Dr. Demoruelle is a rheumatologist who studies the etiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Her research focuses
on understanding the earliest steps of RA development, specifically the
development of RA-related autoimmunity prior to the onset of joint disease
during a period of RA development known as the ‘preclinical’ period of RA.
RA is a systemic inflammatory autoimmune
disease that affects approximately 1% of the population, and it can lead to
decreased quality of life, disability and even increased mortality. RA is 3x more prevalent in women than men, yet
the etiology of this differential effect on women remains unknown.
Demoruelle is interested in understanding the specific site where RA may
initially begin, as well as factors and mechanisms involved in the development
of preclinical RA-related autoantibodies. With her studies, she hopes to
identify specific factors or mechanisms that may explain the differential
effect of RA on women. Her current
research explores the lung and female genital tract as potential mucosal sites
where RA-related autoimmunity may originate, and she is investigating hormonal
factors and environmental exposures at these sites that may be associated with the
initiation of RA-related autoimmunity and sex differences in RA.
Dr. Demoruelle’s long-term career goals are to
continue investigations of the preclinical period of RA including sex
differences in RA. Understanding the
site where and mechanisms by which RA begins can lead to novel future therapies
including local mucosal-targeted therapies that could be used to prevent the
progression from the preclinical period of RA to symptomatic joint disease.