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:

Our research is focused on epidemiology and outcomes of rheumatic diseases, in particular Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).  Our group has developed innovative epidemiologic tools for testing hypotheses in populations, investigated the epidemiology of rheumatic diseases in large cohorts of female health professionals, studied predictors of outcome in RA and SLE and established a large SLE Registry.  

In recent work, our group 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. We are investigating novel biomarkers and causal pathways in the development of RA. Our group 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.. The BWH Lupus Registryincludes >1700 SLE patients from BWH and the BWH Lupus Biobank, housed at the Broad Institute, contains stored samples on many of this cohort. We are currently investigating biomarkers of SLE activity and disease risk, whether high dose vitamin D and/or fish oil intake are effective in the prevention of autoimmune disease, and access to care and outcomes among patients with SLE.

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. 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 Jan 28.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Jorge A, Castro VM, Barnado A, Gainer V, Hong C, Cai T, Cai T, Carroll R, Denny JC, Crofford L, Costenbader KH, Liao KP, Karlson EW, Feldman CH. Identifying lupus patients in electronic health records: Development and validation of machine learning algorithms and application of rule-based algorithms. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2019 Jan 04.

5. Chen SK, Barbhaiya M, Fischer MA, Guan H, Lin TC, Feldman CH, Everett BM, Costenbader KH. Lipid Testing and Statin Prescriptions Among Medicaid Recipients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or Diabetes Mellitus and the General Medicaid Population. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2019 Jan; 71(1):104-115.

6. Roberts AL, Kubzansky LD, Malspeis S, Feldman CH, Costenbader KH. Association of Depression With Risk of Incident Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Women Assessed Across 2 Decades. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018 Dec 01; 75(12):1225-1233.

7. Mosca M, Costenbader KH, Johnson SR, Lorenzoni V, Sebastiani GD, Hoyer BF, Navarra S, Bonfa E, Ramsey-Goldman R, Medina-Rosas J, Piga M, Tani C, Tedeschi SK, Dörner T, Aringer M, Touma Z. Brief Report: How Do Patients With Newly Diagnosed Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Present? A Multicenter Cohort of Early Systemic Lupus Erythematosus to Inform the Development of New Classification Criteria. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019 Jan; 71(1):91-98.

8. Lin TC, Marmor MF, Barbhaiya M, Guan H, Chen SK, Feldman CH, Costenbader KH. Baseline Retinal Examinations in Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Newly Initiating Hydroxychloroquine Treatment in a US Medicaid Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Population, 2000-2010. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2018 Nov; 70(11):1700-1706.

9. Feldman CH, Collins J, Zhang Z, Xu C, Subramanian SV, Kawachi I, Solomon DH, Costenbader KH. Azathioprine and Mycophenolate Mofetil Adherence Patterns and Predictors among Medicaid Beneficiaries with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2018 Oct 24.

10. Williams JN, Chang SC, Sinnette C, Malspeis S, Parks CG, Karlson EW, Fraser P, Costenbader K. Pesticide exposure and risk of systemic lupus erythematosus in an urban population of predominantly African-American women. Lupus. 2018 Nov; 27(13):2129-2134.