Principal Investigators Research Laboratories
The Division of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases seeks the cure for a diverse group of systemic diseases affecting a wide range of organ systems, usually including the synovial joints and their surrounding connective tissues and bones. Although the cause of many of these illnesses is unknown, most share some form of immunopathology that leads to uncontrolled inflammation, pain, disability, and often tissue destruction. Ongoing basic research in the Division is leading to an ever greater understanding of the autoimmunity that leads to systemic inflammatory diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic Sclerosis and Polymyositis/Dermatomyositis. Tissue-specific autoimmunity such as that seen in Type I Diabetes Mellitus is also a focus of investigation. Although the major academic effort of this Division is biomedical research in these areas, translation of these discoveries into improved clinical outcomes for patients with Rheumatic diseases is an equally important mission for this Division.
The Research Laboratory of Dr. Brian Fife
The major focus of research in the Fife Lab is on the restoration of immunological self-tolerance for treatment of autoimmunity. Working with T cells, specifically CD4+ and CD8+, the Fife lab is investigating possibilities for a cure to be found for Type 1 Diabetes.
The Research Laboratory of Dr. Daniel Mueller
The major focus of the Mueller Lab is the investigation of the biological and biochemical mechanisms that underlie the maintenance of T-cell tolerance within the peripheral immune system. Investigations carried out by Dr. Daniel Mueller are leading to a better understanding of the biological and biochemical nature of immune self-tolerance. Of particular interest are those factors that determine whether prolonged and continuous antigen stimulation of a T-cell will lead to an increase in the clone size and the development of protective (or pathological) effector function, or lead to its functional inactivation (clonal anergy) and T-cell tolerance. Experiments are underway that investigate the repertoire of human autoreactive B cells in normals as well as in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
Research ethics at the University of Minnesota
We are committed to protecting research participants, upholding ethical standards, and improving our practice at every step of our work.