The long term objective of this proposal is to increase understanding of the inflammatory component of coronary artery disease (CAD) risk in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) through the study of genetic risk factors. Studies have demonstrated that traditional risk factors (e.g., dyslipidemia) cannot account for the additional 1.5-3.0 fold excess risk of CAD in RA patients compared to the general population. This proposal will be conducted within the infrastructure of the NIH informatics for integrating biology and the bedside (i2b2), a national initiative to harness the electronic medical record (EMR) to enable discovery research. This project directly addresses two long range goals of NIAMS by (1) linking developments in genetics to predict a clinical outcome, CAD in RA, and (2) by employing a multidisciplinary, """"""""cross cutting"""""""" approach utilizing bioinformatics and novel analytical techniques to understand an important clinical question in RA. The bioinformatics methodology developed as part of this project can be applied to future research in rheumatoid arthritis.
The aims of this project are to conduct a genetic association study to (1) determine how genetic markers associated with traditional risk factors and CAD risk in the general population relate to CAD risk in RA, (2) study whether genetic risk factors for developing RA, markers of immune dysregulation, also increase risk for CAD in RA, and (3) test whether inflammatory mediators thought to accelerate atherosclerosis in RA, increase risk for CAD. Analyses for aims 1-3 entail single SNP analyses, as well as application of genetic risk scores (GRS) in aims 1 and 2. In each aim a clinical model of risk for CAD in RA will be developed and compared to one incorporating clinical + genetic data. As part of aim 3, the contribution of genetic information to a clinical model will be determined using predictive modeling and reclassification measures. Findings from this study can inform the future management of CAD in RA patients. Dr. Katherine Liao received a Masters of Public Health degree at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in March 2010, completed her rheumatology fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in July 2010, and has stayed on as an Instructor in Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology. Her immediate career goal involves pursuit of her proposal to study genetic risk factors for CAD in RA. Her long term career goal is to become an independent investigator in the field of clinical and genetic epidemiology of the rheumatic diseases with expertise in utilizing EMRs for clinical research. Dr. Liao's mentors, Dr. Elizabeth Karlson, Director of Rheumatic Disease Epidemiology, and Dr. Robert Plenge, Director of Genetics and Genomics in the Division of Rheumatology, will allow her to effectively bridge epidemiology and genetics. Her career development plan entails ongoing training in genetics, advanced biostatistics and epidemiology, through direct experience from her research and didactic coursework. Dr. Liao is situated in the rich research and collaborative environment of BWH, HSPH, and the Broad Institute.

Public Health Relevance

Heart disease has been recognized as a serious complication of RA for at least five decades. However, little is known about whether RA itself, its treatment, or genetic factors lead to heart disease. This study would provide insight into our understanding of these factors in RA patients and can inform future treatment and prevention strategies for heart disease in RA.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAR1)
Program Officer
Wang, Yan Z
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Brigham and Women's Hospital
United States
Zip Code
Cai, Tianrun; Lin, Tzu-Chieh; Bond, Allison et al. (2018) The Association Between Arthralgia and Vedolizumab Using Natural Language Processing. Inflamm Bowel Dis 24:2242-2246
Liao, Katherine P; Sparks, Jeffrey A; Hejblum, Boris P et al. (2017) Phenome-Wide Association Study of Autoantibodies to Citrullinated and Noncitrullinated Epitopes in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis Rheumatol 69:742-749
Liao, Katherine P (2017) Cardiovascular disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Trends Cardiovasc Med 27:136-140
Bobb, Jennifer F; Ho, Kalon K L; Yeh, Robert W et al. (2017) Time-Course of Cause-Specific Hospital Admissions During Snowstorms: An Analysis of Electronic Medical Records From Major Hospitals in Boston, Massachusetts. Am J Epidemiol 185:283-294
Liao, Katherine P (2017) Through the looking glass of rheumatoid arthritis to study inflammation and high-density lipoprotein. Heart 103:734-735
Ananthakrishnan, Ashwin N; Cagan, Andrew; Cai, Tianxi et al. (2016) Identification of Nonresponse to Treatment Using Narrative Data in an Electronic Health Record Inflammatory Bowel Disease Cohort. Inflamm Bowel Dis 22:151-8
Desai, Rishi J; Solomon, Daniel H; Schneeweiss, Sebastian et al. (2016) Tumor Necrosis Factor-? Inhibitor Use and the Risk of Incident Hypertension in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Epidemiology 27:414-22
Alemao, Evo; Cawston, Helene; Bourhis, Francois et al. (2016) Cardiovascular risk factor management in patients with RA compared to matched non-RA patients. Rheumatology (Oxford) 55:809-16
Ananthakrishnan, Ashwin N; Cagan, Andrew; Cai, Tianxi et al. (2016) Comparative Effectiveness of Infliximab and Adalimumab in Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Inflamm Bowel Dis 22:880-5
Agniel, Denis; Liao, Katherine P; Cai, Tianxi (2016) Estimation and testing for multiple regulation of multivariate mixed outcomes. Biometrics 72:1194-1205

Showing the most recent 10 out of 43 publications