By Trish Reynolds, M.S., R.N. | September 23, 2013
Dr. Mariana Kaplan
Dr. Mariana Kaplan

Following a national search, the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), has appointed Mariana Kaplan, M.D., as the Chief of the newly established intramural Systemic Autoimmunity Branch. Kaplan, a rheumatologist, will head a new research program focusing on adult rheumatic diseases on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md.

Most recently, Kaplan was a Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, at the University of Michigan, where she held several active NIH grants. Her research has primarily focused on the mechanisms by which cardiovascular disease is accelerated in people with lupus, the role of innate immunity in the development of lupus-related organ damage, and strategies to curtail tissue damage in people with the disease.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Kaplan is joining us," said NIAMS Scientific Director John O’Shea, M.D. "She is clearly a recognized expert in rheumatology, and we are excited about the prospect of expanding lupus research in the intramural program and NIH Clinical Center."

Kaplan has published more than 85 peer-reviewed papers in rheumatology and immunology, and has served on a number of editorial boards. She is a Fellow in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and was awarded the ACR’s Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award in 2010. In 2011, she was selected to present the Edmund L. Dubois Memorial Lectureship at the ACR’s annual meeting, an honor conferred upon an outstanding young investigator in the field of lupus. She is an elected member in the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

Kaplan graduated summa cum laude from the National Autonomous University of Mexico School of Medicine in 1992. Following the completion of her residency in internal medicine, she accepted a rheumatology fellowship at the University of Michigan, where she was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008 and to Professor in 2013.

"Dr. Kaplan’s appointment reflects NIAMS’ on-going commitment to both clinical and research activities in autoimmune diseases," said NIAMS Clinical Director Richard Siegel, M.D., Ph.D. "Her laboratory discoveries are changing the way we think about rheumatic diseases and opening the way for innovative therapeutic approaches in the clinic."

The NIAMS Systemic Autoimmunity Branch will combine natural history or treatment studies with basic investigations into the etiology and/or pathophysiology of rheumatic diseases, with an emphasis on systemic lupus erythematosus and other systemic autoimmune diseases affecting adults.

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The mission of the NIAMS, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health, is to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. For more information about the NIAMS, call the information clearinghouse at (301) 495-4484 or (877) 22-NIAMS (free call) or visit the NIAMS website at

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