Skip to contents

Karen H. Costenbader, MD, MPH
Rheumatologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department of Medicine
Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115

Research Location: Peter Bent Brigham

Phone: 617-732-5325
Fax: 617-732-5505
Research Email:

Edit Profile

Research Narrative:

Dr. Costenbader’s research investigates the epidemiology and pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). She has studied associations between cigarette smoking and RA and SLE, postmenopausal hormones and oral contraceptive use and risk of SLE, antioxidants and vitamin D intake and the risks of RA and SLE. With her research group, she also studies predictors of outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, lymphoma, nephritis and end-stage renal disease, among patients with SLE, and sociodemographic disparities in the incidence and outcomes of SLE in the U.S.. She is also currently investigating biomarkers of SLE activity and disease risk, whether high dose vitamin D or fish oil intake are effective in the prevention of autoimmune disease, and disparities in access to care and outcomes among patients with SLE. Dr. Costenbader is an active clinical research mentor for medical students, residents, graduate students in epidemiology, and rheumatology fellows and junior faculty.  She has trained over 30 doctoral and post-doctoral fellows. She is PI of the BWH Lupus Registry containing data on over 2300 patients with SLE, and has established the BWH Lupus Biobank, used for studies investigating biomarkers, molecular signatures and genetics.

Harvard School of Public Health, 2002, MPH
Harvard Medical School, 1995, MD
Cambridge University, 1991, MA

Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator, Lupus Foundation of America, 2009
Henry Kunkel Young Investigator, American College of Rheumatology,2011

Lab Members:
Candace Feldman, MD, MPH
Medha Barbhaiya, MD, MPH
Mary Beth Son, MD
Cianna Leatherwood, MD
Sara Tedeschi, MD
Sarah Chen, MD

Immaculata DeVivo, PhD, HSPH

Elizabeth Karlson, MD, BWH

Elena Massarotti, MD, BWH

Wolfgang Winkelmayer, MD, ScD, Stanford University

Peter Schur, MD, BWH

I-Min Lee, MD, MPH, BWH

JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, BWH

Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, BWH

Publications (Pulled from Harvard Catalyst Profiles):

1. Elman SA, Joyce C, Costenbader KH, Merola JF. Time to progression from discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): a retrospective cohort study. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2019 May 23.

2. Malik VS, Guasch-Ferre M, Hu FB, Townsend MK, Zeleznik OA, Eliassen AH, Tworoger SS, Karlson EW, Costenbader KH, Ascherio A, Wilson KM, Mucci LA, Giovannucci EL, Fuchs CS, Bao Y. Identification of Plasma Lipid Metabolites Associated with Nut Consumption in US Men and Women. J Nutr. 2019 May 16.

3. Feldman CH, Malspeis S, Leatherwood C, Kubzansky L, Costenbader KH, Roberts AL. Association of Childhood Abuse with Incident Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Adulthood in a Longitudinal Cohort of Women. J Rheumatol. 2019 May 15.

4. Cozier YC, Barbhaiya M, Castro-Webb N, Conte C, Tedeschi SK, Leatherwood C, Costenbader KH, Rosenberg L. Relationship of Cigarette Smoking and Alcohol Consumption to Incidence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in a Prospective Cohort Study of Black Women. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2019 May; 71(5):671-677.

5. Liu X, Tedeschi SK, Lu B, Zaccardelli A, Speyer CB, Costenbader KH, Karlson EW, Sparks JA. Long-term physical activity and subsequent risk for rheumatoid arthritis among women: A prospective cohort study. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019 Mar 28.

6. Liu X, Tedeschi SK, Barbhaiya M, Leatherwood CL, Speyer CB, Lu B, Costenbader KH, Karlson EW, Sparks JA. Impact and timing of smoking cessation on reducing risk for rheumatoid arthritis among women in the Nurses' Health Studies. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2019 Feb 21.

7. Tedeschi SK, Kim SC, Guan H, Grossman JM, Costenbader KH. Comparative Fracture Risks Among United States Medicaid Enrollees With and Those Without Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019 Feb 04.

8. Tedeschi SK, Johnson SR, Boumpas DT, Daikh D, Dörner T, Diamond B, Jacobsen S, Jayne D, Kamen DL, McCune WJ, Mosca M, Ramsey-Goldman R, Ruiz-Irastorza G, Schneider M, Urowitz M, Wofsy D, Smolen JS, Naden RP, Aringer M, Costenbader KH. Multicriteria decision analysis process to develop new classification criteria for systemic lupus erythematosus. Ann Rheum Dis. 2019 May; 78(5):634-640.

9. Jorge A, Wallace ZS, Zhang Y, Lu N, Costenbader KH, Choi HK. All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality Trends of End-Stage Renal Disease Due to Lupus Nephritis From 1995 to 2014. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019 Mar; 71(3):403-410.

10. Sparks JA, O'Reilly ÉJ, Barbhaiya M, Tedeschi SK, Malspeis S, Lu B, Willett WC, Costenbader KH, Karlson EW. Association of fish intake and smoking with risk of rheumatoid arthritis and age of onset: a prospective cohort study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2019 Jan 05; 20(1):2.