Institutes, Divisions & Centers
Cincinnati Rheumatic Diseases Core Center

Cincinnati Rheumatic Diseases Core Center

Pediatric rheumatic diseases, although genetically distinct from adult diseases, likely have common pathophysiological pathways. In addition, common themes have been defined between rheumatic disease and other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Therefore, a multidisciplinary approach which integrates basic and clinical research remains our strategy.

The Core Center is structured to foster existing interactions and to encourage new ones between adult and pediatric rheumatology divisions and the broader immunology and bioinformatics communities with the ultimate goal of impacting the outcome for children with rheumatic illness. Immunology is a discipline whose insights and methods (and problems left outstanding) are central to the biomedical research enterprise. Normal functioning of the immune system is critical for normal development and homeostasis and avoidance of autoimmunity. Conversely, dysregulated immune responses are of central importance to the pathogenesis and expression of a wide spectrum of diseases including pediatric rheumatic diseases.

To address the issues of importance to pediatric rheumatology, studies supported by this center fall into one of the following categories:

  • Studies in pediatric rheumatic diseases.
  • Studies in rheumatic diseases in general (includes adult).
  • Immunobiological studies judged to be of broad relevance to the pathophysiology of pediatric rheumatic disease.
  • Studies of painStudies developing tools for translating research findings to rheumatological clinical practice.

Members of the center may receive discounts and priorities for many core resources and services. However, outside researchers are welcome and encouraged to use the services of the cores, as well. The cores include:

Pilot studies in pediatric rheumatic disease

The Enrichment Program involves a pilot study program that was designed to encourage new investigators and projects that increase the scope of discovery related to pediatric rheumatic disease. Proposals must bring new projects/new investigators to the field of pediatric rheumatology and not merely represent an extension of ongoing work by an established investigator in pediatric rheumatology. Individual projects are limited to $10,000 (total costs) for one year. Applications are solicited every year. The next round of applications will be solicited on December 1 and announced in the second quarterly newsletter.

Visiting Scholar Program

A Visiting Scholar Program has been established to enable trainees and junior faculty who are underrepresented in medical research (URM) to travel to Cincinnati to learn innovative and state-of-the-art technologies and approaches from the Resource Cores. Applications will be circulated annually. Potential applicants are encouraged to directly contact core leaders Kottyan, Schulert, Weirauch and Thornton to develop their application. Funding will be based upon the applicant, the commitment to research relevant to rheumatic diseases and inflammation, learning goals, plans for learning and applying new knowledge. Between two and four travel grants of up to $10,000 annually will be provided for trainees and faculty. Cost-sharing by the grantee’s institution will be allowed, and applications for additional travel awards will be encouraged for extended residencies.

Nominate a visiting scholar.

Speakers Series and annual symposia

The enrichment program also supports annual education/training programs related to the cores, visiting pediatric rheumatologist’s seminars, and visiting speakers focused on cutting edge topics related to the genomics and etiology of rheumatic and autoimmune disease. Our speakers will be scheduled for Friday afternoons to allow clinicians of the Division of Rheumatology to participate. 

Nominate a speaker.

Program Leadership

The CRDCC is directed by Leah Kottyan, PhD, director of the Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology in the Division of Human Genetics. Alexey Grom, MD, from, Division of Rheumatology is the co-director.


Full membership is open to Cincinnati investigators with external (NIH) grant support and/or regular publications in peer reviewed journals. Associate membership is open to junior faculty who do not yet have independent funding. For information about joining the CRDCC, contact the director of the center, Leah Kottyan. CARRA members are eligible to apply for pilot study funding.

Cincinnati Rheumatic Diseases Core Center Contact Information

For additional information, please contact Leah Kottyan, Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology (; 513-636-1316).