Preeminent Lupus Pediatrics Expert Joins Lupus Research Institute’s Peer Review Task Force

Lupus expert Virginia Pascual, MD, has accepted a position as one of three Task Force Chairs for Novel Research peer review at the Lupus Research Institute (LRI), the national nonprofit organization rapidly pioneering discovery to prevent, treat, and cure lupus.

A pediatric rheumatologist and investigator at the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research in Dallas (BIIR), Dr. Pascual is a preeminent scientist who has received multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and published over 50 articles in prominent medical journals on systemic lupus and autoimmune disease.

She also has authored over 30 book and medical journal chapters and reviews, and given lectures and presentations worldwide.

"We are delighted that Dr. Pascual has agreed to fill this key position at the Institute," said LRI Scientific Advisory Board Chairman and Chief of the Laboratory of Immunology at NIAID-NIH, William Paul, MD. "She has made major contributions to understanding the pathogenesis of lupus. Her years of clinical experience and research excellence will provide valuable insight and guidance for the groundbreaking work of the LRI."

Mandating Sound Science-the Key to LRI Success

"Rigorous peer review is at the heart of the LRI's winning research strategy for lupus," said LRI President Margaret Dowd. "The LRI gets the best science because it's steered and shaped by the nation's top thinkers in rheumatology, immunology, and other key specialties. It's a sure place to invest, because the finest scientists-such as Dr. Pascual-are at the helm."

Dr. Pascual, who joins current task force chairs, Michel Nussenzweig, MD, PhD, of Rockefeller University in New York, and David S. Pisetsky, MD, PhD, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, will help oversee the annual peer review of novel research projects in

  • basic immunology
  • animal models
  • human studies (human lupus biology).

"There are many recent advances in our understanding of the basic mechanisms that lead to lupus and in the development of new drugs to treat the disease," said Dr. Pascual upon accepting the LRI post. "The innovative research supported by the LRI is definitely making a difference in these areas and attracting great investigators to study lupus."

The final review of grant proposals is done in person, at the LRI annual scientific conference held every October in New York City.

More about Dr. Pascual

Dr. Pascual

Dr. Pascual spoke at the LRI's annual "Forum for Discovery" scientific conference in 2008, offering her perspective on new ways to solve the lupus puzzle through systems biology.

At the LRI meeting, Dr. Pascual graphically illustrated the application of one of these systems approaches to human lupus. Great leaps can be achieved with this technology, she said, such as the ability to depict a certain pattern of gene expression in lupus (the 'interferon signature') with, in some cases, as little as 1 milliliter of blood.

Dr. Pascual received her medical degree from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain, in 1981, and was a pediatrics resident at Hospital "12 de Octubre" at the university from 1982 to 1986.

She began her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1987, where she later served as an associate professor of pediatrics and microbiology, and for six years directed the division of pediatric rheumatology.