Melissa Lerman, MD, PhD, MSCE

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Melissa Lerman, MD, PhD, is a pediatric rheumatologist in the Division of Rheumatology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Areas of Expertise: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Non-infectious uveitis, Neuro-inflammatory disease
Locations: Main Hospital


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.

She 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.

Dr. Lerman works closely with CHOP neurologists in caring for children with inflammatory brain disease. She also collaborates with oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the treatment of TMJ arthritis (arthritis related to temporomandibular joint dysfunction).

Education and Training

Medical School

MD - Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA


Pediatrics - The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA


Pediatric Rheumatology - The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Board Certification

Pediatric Rheumatology – American Board of Pediatrics
Pediatrics – American Board of Pediatrics

Graduate Degree

PhD in Immunology - Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
MSCE in Pharmacoepidemiology - Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Titles and Academic Titles

Attending Physician

Associate Fellowship Director, Pediatric Rheumatology

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Conditions Treated

Departments and Services

Research Interests

Non-infectious uveitis: achieving and maintaining steroid sparing disease control

TMJ arthritis: long term effects on facial deformity and dysfunction in adults with JIA; and the effect of alternate childhood therapies on these outcomes




Lerman, MA, Lewen, MD, Kempen, JH, Mills MD. Uveitis Reactivation in Children Treated with Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Inhibitors. Am J Ophthalmol. 2015 Jul;160(1):193-200.e1. (PMID: 25892124).


Lerman, MA, Burnham, JM, Chang, PY, Daniel, E, Foster, SC, Hennessy, S, Jabs, DA, Joffe, M, Kaçmaz, RO, Levy-Clarke, GA, Mills, M, Nussenblatt, RB, Rosenbaum, JT, Suhler, EB, Thorne, JE, Kempen, JH. Response of Pediatric Uveitis to Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Inhibitors. J Rheumatol. 2013 Aug;40(8):1394-403. Epub 2013 Jul 1. PMID: 23818712.



Lieberman SM, Lerman MA, Burnham JM. Joint complaints. In: Shah SS, editor. Pediatric practice: infectious disease. New York: McGraw Hill Medical; 2008. p. 95-101.

Awards and Honors

2010, American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation (Rheumatology Research Foundation as of 2012) Scientist Development Award (Funding 2011-2013)

Editorial and Academic Positions

Academic and Institutional Committees

Member, Uveitis Subcommittee of CARRA

Leadership and Memberships

Memberships in Professional Organizations

American College of Rheumatology (ACR)

Childhood Arthritis & Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA)