For the past 30 years, the Rheumatology Research Foundation has been an invaluable resource for investigators looking to further their careers and expand essential research into rheumatic diseases. Among the Foundation’s many award recipients is Robert Plenge, MD, PhD. In 2008, Dr. Plenge received a grant from the Foundation to pursue finding a genetic basis of response to treatment in rheumatoid arthritis. This grant was pivotal to his career because it led to scientific publications and additional funding for further research from the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Plenge started his internal medicine residency at the University of California, San Francisco in 2000 and became a clinical rheumatology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, in 2002. From there, he transitioned from fellow to independent faculty and sought out funding opportunities from the Foundation.
Dr. Plenge feels the Foundation’s grant support gave him three things. First, it created a sense of stability, allowing him the opportunity to pursue the ideas he wanted to research. Second, it provided a community through the ACR/ARHP Annual Meetings, establishing a place for him to network and share ideas with colleagues in the field. Third, it allowed his lab to grow in size and scope.
‘The Foundation inspires & develops leaders for the future of rheumatology.’ —Robert Plenge, MD, PhD
Dr. Plenge believes it is important for ACR/ARHP members to support the Foundation because it offers a niche within the clinical biomedical research ecosystem for scientific discoveries. In the next 30 years, he hopes to see the Foundation enable the discovery of a cure for rheumatoid arthritis.