Arthritis Research

Did you know:

Arthritis is not one disease, but rather a broad term that encompasses more than 100 very different disorders. All involve the joints and are characterized by chronic pain, limited mobility and decreased range of motion.

  • Nationwide, some 70 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis – that’s one out of three – making arthritis one of the most pervasive diseases in the U.S. as well as the leading cause of disability.
  • Arthritis is – for now – an almost inevitable part of aging. Joints naturally degenerate over time and most over 50 show some signs of arthritis.
  • There is no known cure and early treatment is the most effective treatment.

Addressing the Challenge

The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center has assembled a team of some of the world’s leading experts and specializes in the care of inflammatory arthritis. This includes, most notably, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease often described as bone meeting bone and disproportionately affects women three times greater than men. A common complaint from patients is pain at night as well as discomfort in the weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees and spine. This disease often accompanies age as it marks the wear and tear of joints over time. Repetitive movement and prior injuries also contribute to the disease and younger persons are increasingly affected. OA is the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly 30 million nationwide.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and can affect many joints, other organs and the whole body. RA is often marked by flares and remissions or times when symptoms are more pronounced, then dissipate. A common complaint is pain and stiffness in the morning, joints that may feel hot and/or tender, symptoms that last a prolonged amount of time, and a general feeling of sickness. Though fewer in number, rheumatoid arthritis is associated with more pronounced symptoms, more frequent hospitalizations and a higher death rate.

What Hopkins Is Doing

The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center treats patients, conducts cutting-edge research and trains physicians.

  • Its mission is to provide excellent clinical care while seeking to better understand the causes, treatments, and best treatment approaches for arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
  • Team members include clinical psychologists studying pain, exercise and health concerns of arthritis patients, as well as clinical nurses, medical assistants and research and patient care coordinators who assist in patient care.
  • These dedicated teams are committed to ensuring the highest quality, state-of-the-art care for arthritis patients as well as clinical research that paves the way for new and better treatment options, slower disease progression, decreased pain and potential cures.

World Renowned & Nationally Ranked

The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center falls under the umbrella of the Johns Hopkins Division of Rheumatology.

  • Hopkins has for 21 consecutive years been voted #1 in the country by U.S. News & World Report as America’s Best Hospital and its Division of Rheumatology has been ranked #1 for the last six.
  • The Division of Rheumatology operates a number of specialty clinics. The Arthritis Center was the first and is looked upon as a model for disease-focused care.
  • All Arthritis Center doctors are attending physicians and full-time faculty members at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and all are board certified in Rheumatology.
  • Patients come from Baltimore and around the world. In addition to receiving excellent medical care, patients may be eligible to participate in Hopkins research and benefit from novel treatment options while helping to advance the field for others with arthritis.

A Collaborative Effort & A Long-Term Approach

The research in the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center encompasses many different rheumatic diseases. Most of our studies are multidisciplinary and highly collaborative efforts with faculty in our Division, in other specialties within Hopkins, and with investigators across the globe. Conducting basic science, clinical, and translational research, our experts are exploring new ways to diagnose disease, design clinical trials, measure outcomes, and deliver treatment. Our experienced research teams effectively integrate many studies with clinical care.

Areas of current research include:

  • Clinical, biochemical, genetic, and imaging characterization of arthritis patients
  •  Autoantibody discovery and characterization
  •  Improving patient-reported outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthritis
  •  Advanced and molecular imaging of arthritis
  •  Predictors of progression in osteoarthritis
  •  Periodontal disease in rheumatoid arthritis
  •  Exercise in arthritis and fibromyalgia
  •  Inflammatory arthritis in the elderly
  •  Investigational medication trials

The Team

  • Clifton O. Bingham, III, M.D.
    Director, Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center
    Interests: Inflammatory arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, oral health in rheumatic disease, clinical trials, clinical outcomes, patient and health care provider education
  • Uzma Haque, M.D.
    Interests: Inflammatory arthritis, Vitamin D in rheumatoid arthritis, clinical outcomes, medical education
  • Grant Louie, M.D., M.H.S.
    Interests: Inflammatory arthritis, spondyloarthritis, clinical outcomes, medical education
  • Rebecca Manno, M.D., M.H.S.
    Interests: Inflammatory arthritis in the elderly, rheumatoid vasculitis, exercise and arthritis, osteoarthritis
  • Ana-Maria Orbai, MD, MHS
    Interests: psoriatic arthritis, health related quality of life, patient reported outcomes
  • John A. Flynn, M.D., M.Ed.
    Interests: Spondyloarthritis, medical education
  • Kevin Fontaine, Ph.D. (Adjunct)
    Interests: Resistance exercise and physical activity in fibromyalgia and arthritis, body composition 
  • Susan Bartlett, Ph.D. (Adjunct)
    Interests: Patient communication, adherence, patient reported outcomes, psychosocial determinants of health outcomes
  • Felipe Andrade, M.D., Ph.D.
    Interests: Mechanisms of citrullination, autoantibody phenotyping of patients with rheumatic diseases
  • Erika Darrah, Ph.D.
    Interests: autoantigen-specific antibody and T cell responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Victoria Ruffing, R.N., C.C.R.P.
    Interests:  Patient and healthcare provider education, patient communication, adherence

The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center

We invite you to learn more about the exciting work underway on our campus in Baltimore, Md. The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center was founded in 1998 and in its first decade has established a local and global presence, a growing clinical and scientific research program and a vibrant patient community. It’s here that

  • Physicians Turn for Cutting-Edge Expertise
  • Patients Receive State-of-the-Art Care
  • Innovative Research Translates to Scientific Advances

How You Can Get Involved

Updated: April 29, 2014

Arthritis Center

About Arthritis Center

Founded in 1998, the Arthritis Center at Johns Hopkins is dedicated to providing quality education to patients and healthcare providers alike.