Robert Lafyatis M.D.
Office: 715 Albany St, E
Dr. Lafyatis carries out patient oriented research into the cause and treatment of systemic sclerosis. This includes early phase clinical trials into new therapeutic agents in patients with systemic sclerosis. He has been investigating the mechanisms of actions and markers of response for novel therapeutics, such as the B cell depleting agent, rituximab and the immunosuppressant agent, mycophenlate. Additional studies are aimed at identifying biomarkers in systemic sclerosis using microarray gene expression analysis of skin and blood in scleroderma patients. Ongoing biomarker studies include investigation into molecular markers of pulmonary hypertension in systemic sclerosis. Dr. Lafyatis also carries out basic research into the cause of fibrosis and vasculopathy in systemic sclerosis using patient samples and murine disease models. His studies have provided key insights into one widely used model of systemic sclerosis, the tight skin mouse. His studies are currently focused on understanding how autoimmunity and the innate immune system lead to fibrosis and vascular damage. This has recently led to the discovery of increased interferon-regulated gene expression in white blood cells of patients with systemic sclerosis. Ongoing research is aimed at better understanding the cause of altered gene expression by monocytes and other cells in the innate immune system.