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The hunt for autoimmune disease biomarkers with Dr. Joan Wither

Air Date: November 23, 2021 | Length: 37:58

Dr. Joan Wither

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Episode Description

A former gymnast, Dr. Wither how explains how her athletic career and summer internship which included a rotation under Anthony Fauci led her to become a successful senior scientist at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, researching systematic autoimmune rheumatic diseases.

A healthy immune system is ready to fight the body against any potential disease or infection. But when the immune system malfunctions, it may attack healthy cells, tissues, and organs. These autoimmune diseases are unpredictable, which is why genetic and biomarker-based research is key to understanding the risks and progression of the disease. Dr. Joan Wither and her team are working on a series of biological tests that will better predict the progression of systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such as Lupus and Sjogren's Disease. She discusses the importance of studying patients at various points throughout the disease, whether in a disease-dormant or flare-up state, which creates somewhat of an immune response timeline and profile.

About Dr. Joan Wither

Joan Wither in her gymnast days

Dr. Joan Wither is a world-renowned Senior Scientist focused on autoimmune rheumatic disease. Her research and basic science background and clinical background has improved care for Sjögren's patients around the world. She received her MD from the University of Alberta in 1981 and her PhD in Immunology in 1991 from the University of Toronto. Presently, Dr. Wither is a Senior Scientist, Rheumatologist at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute at UHN. Dr. Wither runs a clinic that can screen individuals with auto-antibodies that are known to precede the clinical onset of autoimmune diseases. In June 2015, Dr. Wither was the winner of a European League Against Rheumatism Abstract Award for this groundbreaking research. She is internationally recognized for her expertise with over 80 publications and 2,900 citations in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Produced By: Twayne Pereira | Host: Christian Cote | Audio Editing and Mixing: 217 Audio​​​​​​​​​