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Kristen Demoruelle, MD

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.

Dr. 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.