Mariana Kaplan, M.D., joined the NIAMS as Chief of the Systemic Autoimmunity Branch in 2013. She is also Deputy Scientific Director. Before her appointment, she was a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kaplan obtained her medical degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and did her Internal Medicine Residency at the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition in Mexico City. She then completed her Rheumatology Fellowship and postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan, where she was a member of the faculty for 15 years and an active member of their Multidisciplinary Lupus Clinic.

In addition to her research activities, Dr. Kaplan is an active clinician and teacher. She sees lupus patients in the NIH Clinical Research Center and is involved in the development of various clinical trials for patients with autoimmune diseases at the NIH. She has served in numerous roles at the American College of Rheumatology/Rheumatology Research Foundation, the American Association of Immunologists, and the Lupus Foundation of America. Dr. Kaplan was inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians (AAP) in addition to receiving the Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award and the Edmund L. Dubois Memorial Lectureship, both from the American College of Rheumatology. She received the 2015 Evelyn V. Hess Award from the Lupus Foundation of America in recognition of her significant contributions to lupus research, diagnosis, and treatment. In 2016, she received the Charles L. Christian Award for significant impact on the understanding of lupus. Dr. Kaplan is on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and deputy editor of Arthritis & Rheumatology. She is currently a Council member at the AAP.

In 2021, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine for seminal contributions that have significantly advanced the understanding of the pathogenic role of the innate immune system in systemic autoimmune diseases, atherosclerosis, and immune-mediated vasculopathies.

In 2023, Dr. Kaplan was promoted to the title of NIH Distinguished Investigator. NIH Distinguished Investigators have established a record of career-high achievements and are considered NIH’s most preeminent Senior Investigators (top 2-3%), with entrance requiring a special peer review and approval by the Director, NIH.

Research Statement

Dr. Kaplan's research has focused on identifying mechanisms of immune dysregulation, organ damage, and premature vascular disease in systemic autoimmunity. More specifically, she investigates how innate immunity (in particular, type I interferons and myeloid cells) promote autoimmune responses and end-organ damage in systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other systemic autoimmune diseases. Recently, her research has focused on identifying abnormalities of neutrophil subsets and the role of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in systemic autoimmune disorders, both of which may contribute to the development of autoimmune responses and end-organ damage. Dr. Kaplan also has an interest in identifying novel therapeutic targets that may prevent premature vascular damage in systemic autoimmunity, as well as the role of environmental triggers in the induction of autoimmunity. Moreover, she has led clinical trials to identify mechanisms that reduce blood vessel dysfunction and mitigate organ damage in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disorders.

Scientific Publications

Multicenter analysis of neutrophil extracellular trap dysregulation in adult and pediatric COVID-19.

Carmona-Rivera C, Zhang Y, Dobbs K, Markowitz TE, Dalgard CL, Oler AJ, Claybaugh DR, Draper D, Truong M, Delmonte OM, Licciardi F, Ramenghi U, Crescenzio N, Imberti L, Sottini A, Quaresima V, Fiorini C, Discepolo V, Lo Vecchio A, Guarino A, Pierri L, Catzola A, Biondi A, Bonfanti P, Poli Harlowe MC, Espinosa Y, Astudillo C, Rey-Jurado E, Vial C, de la Cruz J, Gonzalez R, Pinera C, Mays JW, Ng A, Platt A, NIH COVID Autopsy Consortium, COVID STORM Clinicians, Drolet B, Moon J, Cowen EW, Kenney H, Weber SE, Castagnoli R, Magliocco M, Stack MA, Montealegre G, Barron K, Fink DL, Kuhns DB, Hewitt SM, Arkin LM, Chertow DS, Su HC, Notarangelo LD, Kaplan MJ
JCI Insight.
2022 Aug 22;
doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.160332
PMID: 35852866

Phase 1 double-blind randomized safety trial of the Janus kinase inhibitor tofacitinib in systemic lupus erythematosus.

