Dr. Casciola-Rosen’s research has been focused on the shared mechanisms underlying the autoimmune rheumatic diseases, particularly myositis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and scleroderma. Dr. Casciola-Rosen has collaborated closely with Dr. Rosen, using disease-specific autoantibodies as probes to define the events that initiate and drive the autoimmune response in the rheumatic diseases. Dr. Casciola-Rosen also runs the Bioassay Core within the rheumatic diseases research core center, which provides a variety of immune assays to investigators studying the mechanisms of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases.
Dr. Casciola-Rosen’s laboratory currently focuses on 2 important areas: (i) Defining the cells in vivo which express the highest concentrations of autoantigens targeted in specific phenotypes, and demonstrating that these cells are the targets of immune attack. In myositis, muscle progenitors appear to be the cells which express the antigens targeted in this syndrome, and therefore are the primary target of ongoing attack in this disease. Studies defining these targets in other phenotypes are in progress. (ii) Understanding the autoantigens targeted in cancers associated with rheumatic diseases, and elucidating the underlying mechanisms.