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Melissa Lerman, MD, PhD, MSCE

Attending Physician

Instructor in Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Melissa Lerman, MD, PhD, graduated with a BA from Yale University in 1996. Her senior essay was titled, "Activation of Neu in the Mammary Epithelium of Neu Transgenic Mice: the Role of Neu Expression and Activation in Tumorigenesis." For her research, Dr. Lerman received the Yale College DuPuy Award for Scholarship.

Melissa then entered the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine where she completed the MD, PhD program. She earned her PhD in immunology, studying T cell selection and regulation in response to both fetal and self-antigens, specifically focusing on the development of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells. As a graduate student, she received the Goldie Simon Summer Preceptorship Award from the Lupus Foundation, SE PA (2001).

Dr. Lerman then completed her residency training in general pediatrics, and her fellowship training in pediatric rheumatology, at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). While a fellow, she began further training to obtain a masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics through the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Dr. Lerman began to study an area that had interested her greatly, as it is a key issue for children in our clinic — non-infectious uveitis (uveitis). Uveitis occurs in many pediatric rheumatologic diseases and can lead to significant visual problems. Treatment options include steroids or immunomodulators, including tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors (TNFα inhibitors). Dr. Lerman is currently studying the largest, and only multicenter, group of patients with pediatric uveitis to date to more precisely estimate the outcomes of treatment with TNFα inhibitors. She has been awarded an American College of Rheumatology Research Education Foundation (ACR REF) Scientist Development Award that will enable her to continue this research. She is more broadly interested in studying the comparative effectiveness of different therapies to treat pediatric inflammatory eye disease.

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