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Shahrara Lab

Shiva Shahrara

Research in the Division of Rheumatology at UIC focuses on uncovering the cellular & molecular mechanisms that are responsible for the inflammatory and bone erosive responses as well as immunometabolism regulation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) immune cells.

From Bench to Bedside: Heading link

The research program in our lab is focused on characterizing the function of effector macrophages & T cells in the early and later phases of RA and PsA.

Macrophages are a heterogeneous population of myeloid cells that polarize into different subtypes and can mature into erosive osteoclasts. Macrophages are key producers of pro-inflammatory cytokines and precursors of osteoclasts; however, the pathways that control macrophage remodeling into inflammatory macrophages or erosive osteoclasts are not fully understood.

  • We have identified unique inflammatory monokines that attract circulating monocytes into the joints and transform these cells into hypermetabolic macrophages in RA patients. We are specifically interested in delineating the hypermetabolic activity of RA inflammatory macrophages and how they communicate with effector T cells. We aim to identify novel checkpoints that can impair the hypermetabolic reprogramming of synovial tissue macrophage subtypes, their transformation into erosive osteoclasts, and their interaction with T cells.
  • We have found that the pro-angiogenic factors secreted from RA macrophages and fibroblasts control RA blood vessel formation and arthrogenicity. Hence, our lab aims to uncover the importance of RA macrophage subtypes in fibroblast’s cross-regulation with vascular endothelium, which is responsible for joint angiogenesis.
  • Obesity impacts RA pathogenesis by partially influencing myeloid and lymphoid cell function through TLR activation. Our objective is to elucidate how a high-fat diet skews metabolic rewiring towards glycolytic hyperactivity and imbalanced oxidative phosphorylation and autophagy.

To answer these questions, we have excellent access to patient specimens and expertise in arthritic preclinical models.

Research Programs Heading link

  • Regulation of metabolic RA macrophages and their crosstalk with effector T cells
  • Interaction between RA fibroblasts and macrophages and their ability to trigger joint angiogenesis
  • Mechanisms of Bone Destruction in RA
  • Role of Obesity in RA Metabolic Reprogramming

Lab Members Heading link

Adel Burgos: Lab manger Tanya Pulido Gonzalez: Graduate student
Stephanie R. Zack: Postdoc Kunwar Singh: Undergraduate Student
Neha Satoeya: Postdoc Sania Deen: Undergraduate Student
Osama Alzoubi: Postdoc Wes Nijim: Graduate Student
Mona Oraei: Postdoc Aryan Patel: Undergraduate Student
Victor Sosa: Postdoc Sparsh Patel: Undergraduate Student

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