Robert Lafyatis, MD

BobCORT Director; Administrative Core PI; Project 1 PI

Dr. Lafyatis came to scleroderma research under the tutelage of Dr. Joseph Korn, his supervisor and mentor until Dr. Korn’s death in 2005.  Dr. Lafyatis began his career studying fibroblast biology at the National Institutes of Health under Dr. Ronald Wilder.  He continued his training at the National Institutes of Health in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Sporn, the discoverer of TGFβ, where he gained experience in both cytokine and molecular biology.  Embarking on his own research career at the Pasteur Institut in France, he cloned an autoantigen using rheumatoid synovial fluid and showed the molecular function of this autoantigen as a regulator of alternative splicing.  Through these studies he developed strong expertise in the biology of TGFβ, and cell and molecular biology.  Since returning to the US and working in the Rheumatology Section at Boston University Medical Center, he has become a leader in basic and translational research in SSc.

Institution: Boston University School of Medicine

Medical School: University of Cinncinnati College of Medicine/MD/1983

Academic Rank: Professor of Medicine

Mailing address: 72 East Concord Street, E-5, Boston, MA 02118


Phone: 617.638.4486

Summary of academic interest: Investigating pathogenic mechanisms in systemic sclerosis and applying molecular approaches to translational studies.

CORT Project Summaries: CORT Director; Administrative Core PI; Project 1 PI

Recent publications relevant to the CORT:

Elevated expression of cav-1 in a subset of SSc fibroblasts contributes to constitutive Alk1/Smad1 activation. Haines P, Hant FN, Lafyatis R, Trojanowska M, Bujor AM.  J Cell Mol Med. 2012 Sep;16(9):2238-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2012.01537.x. PMID: 22277251.

Intrinsic gene expression subsets of diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis are stable in serial skin biopsies. Pendergrass SA, Lemaire R, Francis IP, Mahoney JM, Lafyatis R, Whitfield ML. J Invest Dermatol. 2012 May;132(5):1363-73. doi: 10.1038/jid.2011.472. Epub 2012 Feb 9. PMID: 22318389.

Connective tissue disease: SSc-fibrosis takes flight with Wingless inhibition.  Lafyatis R. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2012 Aug;8(8):441-2. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2012.99. Epub 2012 Jul 3. PMID: 22751566.

Acid sphingomyelinase deficiency contributes to resistance of scleroderma fibroblasts to Fas-mediated apoptosis. Samuel GH, Lenna S, Bujor AM, Lafyatis R, Trojanowska M.  J Dermatol Sci. 2012 Sep;67(3):166-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2012.06.001. Epub 2012 Jun 26. PMID: 22771321.

New insights into the mechanisms of innate immune receptor signalling in fibrosis.  Lafyatis R, Farina A. Open Rheumatol J. 2012;6:72-9. doi: 10.2174/1874312901206010072. Epub 2012 Jun 15. PMID: 22802904.

Modeling innate immunity in murine skin: utilization of subcutaneous osmotic pumps for inflammatory and fibrotic skin disease. Dimarzio M, Farina G, Lafyatis R. Methods Mol Biol. 2012;900:317-26. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60761-720-4_15. PMID: 22933076.

Ciprofloxacin has antifibrotic effects in scleroderma fibroblasts via downregulation of Dnmt1 and upregulation of Fli1. Bujor AM, Haines P, Padilla C, Christmann RB, Junie M, Sampaio-Barros PD, Lafyatis R, Trojanowska M. Int J Mol Med. 2012 Dec;30(6):1473-80. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2012.1150. Epub 2012 Oct 5. PMID: 23041765.

Toll-Like Receptor 4 Signaling Augments Transforming Growth Factor-β Responses: A Novel Mechanism for Maintaining and Amplifying Fibrosis in Scleroderma. Bhattacharyya S, Kelley K, Melichian DS, Tamaki Z, Fang F, Su Y, Feng G, Pope RM, Budinger GR, Mutlu GM, Lafyatis R, Radstake T, Feghali-Bostwick C, Varga J. Am J Pathol. 2013 Jan;182(1):192-205. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2012.09.007. Epub 2012 Nov 7. PMID: 23141927.

p300 Is Elevated in Systemic Sclerosis and Its Expression Is Positively Regulated by TGF-β: Epigenetic Feed-Forward Amplification of Fibrosis. Ghosh AK, Bhattacharyya S, Lafyatis R, Farina G, Yu J, Thimmapaya B, Wei J, Varga J. J Invest Dermatol. 2013 Jan 10. doi: 10.1038/jid.2012.479. PMID: 23303459.

TSLP upregulation in human SSc skin and induction of overlapping profibrotic genes and intracelullar signaling with IL-13 and TGFß. Christmann RB, Mathes A, Affandi AJ, Padilla C, Nazari B, Bujor AM, Stifano G, Lafyatis R. Arthritis Rheum. 2013 Jan 17. doi: 10.1002/art.37859. PMID: 23335246.

HLA-B35 and dsRNA induce endothelin-1 via activation of ATF4 in human microvascular endothelial cells. Lenna S, Chrobak I, Farina GA, Rodriguez-Pascual F, Lamas S, Lafyatis R, Scorza R, Trojanowska M. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56123. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056123. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Increased expression of endoplasmic reticulum stress and unfolded protein response genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension. Lenna S, Farina AG, Martyanov V, Christmann RB, Wood TA, Farber HW, Scorza R, Whitfield ML, Lafyatis R, Trojanowska M. Arthritis Rheum. 2013 May;65(5):1357-66. doi: 10.1002/art.37891.

Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin Is Up-Regulated in the Skin of Patients With Systemic Sclerosis and Induces Profibrotic Genes and Intracellular Signaling That Overlap With Those Induced by Interleukin-13 and Transforming Growth Factor β.  Christmann RB, Mathes A, Affandi AJ, Padilla C, Nazari B, Bujor AM, Stifano G, Lafyatis R. Arthritis Rheum. 2013 May;65(5):1335-46. doi: 10.1002/art.37859.