Robert Plenge is a clinical rheumatologist and human geneticist at Harvard Medical School. Robert's research interest is to translate genetic discoveries to care of patients with common autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Because a major bottleneck has been the identification gene variants that influence the risk of both RA and SLE, Robert has focused on human genetic studies of disease susceptibility for these diseases. Together with close collaborators, his work has more than doubled the number of confirmed gene variants that contribute to risk of RA. Robert has contributed substantially to a thriving research group at the Broad and in Boston to understand the genetic basis of immune-mediated diseases. His future goals include understanding how newly identified gene variants change the immune system to cause disease and how these variants can be used in the rheumatology clinic to treat patients more effectively.
Robert is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in the Harvard/Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics and the Department of Medicine. He is also the director of genetics and genomics in the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Robert was recently awarded the Young Investigator Award (2008) in the Department of Medicine (Brigham and Women’s Hospital), a Career Award for Medical Scientists through the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (2008), and an Excellence in Tutoring Award given by Harvard Medical School (2007 and 2008).
Robert received his M.D.-Ph.D. in 2000 from Case Western Reserve University; he completed his residency in internal medicine at University of California, San Francisco in 2002, and clinical fellowship training in Rheumatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in 2006. He did his post-doctoral research training with David Altshuler at the Broad Institute.