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Updates on the University COVID-19 response and operations available here.
Updates on the University COVID-19 response and operations available here.
Updates on the University COVID-19 response and operations available here.

New Insights into Rheumatoid Arthritis: How Self-Testing Could Revolutionize the Fight Against Autoimmune Diseases


7:30 AM Coffee
8:00 – 9:00 AM Lecture

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Hall
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue at East 66th Street
New York, NY 10065


Dana Orange

Dana Orange, M.D., M.Sc.

Assistant Professor of Clinical Investigation
The Rockefeller University
Assistant Attending Rheumatologist
Hospital for Special Surgery


Sarah Schlesinger

Sarah Schlesinger, M.D.

Senior Attending Physician, Rockefeller University Hospital
Associate Professor of Clinical Investigation
Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Signal Transduction
The Rockefeller University

More than 1.3 million people in the U.S. suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, debilitating pain, and irreversible joint damage, among other symptoms. Notably, women are twice as likely as men to develop rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions. What are the factors that lead to this prevalence in women? And how can we better predict and prevent flare-ups in arthritis and other inflammatory disorders?

Dana Orange, M.D., M.Sc., a physician-scientist with appointments at Rockefeller University and the Hospital for Special Surgery, seeks answers to these questions by focusing on the pathogenic mechanisms that cause rheumatoid arthritis. Working with Dr. Robert Darnell at Rockefeller, Dr. Orange developed a novel testing system that made it possible to monitor cellular and molecular changes in rheumatoid arthritis patients in unprecedented detail. Her unique approach led to the discovery of a new cell type—called a PRIME cell—that may prove to be a reliable marker for impending rheumatoid arthritis flares, as well as a promising new therapeutic target.

The method that Dr. Orange developed served as a model for Rockefeller’s COVID-19 testing program, which enabled the university to monitor staff regularly and keep its labs open during the pandemic. In the future, this new approach may help arthritis patients to self-monitor, while enabling scientists to shed light on a wide range of inflammatory or autoimmune conditions and other disorders.

Dr. Orange earned an M.D. with honors from Weill Cornell Medical College and a master’s in translational research at Rockefeller University as a Beth and Ravenel Curry Clinical Scholar. She completed an internal medicine residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and a rheumatology fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

This program will be hosted by immunologist Sarah J. Schlesinger, M.D., who directs Rockefeller’s Clinical Scholars Program. She is a senior attending physician at The Rockefeller University Hospital and a member of the Steering Committee for the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund.