Innovative arthritis research earns professor a $400,000 grant

By Staff


Jill Norris, Ph.D., M.P.H., and professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the Colorado School of Public Health has been awarded a $400,000 grant to study auto-antibodies, inflammation and cardiovascular disease in preclinical rheumatoid arthritis.

Norris was named the recipient of an investigator-initiated grant from the American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation's Within Our Reach: Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis campaign, which funds innovative rheumatoid arthritis research.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling and limitation in the motion and function of multiple joints. Though joints are the principal body parts affected, inflammation can develop in other organs as well. An estimated 1.3 million Americans have the disease, which typically affects women twice as often as men.

Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of mortality in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and often these patients suffer from earlier and more severe cardiovascular events than individuals without the disease. Norris will use her grant to identify systemic markers of inflammation, biomarkers of cardiovascular risk and vascular abnormalities in the period prior to arthritis development in patients. She will utilize a cohort of healthy first-degree relatives of patients that she has been following prospectively for the development of rheumatoid arthritis-related autoimmunity.

Norris is one of nine rheumatoid arthritis researchers from leading institutions who will receive a total of $6 million from the foundation. This is the foundation's fourth round of grants funded by the Within Our Reach campaign, a $30 million national, multiyear fundraising effort.

The Colorado School of Public Health is a collaboration of the University of Colorado Denver, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado.