UAB Medicine News


Faculty Spotlight: Laura B. Hughes

Laura Hughes

Faculty Spotlight: Laura B. Hughes, MD, MSPH – Professor of Medicine and Director, Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program

The UAB Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology values its faculty, fellows, and staff and appreciates all they do for our patients, colleagues, trainees, and researchers. Below we highlight Laura Hughes, MD, MSPH, and some of the accomplishments she has brought to the division:

  • She leads the annual UAB Southeastern Rheumatology Objective Structured Clinical Examination (ROSCE) for UAB fellows and faculty. This year’s focus was on ultrasound in rheumatology. The event was held in conjunction with the Lowe Conference.

  • She is the medical director of UAB Rheumatology Musculoskeletal Ultrasound program. This involves clinical services such as assessing arthritis disease activity, performing difficult joint injections, and teaching these techniques and procedures to trainees, including rheumatology fellows.

  • She is co-author with S. Louis Bridges, Jr, MD, PhD, on a manuscript in Arthritis & Rheumatology and Nature Immunology, and they are listed as members of and contributors to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Tissue Network (REASON), part of the NIH-funded Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP). This study demonstrates that the performance of synovial tissue biopsies by rheumatologists in the United States is feasible and generates high-quality samples for research. By utilizing cutting-edge technologies on synovial biopsies with corresponding clinical information, a precision medicine-based approach for patients with RA is attainable. Dr. Hughes is one of a small number of rheumatologists trained in ultrasound-guided synovial biopsy, a safe, well-tolerated, and reliable technique for obtaining high-quality synovial tissue from both large and small joints in patients with early arthritis. She is an investigator on a prospective multi-center longitudinal study that uses biopsies and arthroplasty tissue from RA patients across the clinical spectrum, from those with DMARD-naïve to end-stage disease, to define the cell populations in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) driving joint inflammation and identify key mediators of RA pathogenesis.
  • Her most recent publication with Zhang et al. is published in Nature Immunology entitled Rheumatoid Arthritis Joint Synovial Tissues by Integrating Single-cell Transcriptomics and Mass Cytometry.

  • She is the medical director of the Cooper Green Mercy Hospital Rheumatology Clinic, a compassionate care clinic for residents of Jefferson County, with fees based on family size and income.

Thank you, Dr. Hughes, for all that you do.

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