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Lipsky Named New NIAMS Scientific Director

By Janet Howard

Dr. Peter E. Lipsky was recently appointed new scientific director at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disases. He will plan and administer the NIAMS research program on translational (bench to bedside) research in arthritis, musculoskeletal and skin diseases, as well as basic research in biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, structural biology and pharmacology related to these conditions.

"Lipsky is a renowned rheumatologist and immunologist who brings a broad laboratory and clinical scientific perspective and expertise to NIH," said NIAMS director Dr. Stephen I. Katz. "We welcome him back to NIH, and look forward to his leading the NIAMS Intramural Research Program into the next millennium."

Dr. Peter E. Lipsky

From 1971 to 1975, Lipsky was a clinical associate in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, NIAID. Since 1975, he has been on the faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, where he has held several positions, including director of the Harold C. Simmons Arthritis Research Center and Harold C. Simmons professor of arthritis research. Additionally, he was professor of internal medicine and microbiology and served as codirector of the immunology graduate program and director of the rheumatic diseases division.

At UTSW, Lipsky was the principal investigator for a study of a biological agent that would block tumor necrosis factor, a component of the immune system that triggers the inflammatory response experienced in rheumatoid arthritis. This study of the drug infliximab (Remicade) found that 52 percent of patients had reduced signs and symptoms of the disease. "All patients in this study had advanced disease, which makes these results even more noteworthy," remarked Lipsky. In addition to studying Remicade, he has been investigating a Chinese herb known as the "Thunder God Vine" to treat rheumatoid arthritis. "We want to find out if the drug will stop the disease before it causes painful and possibly debilitating joint damage," said Lipsky. "This might be the first drug that could offer a single therapy for people with advanced rheumatoid arthritis."

"Peter is a world-renowned researcher and educator who is highly respected, not only in the area of rheumatology, but also for his contributions and leadership in other basic and clinical sciences," said Dr. Brian Butcher, executive vice president of the Clinical Research Organization of New Orleans, Inc. "His broad understanding and excellence in science was acknowledged by his peers when he was selected as editor of the prestigious Journal of Immunology."

From 1992 to 1997, Lipsky was editor-in-chief of that journal. He has also served on the editorial boards for Arthritis and Rheumatism, the Journal of Rheumatology, the Journal of Clinical Immunology, and Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology. He also serves on the board of directors of the American College of Rheumatology and is past president of the Clinical Immunology Society. From 1991 to 1995, Lipsky was an advisor on the NIAMS board of scientific counselors, and from 1996 to 1999, he served on the National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases advisory council.

He has published extensively and is a member of many professional societies including the American Association of Immunologists, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Lipsky received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University. He earned his M.D. from New York University School of Medicine and is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology.

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