Dr. Lafyatis is a rheumatologist and translational scientist at the University of Pittsburgh, studying the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis. He has identified skin mRNA gene expression pharmacodynamic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers, and shown how these can be applied to understanding skin fibrosis and utilized in clinical trial settings. In this context he has led biomarker based approaches to understanding clinical efficacy in several early phase clinical trials, including completed and ongoing trials of TGF, IL-1, IL-6 and Jak kinase inhibitors. More recently he has identified transcriptomic changes in fibroblasts as they convert to myofibroblasts in the skin and lungs of patients with systemic sclerosis. In parallel, he has studied the changes in macrophages in the skin and lungs of patients with systemic sclerosis in order to understand the signals from these cells promoting fibrosis.