

Somatic Mutations in UBA1 and Severe Adult-Onset Autoinflammatory Disease.

Beck DB, Ferrada MA, Sikora KA, Ombrello AK, Collins JC, Pei W, Balanda N, Ross DL, Ospina Cardona D, Wu Z, Patel B, Manthiram K, Groarke EM, Gutierrez-Rodrigues F, Hoffmann P, Rosenzweig S, Nakabo S, Dillon LW, Hourigan CS, Tsai WL, Gupta S, Carmona-Rivera C, Asmar AJ, Xu L, Oda H, Goodspeed W, Barron KS, Nehrebecky M, Jones A, Laird RS, Deuitch N, Rowczenio D, Rominger E, Wells KV, Lee CR, Wang W, Trick M, Mullikin J, Wigerblad G, Brooks S, Dell'Orso S, Deng Z, Chae JJ, Dulau-Florea A, Malicdan MCV, Novacic D, Colbert RA, Kaplan MJ, Gadina M, Savic S, Lachmann HJ, Abu-Asab M, Solomon BD, Retterer K, Gahl WA, Burgess SM, Aksentijevich I, Young NS, Calvo KR, Werner A, Kastner DL, Grayson PC
N Engl J Med.
2020 Dec 31;
doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2026834
PMID: 33108101

Janus kinase (JAK) inhibition with baricitinib in refractory juvenile dermatomyositis.

Kim H, Dill S, O'Brien M, Vian L, Li X, Manukyan M, Jain M, Adeojo LW, George J, Perez M, Grom AA, Sutter M, Feldman BM, Yao L, Millwood M, Brundidge A, Pichard DC, Cowen EW, Shi Y, Lu S, Tsai WL, Gadina M, Rider LG, Colbert RA
Ann Rheum Dis.
2021 Mar;
doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2020-218690
PMID: 32843325

Novel Inter-omic Analysis Reveals Relationships Between Diverse Gut Microbiota and Host Immune Dysregulation in HLA-B27-Induced Experimental Spondyloarthritis.

Gill T, Brooks SR, Rosenbaum JT, Asquith M, Colbert RA
Arthritis Rheumatol.
2019 Nov;
doi: 10.1002/art.41018
PMID: 31216122

The Role of Autophagy in the Degradation of Misfolded HLA-B27 Heavy Chains.

Navid F, Layh-Schmitt G, Sikora KA, Cougnoux A, Colbert RA
Arthritis Rheumatol.
2018 May;
doi: 10.1002/art.40414
PMID: 29342507

Germline gain-of-function myeloid differentiation primary response gene-88 (MYD88) mutation in a child with severe arthritis.

Sikora KA, Bennett JR, Vyncke L, Deng Z, Tsai WL, Pauwels E, Layh-Schmitt G, Brundidge A, Navid F, Zaal KJM, Hanson E, Gadina M, Staudt LM, Griffin TA, Tavernier J, Peelman F, Colbert RA
J Allergy Clin Immunol.
2018 May;
doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2018.01.027
PMID: 29427642

Effects of HLA-B27 on Gut Microbiota in Experimental Spondyloarthritis Implicate an Ecological Model of Dysbiosis.

Gill T, Asquith M, Brooks SR, Rosenbaum JT, Colbert RA
Arthritis Rheumatol.
2018 Apr;
doi: 10.1002/art.40405
PMID: 29287307

ERAP1 reduces accumulation of aberrant and disulfide-linked forms of HLA-B27 on the cell surface.

Tran TM, Hong S, Edwan JH, Colbert RA
Mol Immunol.
2016 Jun;
doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2016.04.002
PMID: 27107845

Identification of Interleukin-1β-Producing Monocytes That Are Susceptible to Pyronecrotic Cell Death in Patients With Neonatal-Onset Multisystem Inflammatory Disease.

Edwan JH, Goldbach-Mansky R, Colbert RA
Arthritis Rheumatol.
2015 Dec;
doi: 10.1002/art.39307
PMID: 26245468


Boston University
B.A., Chemistry and Biology, Summa Cum Laude

University of Vermont
M.S., Biochemistry

Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Rochester School of Medicine.
M.D., Ph.D.


Pediatrics, Strong Memorial Hospital at the University of Rochester

Pediatric Rheumatology, Duke University and the University of North Carolina

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