The complexity of rheumatic diseases entails an integrative approach to research and clinical care. This program supports human genetic and genomic, biopsychosocial and behavioral, and pain related research in rheumatic diseases, with a goal to understand how a person’s genetics, environmental, behavioral and lifestyle factors influence health and to understand the best approach to prevent and treat diseases, ultimately bringing precision medicine to patients.

Areas of focus include, but not limited to:

  • Integrated functional genetics, genomics and epigenetics studies of rheumatic diseases including complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors.
  • Multi-omics, high-throughput technologies, systems biology approach for biomarker discovery, patient phenotyping, pathway analyses, mechanistic studies, drug response and toxicities, and translation of new knowledge into clinical care.
  • Algorithms development and computational modeling of multifaceted data including clinical, biological and patient reported information to improve understanding of disease, clinical diagnosis and treatment, and patient outcomes.
  • Research into biopsychosocial and behavioral risk factors; socioeconomic factors; health disparities; adherence and compliance; health-related decision making; sleep and mood disturbances, or social functioning as related to rheumatic diseases.
  • Investigation into biological mechanisms of pain in rheumatic diseases and chronic pain syndromes and identify critical events for development of new therapies.
  • Exploring biopsychosocial mechanisms of pain, including sensory, cognitive, and affective components to understand the distinction between tissue damage and the experience of pain as related to rheumatic diseases.
  • Examining neuroendocrine and/or neuroimmune mechanisms in rheumatic and related chronic syndromes.
  • Integrative approaches to management of pain and fatigue related to rheumatic diseases including cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise and diet, coping skills training, support groups, self-management programs, relaxation and stress management, self-disclosure/emotional expression.
  • Adapting mobile health technologies (e.g., smart phones), wearable sensors, and web-based technologies to facilitate research on the role of behavioral factors, enhance collection of patient-generated or -reported data, and implemental of digital interventions as related to rheumatic diseases.

Contact Us

Yan Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Program Director
6701 Democracy Boulevard
Building: Democracy 1, Room: 876
Bethesda MD 20892-4872

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