Dr. Jordan Orange, professor of pediatrics, pathology and immunology at Baylor College of Medicine and director of the Center for Human Immunobiology at Texas Children’s Hospital, leads the immunology team awarded the 2015 Lee Howley Sr. Prize, an award given annually by the Arthritis Foundation to recognize team science in action that will lead to a faster cure for arthritis and related diseases.

In 2015, Orange, who is also chief of pediatric immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Texas Children’s Hospital, and colleagues identified a new gene mutation responsible for causing a hereditary autoimmune-mediated form of arthritis that is also associated with lung disease. They have called the new disease “Copa syndrome” named after the gene affected in these patients. The team published the work in an April 2015 issue of the prominent medical journal Nature Genetics.  

“This work represents a massive collaboration between many at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital, including Levi Watkin, a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Human Immunobiology at Texas Children’s Hospital, and Dr. James Lupski, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor, and the Center for Mendelian Genomics at Baylor, as well as with a team at the University of California in San Francisco,” said Orange, who also serves as vice chair of research in pediatrics at Baylor. “It was our hope that the Center for Human Immunobiology would offer scientific contributions to the field of pediatrics that really matter. It is uplifting for its work to be recognized as such.”

This work only began just over two years ago. “Truly anything is possible here,” he said.

Orange’s team was presented with the award recently at the 2015 Arthritis Foundation Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

A memorial tribute to Lee C. Howley Sr., former chairman of Revco D.S., Inc., who was instrumental in the establishment of the Revco Arthritis Research Center at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, The Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Scientific Research recognizes excellence among scientists who have significantly advanced the understanding, treatment and prevention of arthritis and related diseases.

The Arthritis Foundation has been giving the award for over thirty years to recognize the efforts and actions by scientific teams that will lead to a faster cure for arthritis and related diseases.

Baylor College of Medicine will receive $10,000 to further arthritis research.