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Virginia Pascual, M.D.

Drukier Institute for Children’s Health at Weill Cornell Medicine

Bio:

Dr. Pascual is Director of the Drukier Institute for Children’s Health and the Ronay Menschel Professor of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, NY. She is also the Program Director of an NIAID-funded Autoimmunity Center of Excellence, a NIAMS-funded Center of Research Translation, and a Lupus Research Alliance Global Team Science Award focused on Pediatric Lupus. Dr. Pascual is a pediatric rheumatologist and her research focuses on inflammatory and autoimmune diseases that start in childhood, with the goals of translating laboratory findings into the identification of therapeutic targets and useful biomarkers to follow patients in the clinic and assess responses to therapy. Her studies have contributed to the discovery that type I interferon (IFN) and interleukin 1 (IL-1) are important pathogenic players in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and systemic onset Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (sJIA), respectively. Dr. Pascual and her colleagues were at the forefront of clinical trials using IL-1 blockers in sJIA, which showed remarkable clinical benefits in nearly 70% of patients. Her team also developed personalized approaches to identify molecular drivers of disease activity in pediatric SLE patients. This approach enabled their stratification into major molecular subgroups, which might lead to improved design of clinical trials in SLE and other autoimmune diseases.