Dr. Kelly Brown: Accelerating research and training the next generation of rheumatology researchers

At MSFHR our core focus is talent development. Over 30% of our current Scholars were once MSFHR Research Trainees, and each goes on to train an average of 11 next generation researchers.

Dr. Kelly Brown is no exception. A Research Trainee back in 2002, and MSFHR/Cassie & Friends Scholar award recipient in 2016, Brown is now recruiting a post-doctoral fellow to support her work to better understand and measure the inflammatory response that is debilitating, and at times life-threatening for children with rheumatic diseases.

“In pediatric rheumatology we don’t have a good way of determining the type or severity of the inflammation that underlies the disease”, says Brown. “This is a problem because when treating with a ‘standard’ dose you run the risk of not using enough to calm the inflammation in one child, but giving too much for another and unnecessarily increasing the risk of drug side effects such as infertility, stunted growth, and malignancy.”

To address this, and better understand what a child needs during a flare up, Brown and her team are working to find biomarkers to gauge the type and severity of the inflammation. Their goal is to help clinicians choose the treatment and strength of the response that will meet but not exceed a patient’s requirement.

Seeing the value of their partnership with MSFHR to co-fund Brown’s Scholar award, Cassie & Friends are extending their support to fund their own post-doctoral fellowship in Brown’s lab that will focus on building the connection between the rheumatology clinic and the lab.

“The MSFHR Scholar award has given me the time and stability to bring in someone who can help me accelerate the work whilst also learning more about pediatric rheumatology,” says Brown. “The post-doc will be bridging the lab and the clinic, using clinical information to inform the basic science so that the basic science can in turn have a meaningful impact on clinical practice.”

Applications are being accepted until October 2 for the Cassie & Friends Postdoctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Rheumatology. More information and application details can be found on the PHSA jobs site.