Amr H. Sawalha, MD

  • Professor, Department of Pediatrics
  • Division Director, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Rheumatology
  • Director, Lupus Center of Excellence, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Education & Training

  • Rheumatology Fellowship, University of Michigan, 2005
  • Internal Medicine Residency, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 2003
  • MD, Jordan University of Science and Technology Medical School, 1998

Research Interests

My research program focuses on elucidating genetic and epigenetic contribution to the pathogenesis of systemic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. We apply state-of-the-art genomic, epigenomic, and bioinformatics methodologies, and subsequent functional studies using both in vitro and in vivo systems to identify and characterize genetic loci and pathways involved in the pathogenesis of immune-mediated diseases. Using careful clinical phenotyping and extensive national and international collaborations, we aim at discovering genomic and epigenomic markers for disease progression, specific organ involvement, and response to therapy in systemic autoimmunity.


Ortiz-Fernández L, Saruhan-Direskeneli G, Alibaz-Oner F, Kaymaz-Tahra S, Coit P, Kong X, Kiprianos AP, Maughan RT, Aydin SZ, Aksu K, Keser G, Kamali S, Inanc M, Springer J, Akar S, Onen F, Akkoc N, Khalidi NA, Koening C, Karadag O, Kiraz S, Forbess L, Langford CA, McAlear CA, Ozbalkan Z, Yavuz S, Çetin GY, Alpay-Kanitez N, Chung S, Ates A, Karaaslan Y, McKinnon-Maksimowicz K, Monach PA, Ozer HTE, Seyahi E, Fresko I, Cefle A, Seo P, Warrington KJ, Ozturk MA, Ytterberg SR, Cobankara V, Onat AM, Duzgun N, Bıcakcıgil M, Yentür SP, Lally L, Manfredi AA, Baldissera E, Erken E, Yazici A, Kısacık B, Kaşifoğlu T, Dalkilic E, Cuthbertson D, Pagnoux C, Sreih A, Reales G, Wallace C, Wren JD, Cunninghame-Graham DS, Vyse TJ, Sun Y, Chen H, Grayson PC, Tombetti E, Jiang L, Mason JC, Merkel PA, Direskeneli H and Sawalha AH. 2021. Identification of susceptibility loci for Takayasu arteritis through a large multi-ancestral genome-wide association study. Am J Hum Genet. 108: 84-99.

Coit P, Ortiz-Fernandez L, Lewis EE, McCune WJ, Maksimowicz-McKinnon K and Sawalha AH. 2020. A longitudinal and transancestral analysis of DNA methylation patterns and disease activity in lupus patients. JCI Insight. 5: e143654.

Zheng X, Tsou PS and Sawalha AH. 2020. Increased Expression of EZH2 Is Mediated by Higher Glycolysis and mTORC1 Activation in Lupus CD4+ T Cells. Immunometabolism. 2: e200013; DOI:10.20900/immunometab20200013

Rohraff DM, He Y, Farkash EA, Schonfeld M, Tsou PS and Sawalha AH. 2019. Inhibition of EZH2 ameliorates lupus-like disease in MRL/lpr mice. Arthritis Rheumatol. 71: 1681-1690.

Tsou PS, Campbell P, Amin MA, Coit P, Miller S, Fox DA, Khanna D and Sawalha AH. 2019. Inhibition of EZH2 prevents fibrosis and restores normal angiogenesis in scleroderma. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. 116: 3695-3702. 

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