Leigh F. Callahan, PhD, will serve as Director for the OAAA
The OAAA is a national coalition of concerned organizations mobilized by the Arthritis Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This coalition is committed to elevating osteoarthritis (OA) as a national health priority and promoting effective policy solutions that aim to address the individual and national toll of OA.
“Under the leadership of Drs. Joanne Jordan and Leigh F. Callahan at UNC, the Thurston Arthritis Research Center is uniquely positioned to take on the OAAA,” said Melanie Thompson, Osteoarthritis Action Alliance manager at the Arthritis Foundation.
“They currently have a National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases-funded Multidisclipinary Clinical Research Center (MCRC) titled ‘Mitigating the Public Health Impact of Osteoarthritis,’ and the OAAA goals are completely congruent with the goals of the MCRC.
The MCRC draws together multiple units and investigators at UNC interested in OA into novel collaborative relationships. Dr. Callahan was also part of the Steering Committee for the National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis and has been involved in the OAAA since the beginning. The Arthritis Foundation remains committed to the OAAA and will provide UNC financial support to lead the OAAA through a cooperative agreement with the CDC,” Thompson said.
Leigh F. Callahan, PhD, the Mary Link Briggs Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center, will serve as Director of the OAAA. “We are thrilled to be selected to bring this consortium to UNC and the Thurston Arthritis Research Center,” said Joanne M. Jordan, MD, MPH, the Joseph P. Archie, Jr. Eminent Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and Director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center. “Dr. Callahan is the perfect leader for this initiative, which will dovetail beautifully with other efforts we have undertaken to improve the care of people with osteoarthritis or at high risk for osteoarthritis.”
Dr. Mary Goldring (left) nominated and introduced Dr. Loeser (center) and Dr. Virginia Kraus (right) is the President of OARSI and presented the award.
On April 24, Dr. Loeser received the Basic Science Research Award from the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) World Congress in Paris, France.
Dr. Loeser is the Herman and Louise Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine in our division and Director of Basic and Translational Research in our center. He was honored "for outstanding work in helping to improve our understanding of the basic mechanisms by which aging contributes to the development of osteoarthritis."
The purpose of the OARSI Basic Science Research Award is to promote advancement in basic research in the field of osteoarthritis. Research targets include all areas of basic science with relevance to osteoarthritis and in a number of specialty disciplines having an interest in osteoarthritis. This research has primarily been conducted within the last five years.
We are extremely pleased to announce that Richard Loeser, MD, joined the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and the Thurston Arthritis Research Center on Monday, March 3, 2014. Dr. Loeser is a rheumatologist and was previously the Dorothy Rhyne and Willard Duke Kimbrell Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where he also served as Section Head of Molecular Medicine.
Upon his arrival at the Thurston Arthritis Research Center, Dr. Loeser was awarded the Herman and Louise Smith Distinguished Professor of Medicine and appointed as the Director of Basic and Translational Research. He will be an active partner in our mission to serve patients, lead and conduct research, and mentor trainees in our Division and the Department of Medicine.
Once settled at UNC, Dr. Loeser will recruit three additional basic and translational research faculty members to the Thurston Arthritis Research Center. We are fortunate that he brought several valuable colleagues with him to Chapel Hill. Scott Wood, a post-doctoral student; Meredith Greene, a graduate student; and Y (Mary) Zhao and Kathryn Kelley, both laboratory technicians. Dr. Loeser, his faculty recruits and all associated staff and students will be housed on the fourth floor of the Thurston Building.
Dr. Loeser’s translational research interests include osteoarthritis, aging, inflammatory diseases, and cell signaling. His laboratory has studied the basic biology of healthy cartilage cells in joints for over 20 years, was the first to describe certain types of cell receptors, and has published over 100 original manuscripts on these topics, among others. Dr. Loeser is the Principle Investigator on multiple, currently-funded NIH grants studying cell signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of osteoarthritis. Dr. Loeser looks forward to active collaboration with multiple groups across the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, and the Gillings School of Global Public Health, including the Center on Aging, the Departments of Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Cell Biology and Physiology, Biomedical Engineering, and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
I hope you will join in our excitement in welcoming Dr. Loeser as his leadership will be transformative for our Division and our Center.