Scientist Training in Rheumatology Research

The Michigan Medicine Division of Rheumatology Scientist Training in Rheumatology Research program is designed to prepare outstanding postdoctoral scientists, both MD and PhD, for investigative careers in research related to rheumatic diseases.

Our program has a strong record of success which we attribute to a comprehensive and integrated educational approach and the following fundamental principles that have guided our program since its inception in 1976.

  • Recruitment of diverse candidates with strong research potential and a commitment to discovery
  • Providing trainees with tailored mentorship teams and individual development plans to optimize their progression toward research independence
  • Promoting multidisciplinary research through cohesive and collaborative faculty teams
  • Leveraging unsurpassed institutional resources to promote trainee success

Program Goal

To equip a diverse cohort of trainees with all the tools needed to become successful independent investigators focused on improving the understanding of, and care for, people living with rheumatic diseases.

Program Aims

Our program is designed to provide trainees:

  • a broad working knowledge of the biological and clinical aspects of rheumatic diseases
  • essential familiarity with state-of-the-art scientific methodologies and analyses
  • experience and confidence with all aspects of scientific communication
  • strong roots in the ethical conduction of research and in embracing a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Scientific Themes

Our program focuses on four major scientific themes that align with the modern research landscape, which is focused on the pursuit of precision, patient-centric approaches to health and disease for the diverse populations living with rheumatic diseases. View our mentors by scientific them.

  • Biologic Underpinnings of Clinical Heterogeneity
  • Immunological Mechanisms of Disease
  • Injury, Repair, and Fibrosis
  • Patient Outcomes/Experience and Innovative Trials


The Scientist Training in Rheumatology Research leadership team includes Program Director, Dr. Jason Knight, and Associate Directors, Dr. J. Michelle Kahlenberg and Dr. Dinesh Khanna, and is supported by an internal and external advisory committee.

Program Director

Jason Knight, MD, PhD

Jason S. Knight, MD, PhD

Marvin and Betty Danto Research Professor of Connective Tissue Research
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Director, Antiphospholipid Syndrome Program
Associate Director, Lupus Program

Antiphospholipid Syndrome Research Labs Site


Associate Program Directors

J. Michelle Kahlenberg, MD, PhD

J. Michelle Kahlenberg, MD, PhD

Giles G. Bole MD and Dorothy Mulkey MD Research Professor of Rheumatology
Associate Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine and Dermatology
Associate Chief for Basic and Translational Research, Division of Rheumatology
Associate Director, Lupus Program

Kahlenberg Lab Site


Dinesh Khanna, MD, MSc

Dinesh Khanna, MD, MSc

Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor of Rheumatology
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Director, Scleroderma Program


Internal Advisory Committee

David Fox, MD
Frederick G. L. Huetwell and William D. Robinson, MD Professor of Rheumatology
Professor of Internal Medicine, Medical School

Mariana Kaplan, MD
Chief, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Systemic Autoimmunity Branch
Adjunct Professor, Department of Internal Medicine

Mary O’Riordan, PhD
Frederick C. Neidhardt Collegiate Professor
Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

John Varga, MD
Frederick G. L. Huetwell Research Professor of Rheumatology
Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine and Dermatology

External Advisory Committee

Michael B. Brenner, MD
Theodore B. Bayles Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Chief, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Leslie J. Crofford, MD
Professor of Medicine and Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology
Director, Division of Rheumatology & Immunology, Vanderbilt University

V. Michael Holers, MD
Scoville Professor of Medicine
Head, Division of Rheumatology, University of Colorado

Judith A. James, MD, PhD
Member and Program Chair, Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program
Lou C. Kerr Endowed Chair in Biomedical Research
Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Adjunct Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center


Current Trainees

Past Trainees








  • Rajaie A. Namas, MBBCh (2014-2016)
  • Donna Ray, PhD (2014-2016)



  • Karen A. Esmonde-White, PhD (2011-2014)
  • Jiaqi Fu, PhD (2013-2014)
  • Matthew D. Morse, PhD (2013-2014)


  • Carmelo Carmona-Rivera, PhD (2011-2013)
  • Gladis M. Walter, PhD (2012-2013)



How to Apply

The Division of Rheumatology seeks to select applicants best prepared to fulfill the the goals of the division, including a longstanding focus on training physician scientists.

Prior Training and Career Level Requirements

Many program trainees will be physician scientists, MD/PhD, or MD (with opportunity to obtain a master’s degree during their time in the program). Other trainees will be PhD scientists who are interested in a career in rheumatic diseases research. Outstanding candidates who display strong research interest, but are without significant prior research experience are also given consideration. Candidates who are physicians will have no more than 20% clinical responsibilities during training.

How to Apply

Please send an email to [email protected] for information on how to apply.

Contact Us

For more information about our Scientist Training in Rheumatology Research Program, please contact:

Gail Quaderer
Research Administrator
Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Rheumatology
5520 MSRB I
Ann Arbor MI 48109
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 734-845-6241

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Well-Being

The Department of Internal Medicine (DOIM) Division of Rheumatology is committed to creating and cultivating a diverse and inclusive community that provides our faculty, learners, and staff with the opportunities and support they need to thrive. Visit the DOIM Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Well-Being to learn more.

Salary and Benefits

Learn about salary, benefits, and employment eligibility.

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