Ellen M. Gravallese, MD is the Theodore Bevier Bayles Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of Rheumatology, Inflammation, and Immunity at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a position she began in October 2019. In her prior position, she served as a tenured Professor of Medicine and the Myles J. McDonough Chair in Rheumatology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she also served as Chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Director of Translational Research for the Musculoskeletal Center of Excellence. Dr. Gravallese received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College (magna cum laude, Biochemistry) and her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (AOA). She completed a combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she also served as a fellow in the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology and Anatomic Pathology.
Dr. Gravallese has a career interest in the fundamental mechanisms of inflammation and joint destruction in inflammatory arthritis. Through studies of human tissues using pathologic and molecular techniques, murine models of disease and clinical investigation, her research has identified key pathways by which inflammation impacts bone in the rheumatic diseases. This work has contributed to the change in focus in the treatment of RA, with greater focus on disease modification. Her laboratory identified osteoclasts as the cell type responsible for bone destruction in RA and demonstrated that RANKL is a critical cytokine produced by cells within RA synovial tissues that drives osteoclastogenesis. In addition, work in her laboratory has described the production in RA synovium of inhibitors of osteoblast function that prevent “healing” of bone. These inhibitors are currently being explored as novel therapeutic targets to promote bone formation. Her current studies focus on innate immune pathways in inflammation and bone remodeling in rheumatic disease, including the STING and AIM2 cytosolic DNA sensing pathways.
Throughout her career, Dr. Gravallese has served on numerous national boards and committees, including serving on the NIAMS Advisory Council (NIH), on the Board of Directors of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Board of Directors of the ACR’s Rheumatology Research Foundation. In November 2020, she completed her term as the 83rd President of the ACR. Dr. Gravallese is the recipient of the Sandoz Award for medical research, the McDuffie Award and the Marion Ropes Award from the Arthritis Foundation, the Steven Krane Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (2017) and the international Carol Nachman Prize for research in rheumatology (2019). She was recently elected as an Honorary Member of the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR). She lectures nationally and internationally and currently also serves as an Associate Editor at The New England Journal of Medicine.
Chief of Rheumatology, Inflammation, and Immunity, BWH;
Theodore Bevier Bayles Professor of Medicine, HMS
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