Center for Autoimmune Disease Research (CADRe)

The Center for Autoimmune Diseases Research was formed in order to address the growing need to take autoimmune diseases research from the level of excellence that has already been achieved in current animal-based research endeavors, and translate that same success into human-oriented research. Our goal is to conduct research that will lead to the cure of autoimmune diseases through support for patient sample and clinical data collection, and the application of advanced analytic and immune-modulating technologies.

To achieve these goals, CADRe will:

  • Offer pilot grants to bring collaborative researchers together
    Now that we have launched CADRe, our goal is to begin funding pilot grants for specific types of projects as a way to bring people together for this uniquely collaborative work. Please see our Pilot Grant page for more information on application cycles and to download an application form.
  • Build a robust repository of patient samples
    One of CADRe’s initial projects is to collect, manage, and store patient samples, thus providing the opportunity to retrieve samples future analyses as the technology evolves. This investment makes future research less expensive and more convenient, expanding our ability to further our work toward conquering autoimmune diseases.
  • Create a powerful database to enable deep discovery
    We are eager to create a new database to store, retrieve, and manage all of our collected information powerfully and efficiently. With the right technology making this robust information easily available and accessible, our own researchers—and those from around the world—can study the data to move the field forward.
  • Add key investigators to our team
    The fastest way to provide better treatment options and cures for autoimmune diseases is by adding strong researchers at every level, allowing us to move beyond the basic science of immunology and expand our collaborative work in human disease. Please email Susan Prause at if you are interested in joining our group.   

Infrastructure & Services

One of our most important missions at CADRe is to advance and accelerate the pace of human-oriented research. Towards that end, CADRe is dedicated to offering a variety of services designed to assist investigators at any stage in conducting human-oriented projects.

  • Study Coordinator Services
  • Technician Services
  • IRB Assistance
  • Tetramer Production
  • Biorepository – Coding, Processing, Storage
  • Database

For more information about utilizing theses services, or for any requests, please email Dr. Daniel Mueller at

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does "CADRe" stand for?

"CADRe" is the acronym for the newly founded Center for Autoimmune Diseases Research located at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

What is Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune Disease is defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as "a disease that results when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues." Essentially, an issue with the immune system results in it incorrectly identifying your body's own healthy cells as invaders and then signaling your body to defend itself against them, thus causing damage to your own system.

Autoimmune diseases can affect almost any part of the body, including the heart, brain, nerves, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lungs, kidneys, glands, the digestive tract, and blood vessels.
Currently, researchers are still unsure about what exactly causes autoimmune diseases. In many cases, a combination of elements such as a genetic predisposition along with an outside trigger or environmental factor is most likely the origin. At CADRe, researchers are working toward providing a greater understanding of where autoimmune diseases come from, along with better ways to treat and even prevent them.

How many people are affected by Autoimmune Disease?

An estimated number of 50 million people are affected by some form of autoimmune disease in the United States alone – around 15% of the total American population.

What is "CADRe"?

CADRe is a collection of scientists, researchers, and clinicians who are dedicated to find a cure for autoimmune diseases through collaboration across disciplines. Primarily housed at the University of Minnesota's Biomedical District, CADRe brings together scientists from a number of different disciplines, who all have a research focus or interest in the immune system as it relates to different diseases, such as diabetes, lupus, arthritis, or even cancer.

What kinds of autoimmune diseases are CADRe staff currently researching?

Currently, a number of CADRe researchers are focusing their efforts on examining Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Scleroderma/Systemic Sclerosis, Vasculitis, and Type I Diabetes.

Why is CADRe unique?

One of the main goals in founding CADRe is to bring together researchers from a variety of different disciplines in order to find a common thread of science running through the causes of autoimmune disease and then translate that discovery into more effective results that apply to multiple diseases.

Our goal is to foster interactions between physicians and scientists with any connections to autoimmune-related disorders, and to nurture those connections to grow into purposeful, human-based research projects that can produce useful therapies to deliver to patients.

What are CADRe's goals for growth in the next five to ten years?

While our ultimate goal is to find a cure for autoimmune disease, we understand that it may take us some time to achieve. For the foreseeable future our focus remains on developing new technological tools that will make human-based research projects a real possibility for interested scientists not only at the University of Minnesota but in other parts of the country as well.
We are also currently working to build a biorepository of clinical samples, and a database with information regarding those samples, through our Human Immune Biomarkers Core program. It is our hope that this infrastructure will support the human-based research interests of a wide range of scientists by providing services for patient recruitment, sample processing, storage and tracking of biospecimens, experimental data generation, and bioinformatics support to aid researchers in analysis and interpretation of their human biomarker data.

How can I support CADRe?

There are a number of ways that you can contribute to helping CADRe find a cure for autoimmune diseases.

