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Sponsored by UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School’s Graduate Education Advancement Board, the Impact Awards recognize graduate students whose research provides special benefits to the citizens of North Carolina. Congrats to Andrew!

Andrew Monteith, PhD

The Graduate School’s annual Graduate Education Advancement Board Impact Awards recognize graduate students for contributions they are making to our state. These awards are possible thanks to the unwavering support of the Graduate Education Advancement Board (GEAB), whose members truly believe in the importance of graduate education at Carolina.

The title of Andrew’s project is “Impaired lysosomal maturation in macrophages underlies pathogenesis in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus”.

Abstract: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder that inflicts 1 in 200 individuals and approximately 45,000 people in North Carolina. Since SLE can mimic other illnesses and diagnostic procedures are inconsistent or invasive, an accurate diagnosis of SLE is challenging. Furthermore, current therapeutics broadly suppresses the immune system and usually has many side effects. My research has identified an underlying mechanism in lupus-prone macrophages that prevents the lysosome from maturing resulting in the accumulation of apoptotic debris on the surface of the cell. This accumulation occurs prior to autoimmune symptoms and current studies in SLE patients suggest that it could be a viable biomarker for accurately diagnosing SLE and predicting when patients are susceptible to flaring. Also by targeting the underlying mechanism preventing lysosome maturation, we are designing a targeted therapeutic that will have less side effects than traditional immunosuppressants.

Andrew successfully graduated with his PhD on November 20, 2015 and is currently pursuing career opportunities in academia.