Hasni SA, Gupta S, Davis M, Poncio E, Temesgen-Oyelakin Y, Carlucci PM, Wang X, Naqi M, Playford MP, Goel RR, Li X, Biehl AJ, Ochoa-Navas I, Manna Z, Shi Y, Thomas D, Chen J, Biancotto A, Apps R, Cheung F, Kotliarov Y, Babyak AL, Zhou H, Shi R, Stagliano K, Tsai WL, Vian L, Gazaniga N, Giudice V, Lu S, Brooks SR, MacKay M, Gregersen P, Mehta NN, Remaley AT, Diamond B, O'Shea JJ, Gadina M, Kaplan MJ
Nat Commun.
2021 Jun 7;
doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23361-z
PMID: 34099646

Bite of the wolf: innate immune responses propagate autoimmunity in lupus.

Gupta S, Kaplan MJ
J Clin Invest.
2021 Feb 1;
pii: 144918. doi: 10.1172/JCI144918
PMID: 33529160

Sex differences in neutrophil biology modulate response to type I interferons and immunometabolism.

Gupta S, Nakabo S, Blanco LP, O'Neil LJ, Wigerblad G, Goel RR, Mistry P, Jiang K, Carmona-Rivera C, Chan DW, Wang X, Pedersen HL, Gadkari M, Howe KN, Naz F, Dell'Orso S, Hasni SA, Dempsey C, Buscetta A, Frischmeyer-Guerrerio PA, Kruszka P, Muenke M, Franco LM, Sun HW, Kaplan MJ
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
2020 Jul 14;
doi: 10.1073/pnas.2003603117
PMID: 32601182

VDAC oligomers form mitochondrial pores to release mtDNA fragments and promote lupus-like disease.

Kim J, Gupta R, Blanco LP, Yang S, Shteinfer-Kuzmine A, Wang K, Zhu J, Yoon HE, Wang X, Kerkhofs M, Kang H, Brown AL, Park SJ, Xu X, Zandee van Rilland E, Kim MK, Cohen JI, Kaplan MJ, Shoshan-Barmatz V, Chung JH
2019 Dec 20;
doi: 10.1126/science.aav4011
PMID: 31857488

Transcriptomic, epigenetic, and functional analyses implicate neutrophil diversity in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus.

Mistry P, Nakabo S, O'Neil L, Goel RR, Jiang K, Carmona-Rivera C, Gupta S, Chan DW, Carlucci PM, Wang X, Naz F, Manna Z, Dey A, Mehta NN, Hasni S, Dell'Orso S, Gutierrez-Cruz G, Sun HW, Kaplan MJ
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
2019 Dec 10;
doi: 10.1073/pnas.1908576116
PMID: 31754025

Synovial fibroblast-neutrophil interactions promote pathogenic adaptive immunity in rheumatoid arthritis.

Carmona-Rivera C, Carlucci PM, Moore E, Lingampalli N, Uchtenhagen H, James E, Liu Y, Bicker KL, Wahamaa H, Hoffmann V, Catrina AI, Thompson P, Buckner JH, Robinson WH, Fox DA, Kaplan MJ
Sci Immunol.
2017 Apr;
pii: eaag3358. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aag3358
PMID: 28649674

Neutrophil extracellular traps enriched in oxidized mitochondrial DNA are interferogenic and contribute to lupus-like disease.

Lood C, Blanco LP, Purmalek MM, Carmona-Rivera C, De Ravin SS, Smith CK, Malech HL, Ledbetter JA, Elkon KB, Kaplan MJ
Nat Med.
2016 Feb;
doi: 10.1038/nm.4027
PMID: 26779811


Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, School of Medicine, Mexico City, Mexico


House Officer
Internal Medicine, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y de la Nutricion Salvador Zubiran, National Institutes of Health, Mexico City, Mexico

Division of Rheumatology, University of Michigan

Lecturer/Research Fellow
Division of Rheumatology, University of Michigan

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