2024 MUSCLE team photo

Lupus Research Group

MUSCLE logoThe Medical University of South Carolina Lupus Erythematosus research group (also known as M.U.S.C.L.E.) is comprised of faculty and staff with interests in clinical, translational, and basic research related to lupus and community outreach to improve knowledge and awareness of lupus.

The M.U.S.C.L.E. faculty principal investigators include clinical and translational scientists Drs. Gary Gilkeson, Diane Kamen, Jim Oates, Tasha Ruth, Melissa Cunningham, Hazel Breland, and Edith Williams, and basic research scientists Drs. Tammy Nowling, Betty Tsao, John Zhang, and human genetics researcher Paula Ramos. Our clinical research effort includes investigator-initiated observational and interventional studies and industry sponsored treatment trials for lupus. Administered through the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute (SCTR), these studies focus on biomarkers of lupus and lupus nephritis disease activity, the impact of vitamin D and other environmental factors on autoimmune disease, biomarkers of atherosclerosis and bone health in lupus, oral health and lupus, and the role of stress in the lives of patients with lupus.

Our industry sponsored clinical trials are designed to test a variety of new therapies that are intended to be more targeted with fewer adverse effects compared to current therapies used for the treatment of lupus. Our basic and translational research efforts focus on the role of reactive intermediates in the pathogenesis and disease damage involved in lupus, the role of complement in lupus, and genes involved in the regulation of inflammatory processes in lupus. Please visit our individual faculty pages to learn about each member’s research interests. Patients interested in participating in research are invited to contact one of our study coordinators to learn more details about our research trials.

Information, Podcasts, and Videos

Main Session:

Watch the Main Session from our 2022 Lupus Patient Education Day. Click 'watch next' to view breakout sessions from the event.
  • Lupus Ed Day Main Session

  • Lupus COVID Updates

  • Birth Control in SLE

  • Lupus Labs and Testing

  • Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

  • Skin and Hair Care

  • Pediatric Lupus

Lupus FAQ's

Watch the video What is Lupus? by the National Resource Center on Lupus for an explanation of lupus and how it affects people.

Lupus Support Group and Local Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America

For information on the “Lupus: Listening and Learning Group” in Charleston, please contact Mia Barron at 843-364-2186 or charlestonlupusgroup@gmail.com. Meetings are now being held virtually via ZOOM the 2nd Monday of every other month, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.. All patients with lupus, family members, friends and supporters are invited! 

Online Resources

For more information about lupus research at MUSC or to join our mailing list, contact: lupusresearch@musc.edu or call 1-866-859-6107 (toll-free) or 843-792-8997.

Lupus Clinical Trials

A list of our currently enrolling Lupus Clinical Studies can be found on the MUSC Clinical Research website.


Lupus Group Announcements

Lupus News and Events

Learn about the latest news and events from the Lupus Foundation of America.

Check Out the New Videos from the LFA on YouTube

Learn more about lupus and find out ways you can help bring greater attention to lupus.