Mariana Kaplan, M.D., joined the NIAMS as Chief of the Systemic Autoimmunity Branch in 2013. Prior to her appointment, she was Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kaplan obtained her medical degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and did her Internal Medicine Residency at the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition in Mexico City. Dr. Kaplan did her Rheumatology Fellowship and postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan, where she was a member of the faculty for 15 years, and an active member of their Multidisciplinary Lupus Clinic.
Dr. Kaplan's research has focused on identifying mechanisms of organ damage and premature vascular disease in systemic autoimmunity. More specifically, she investigates how innate immunity (in particular, type I interferons and myeloid cells) promote end-organ damage in systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and other systemic autoimmune diseases. Recently, her research has focused on identifying abnormalities of neutrophil subsets and the role of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which may contribute to the development of autoimmune responses and to end-organ damage. Dr. Kaplan also has an interest in identifying novel therapeutic targets that may prevent premature vascular damage in systemic autoimmunity, as well as the role of environmental triggers in the induction of autoimmunity. Moreover, she has led clinical trials to identify mechanisms that reduce blood vessel dysfunction in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disorders.
In addition to her research activities, Dr. Kaplan is an active clinician and teacher. She sees lupus patients in the NIH Clinical Research Center and is involved in the development of various clinical trials for patients with autoimmune diseases at NIH. She has served in various roles at the American College of Rheumatology/Rheumatology Research Foundation, the American Association of Immunologists, the Journal of Immunology, and the Lupus Foundation of America. She was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, and received the Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award and the Edmund L. Dubois Memorial Lectureship, both from the American College of Rheumatology. Dr. Kaplan received the 2015 Evelyn V. Hess Award from the Lupus Foundation of America in recognition of her significant contributions to lupus research, diagnosis, and treatment.