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    Address

    New York- Presbyterian Hospital/CUMC
    630 West 168th Street
    P&S Building, 10th floor Room 10-445
    New York, NY 10032

    Phone: 212.305.8250
    Phone: 212.305.9078

    Robert J. Winchester, MD
    Professor of Pediatrics, Pathology, and Medicine, Division of Rheumatology
    Department of Medicine, Columbia University
     
    Dr. Winchester is a recognized leading expert on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Dr. Winchester has done extensive, groundbreaking research to advance the understanding of autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases. His laboratory is focused on understanding the genetic basis of susceptibility to autoimmune disease and the mechanisms responsible for triggering and mediating autoimmune injury.
     
    Areas of Interest

    Arthritis; Disease Susceptibility; Joint Diseases; Osteoarthritis; Rheumatic Diseases; Rheumatoid Arthritis; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

     
    Research Activities

    Dr. Winchester has had a sustained interest in autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases. His laboratory is focused on understanding the genetic basis of susceptibility to autoimmune disease and the mechanisms responsible for triggering and mediating autoimmune injury. His earlier studies defined the molecular importance of IgG rheumatoid factors in rheumatoid arthritis and other autoantibodies in various human autoimmune diseases. He also introduced the use of F(ab')2fragments into cell surface immunofluorescence. Moreover, Dr. Winchester was one of the first to identify human MHC class II molecules and their allelic variants on B cells and monocytes and to show that they were expressed on human T cells as markers of activation. This work was recognized by the AAAS in his designation as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, for “Discovery of human class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules…”

    His studies of the polymorphisms of MHC molecules have provided the basis of establishing the link between MHC genotype and susceptibility to multiple forms of autoimmunity. For example in the late 1980's Dr. Winchester and colleagues showed that susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis was determined by sequences in the HLA-DR beta chain of MHC class II molecules, and formulated the shared MHC 'epitope' hypothesis. This hypothesis provides a molecular basis for susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis, implicating a region on the MHC molecule that both forms a pocket binding a side chain of a peptide antigen and interacts with the TCR. This key discovery has emphasized the importance of the modern means of HLA typing, which involves DNA sequencing of the MHC genes and the theoretical basis for the discovery of antigens that initiate autoimmune disease. For this work Dr. Winchester was awarded the Howley Prize of the Arthritis foundation and was the recipient of the Crafoord Prize awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.  In concert with Prof. Oliver FitzGerald of Dublin, using a large cohort of Irish patients, Dr. Winchester has shown psoriatic arthritis is genetically heterogeneous and they continue to study the relationship between genetic susceptibility pathogenic mechanisms and clinical phenotypes of this disease.

    More recently, Dr. Winchester has coupled the DNA sequencing of the MHC genes with the analysis and high throughput DNA sequencing of human T cell receptor genes to permit molecular analysis of the cognitive T cell/peptide/MHC recognition events that underlie the role of the adaptive immune system in autoimmunity.
    His laboratory is also interested in the role played in immunity and by the triggering of innate immune receptors present on CD8 and CD4 memory effector T cells, that may relevant to many entities, among them, chronic progressive lupus nephritis, calcification of aortic valves and the development of accelerated atherosclerosis in rheumatoid arthritis.
    Dr. Winchester has an extensive record of training fellows and students who advanced to leadership positions, and in recognition of this was recently awarded the “Prize and Award for Excellence in Investigative Mentoring” by the American College of Rheumatology. He is deeply involved in medical student teaching in the areas of Immunology and Rheumatology.

     
    PubMed
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