  • Follow us on our website, our Facebook page, or on Twitter! Share our message with others you know who would be interested to learn more about what we do. The more people we can reach means the more we can spread awareness regarding autoimmune disease and work together to find a cure.
  • Attend one of our educational events! Our researchers at CADRe are dedicated to keeping the public informed about autoimmune diseases and the work they are doing to research, prevent, and ultimately cure each of these disorders. Take a look at our events page to keep up with the latest happenings at CADRe.
  • Donate! Please see our donation page to find out more about contributing to finding a cure at CADRe.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is dedicated to advancing the Vision of the Center for Autoimmune Diseases Research.

To accelerate the pace of human-oriented autoimmune diseases research through support for patient sample and clinical data collection, and the application of advanced analytic and immune-modulating technologies.

Committee members bring their own unique personal background and experience to CADRe and dedicate their time, influence, and philanthropy to achieving the goals of this organization. The committee also provides leadership to the Division of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases regarding priorities, progress, prospects, and strategy for achieving our goals.

Committee Members

Bud Baechler

As a business advisor, facilitator, coach and guide, Bud Baechler specializes in business planning, development of the leadership team, strategic marketing, and internal and external communications. Bud has practiced executive and leadership facilitation with for-profit, non-profit, privately held and public organizations for more than fifteen years. Several of these organizations are multi-cultural and have an international presence. His focus is on helping organizations grow through the design and implementation of strategic planning, best practices, marketing for results, advancement of business culture and operations overall, and measureable improvements in revenue and profit. Bud is an accomplished, outcomes-based writer who authors executive speeches, press releases and internal communications. Additionally, Bud is a voice-over talent for TV, Radio, and corporate videos.

Shannon Carey

Shannon Carey is a civil trial lawyer at SiebenCarey representing individuals and families, who have been injured, in complex litigations. Since 2012, Shannon has been named a Rising Star in a survey by Super Lawyers Magazine. The publication asks Minnesota's top lawyers to identify an elite group of emerging lawyers, either under 40 years old or in practice less than 10 years, who have demonstrated the highest standards of excellence. Prior to becoming an attorney, Shannon worked in human resources at several large corporations throughout the Twin Cities.

Shannon joined the Autoimmune Arthritis Center's Steering Committee in an effort to help highlight the tireless efforts of the dedicated team who treat those who live with autoimmune disorders and research these diseases to help improve their patient's quality of life. Shannon's journey with autoimmune disorders is personal; she has been a patient at the U of M Autoimmune Arthritis Center since 2007 when she was diagnosed with Scleroderma. Shannon hopes to build public awareness about the need for continuous research funding surrounding autoimmune disorders and the impact the research can have on patients and their families.

Kathy Hodges

Kathy graduated from Minneapolis Community College in 1978 obtaining an associate degree in nursing and in 2006 graduated from Bethel University in June of 2006 with her BSN.

She has been a registered nurse for 36 years in obstetrics, labor and delivery, research in islet transplant at the University of MN, Blood and Marrow transplant, and most recently in cardiology.

She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of two and started giving her own insulin since she was nine years old. In 2011, she became a 50 year Medalist from Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

She has been fundraising to find the cure for Type 1 Diabetes with a goal is to raise money to cure Type 1 Diabetes in her lifetime and not to award future 50 year Medals to those with Type 1 Diabetics.

Warren Watson

Mr. Watson is a medical device executive with over 35 years of med tech experience. Mr. Watson's career began with Medtronic, Inc. where he served in capacities of increasing responsibility over greater than 30 year tenure. Mr. Watson focused in the Cardiac Rhythm Management, Cardiac Ablation, Heart Failure and Cardiology fields including positions in technical management, clinical and regulatory responsibilities, business development, strategic and marketing responsibilities, and general management. Mr. Watson served as VP of Research and Development for the Cardiac Rhythm Management business for over 8 years and was Chair of the Medtronic Corporate Research and Development Council. Mr. Watson retired from Medtronic with 33 years of service to the Company.

Following his retirement from Medtronic, Mr. Watson has served on multiple medical device, non-med tech and charitable organization boards. These positions include Executive Chair of the Board of Directors for Cameron Health, Inc., Board of Directors for Sunshine Heart, Inc., Board of Directors for NuAx, Inc., Board of Directors for Cardialen, Inc., Advisor to the Office of Technology Commercialization at the University of Minnesota, Board Chair of Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare and Board of Directors of Citizen's Independent Bank.

Mr. Watson is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Electrical Engineering. He resides in New Brighton, MN.

Rhonda Wolfe

Rhonda Wolfe is a nurse practitioner with MinuteClinic in the Twin Cities. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the College of St. Mary, Omaha, Nebraska, and earned a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Rhonda is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a secondary Gerontological Nurse Practitioner certification through the American Nursing Credentialing Center. She is also a Certified Asthma Educator, and a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Minnesota Nurse Practitioners. Rhonda has special interests in respiratory health, infectious disease and autoimmune disease.