The Myositis Association (TMA) honored NIEHS clinical researcher Lisa Rider, M.D., for 15 years of significant impact on myositis research. On its silver anniversary, TMA established the 25th Anniversary Research Award for Outstanding Contributions to Myositis Research, honoring scientists with 5, 15, and 25 years of impact in the field.
The awards were given during the group’s Annual Patient Conference, Sept. 6-9 in Louisville, Kentucky. Myositis is an autoimmune muscle disease that causes chronic muscle weakness and a variety of other symptoms.
A leading role in myositis
TMA Executive Director Bob Goldberg highlighted some of Rider’s accomplishments when he presented the award. “Dr. Rider has led international projects to establish response criteria for juvenile and adult myositis,” he said.
“She has contributed to the development of new classification criteria and continues to play a leading role in the International Myositis Assessment and Clinical Studies [IMACS] Group, a 350-member consortium of myositis clinical researchers,” Goldberg continued. “And on top of all that, Lisa has been a tireless supporter of myositis patients and TMA. Congratulations, Dr. Rider!”
Fred Miller, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Environmental Autoimmunity Group, said the award validates Rider’s many contributions to myositis. “Lisa Rider is a world leader in the fields of pediatric rheumatology and the myositis syndromes,” he said. “Her work has contributed significantly to our understanding of how these systemic autoimmune muscle diseases develop, can be divided into distinct phenotypes, and how they are best assessed and treated.”
Full steam ahead
Rider said the achievements recognized by the award would not have been possible without the close collaboration of Miller and the others in the group, as well as patients, their families, and the physicians who refer them. “I feel happy to have received the 15-year award, [because] I am still working hard to make further progress,” she said. “And I hope for greater accomplishments in the future.”
Rider is donating the monetary gift to juvenile myositis research. “I am very grateful to The Myositis Association for their participation in many of the studies and for their research grants program, without which much of the work could not have been completed,” she said.
An international standout
Both Goldberg and Miller pointed to Rider’s role in co-establishing IMACS as an example of the importance of her work. Researchers working with a rare disease face the challenge of finding enough participants (see sidebar) to conduct a thorough study. International collaborations can make the difference in obtaining results that are scientifically valid.
“Rider has driven the expansion of IMACS, which has developed consensus on greatly needed new outcome measures for myositis,” Miller said. “Such evidence-based, unbiased approaches are essential for collaborative trials in rare diseases [like myositis].”
He added that Rider mentors research trainees, including two myositis research fellows — Gulnara Mamyrova, M.D., Ph.D., from George Washington University; and Takayuki Kishi, M.D., Ph.D., from Tokyo Women’s Medical University — who were funded by grant awards from TMA. She also serves as a pediatric rheumatologist at the Myositis Clinic and as a Clinical Professor at George Washington University, gives major lectures around the country and the world, and serves in leadership roles on a number of national and international committees.
TMA presented two other researchers with 25th Anniversary Research Award for Outstanding Contributions to Myositis Research. Ingrid Lundberg, M.D., Ph.D., of Karolinska Institutet, received the 25-year award for many contributions, but particularly for her work on exercise as a key therapeutic for myositis, according to Goldberg.
Kanneboyina Nagaraju, Ph.D., of the State University of New York at Binghamton received the 5-year award for his work on pathogenesis and his work on the drug vamorolone.
Rider LG, Aggarwal R, Machado PM, Hogrel JY, Reed AM, Christopher-Stine L, Ruperto N. 2018. Update on outcome assessment in myositis. Nat Rev Rheumatol 14:303–318.
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