John Varga, MD
Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor
Chief, Division of Rheumatology
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Professor, Department of Dermatology
Associate Director, Scleroderma Program
Dr. John Varga is an academic rheumatologist with a long-standing interest in patient-relevant research of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and fibrosis. Dr. Varga is the division chief of Rheumatology and principal investigator of the ScleroLab. He is interested in animal models; genetic, immunologic, and bioinformatics strategies to delineate key pathways and clinical associations; and the role of inflammatory mechanisms in fibrosis. The work from the ScleroLab provides the framework for pilot clinical trials in SSc and fibrosis.
Dr. Swati Bhattacharyya received her PhD from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in India, and did her postdoc training at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University. Dr. Bhattacharyya is a research scientist and the director of the ScleroLab. She has a long-standing expertise in molecular and cellular mechanisms of fibrosis, with emphasis on cytokines and intracellular signaling pathways in scleroderma patients and animal models of scleroderma. Dr. Bhattacharyya's research primarily focuses on the role of innate immune signaling in fibrosis progression in scleroderma.
Dr. Mohammad Amin is an associate research scientist with proficiency in different animal models of arthritis, tumorigenesis, angiogenesis, and the contribution of angiogenesis, monocytes, and fibroblasts in rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, scleroderma (SSc), and cancer. Dr. Amin graduated as a medical doctor from Allama Iqbal Medical College Lahore in Pakistan. Currently his research focuses on the role of CD38-NAD+ metabolism in scleroderma and aging.
Dr. Swarna Bale is a postdoctoral research fellow interested in understanding the role of TAK1 in animal models of scleroderma, and developing novel therapeutic approaches targeting TAK1 using small molecule TAK1 inhibitor to mitigate disease condition of scleroderma. Dr. Bale received her PhD from the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Hyderabad in India in the discipline of Pharmacology and Toxicology with research focused on organ fibrosis.
Syed Hasan is a research associate specialist who received his Master's in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Toledo. Syed's committee-approved thesis project is focused on animal modeling and behavioral studies. He has proficiency in working with animals in his graduate work and has previous experience and publications in the fields of immunology, endocrinology, and cancer biology. Syed is currently interested in studying fibrotic intracellular pathways in animal models in our lab.
Dr. Priyanka Verma is a postdoctoral research fellow in the ScleroLab and is involved in immunological and metabolic alterations in scleroderma diseases to discover novel targets and therapies. Dr. Verma received her Ph.D. from the Banaras Hindu University in India in Biotechnology with her research focused on immunogenetic alterations in early miscarriage.
Katherine Broderick is an undergraduate student research assistant working in the Sclerolab alongside Dr. Swati Bhattacharyya on her project ”Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns Driving Fibrosis Progression in Scleroderma” in association with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). She is a sophomore majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biomedical Science (CMBS) and is hoping to earn her Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering while concentrating her studies in regenerative medicine, specifically tissue regeneration. In the lab, Katherine is interested in learning more about the effects of different inhibitors on fibrotic gene expression.
Manal Rizwan is an undergraduate research assistant, and is a senior majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition, Neuroscience (BCN) and minoring in History of Medicine and Health. In the ScleroLab, Manal is working with Dr. Amin and focuses on the role of CD38-NAD+ metabolism in scleroderma and aging.
Kris Shah is an undergraduate research assistant and a freshman with an intended major in Biochemistry on the pre-medical track. He is working with Dr. Swati Bhattacharyya on her project focus of "Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns Driving Fibrosis Progression in Scleroderma" and also assisting on other projects. Kris enjoys learning more about different disorders and about the process of developing therapies for diseases like scleroderma among other skin diseases.
Jenna Silverman is an undergraduate research assistant and a sophomore intending to major in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience (BCN) on the pre-medical track. She is working with Dr. Swati Bhattacharyya on her project focus of “Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns Driving Fibrosis Progression in Scleroderma” through UROP, as well as assisting with other projects for Dr. Dibyendu Bhattacharyya with a focus on learning the role of cilia in fibrosis using microscopy techniques. Jenna has always been passionate about skin research so she joined the ScleroLab to broaden her understanding of the pathogenesis of skin diseases.
Dr. Johann Gudjonsson is the Arthur C. Curtis Professor of Skin Molecular Immunology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, and Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar with the Taubman Institute. Dr. Gudjonsson's research focus is on mechanisms of skin inflammation, including psoriasis, connective tissue diseases, and sex bias in autoimmunity.
Dr. Eliza Tsou, Edward T. and Ellen K. Dryer Early Career Professor of Rheumatology and Research, is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Rheumatology where she conducts translational research in the field of systemic sclerosis. Dr. Tsou is interested in exploring the epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis, with a specific focus in the vascular space. Her goal is to identify epigenetic markers that define disease pathogenesis and progression, patient heterogeneity, and response to therapy.