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William F.C. Rigby, MD

Professor of Medicine
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Microbiology and Immunology

Harvard Medical School, MD 1979
Columbia University, BA 1974

After postdoctoral work in Dr. Michael Fanger's laboratory in the Department of Microbiology at Dartmouth Medical School, Dr. Rigby completed subspecialty training in rheumatology and joined the faculty at Dartmouth Medical School in 1987.

Immunology Program
Neuroscience Center at Dartmouth
Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine


Contact Information:

Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
Borwell Research Bldg. - HB 7510
1 Medical Center Drive
Lebanon NH 03756

Email: William.Rigby@Dartmouth.EDU

Professional Interests:

Dr. Rigby's laboratory integrates his basic scientific and clinical interests. On a translational level, Dr. Rigby is examining the changes that accompany clinical responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with biologics. His basic scientific efforts examine the mechanism by which CD40 ligand (CD154) and cytokine expression are regulated at post-transcriptional levels. Many cytokines are encoded by mRNA that contain reiterated AUUUA sequences in their 3' UTR. These AU-rich sequences (AURE) have been shown to modulate the translation as well as rapid degradation of these mRNA. His laboratory has been active in identifying proteins that bind to AURE and regulate these events. Of late, he has studied the regulation of CD154 (CD40 ligand), a member of the TNF gene family that plays a critical role in the immune response. In contrast to cytokine genes, CD154 is regulated by its rate of cytoplasmic mRNA turnover and translation. The CD154 3'UTR mRNA contains two separate cis-acting elements, the cytidine-uridine (CU)- and cytidine-adenine (CA)-rich elements that respectively regulate these two activities. Interestingly the CA rich element is polymorphic in the human; certain polymorphisms have been associated with the development of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

These findings have prompted Dr. Rigby to begin translational studies of patients with rheumatologic disease to determine if: a) CD154 dysregulation is present; b) Is this dysregulation influenced by disease activity; c) Does this dysregulation correlate with CA-repeat polymorphisms? In this manner, Dr. Rigby will begin to address epigenetic and genetic factors that regulate the expression of this critical immunoregulatory molecule.

Selected Publications:


Role for ZAP-70 Signaling in the Differential Effector Functions of Rituximab and Obinutuzumab (GA101) in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia B Cells.
Skopelja-Gardner S, Jones JD, Hamilton BJ, Danilov AV, Rigby WFC
J Immunol. 2017 Aug 15;199(4):1275-1282. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1602105. Epub 2017 Jul 14.
PMID: 28710251

Tocilizumab combination therapy or monotherapy or methotrexate monotherapy in methotrexate-naive patients with early rheumatoid arthritis: 2-year clinical and radiographic results from the randomised, placebo-controlled FUNCTION trial.
Burmester GR, Rigby WF, van Vollenhoven RF, Kay J, Rubbert-Roth A, Blanco R, Kadva A, Dimonaco S
Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 Jul;76(7):1279-1284. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210561. Epub 2017 Apr 7.
PMID: 28389552

Brief Report: Anti-Carbamylated Protein Antibodies in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Are Reactive With Specific Epitopes of the Human Fibrinogen β-Chain.
Jones JD, Hamilton BJ, Rigby WFC
Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017 Jul;69(7):1381-1386. doi: 10.1002/art.40098. Epub 2017 Jun 5.
PMID: 28296337

Persistence of Disease-Associated Anti-Citrullinated Protein Antibody-Expressing Memory B Cells in Rheumatoid Arthritis in Clinical Remission.
Pelzek AJ, Gronwall C, Rosenthal P, Greenberg JD, McGeachy M, Moreland L, Rigby WFC, Silverman GJ
Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017 Jun;69(6):1176-1186. doi: 10.1002/art.40053. Epub 2017 May 3.
PMID: 28118534

Effect of tocilizumab on neutrophils in adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis: pooled analysis of data from phase 3 and 4 clinical trials.
Moots RJ, Sebba A, Rigby W, Ostor A, Porter-Brown B, Donaldson F, Dimonaco S, Rubbert-Roth A, van Vollenhoven R, Genovese MC
Rheumatology (Oxford). 2017 Apr 1;56(4):541-549. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kew370.
PMID: 28013198

The role for neutrophil extracellular traps in cystic fibrosis autoimmunity.
Skopelja S, Hamilton BJ, Jones JD, Yang ML, Mamula M, Ashare A, Gifford AH, Rigby WF
JCI Insight. 2016 Oct 20;1(17):e88912. Epub 2016 Oct 20.
PMID: 27777975

Rituximab associated late-onset neutropenia-a rheumatology case series and review of the literature.
Monaco WE, Jones JD, Rigby WF
Clin Rheumatol. 2016 Oct;35(10):2457-62. doi: 10.1007/s10067-016-3313-y. Epub 2016 May 21.
PMID: 27209045

Anti-carbamylated Protein Antibody Levels Correlate with Anti-Sa (Citrullinated Vimentin) Antibody Levels in Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Challener GJ, Jones JD, Pelzek AJ, Hamilton BJ, Boire G, de Brum-Fernandes AJ, Masetto A, Carrier N, Menard HA, Silverman GJ, Rigby WFC
J Rheumatol. 2016 Feb;43(2):273-281. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.150179. Epub 2015 Dec 15.
PMID: 26669911

Tocilizumab in early progressive rheumatoid arthritis: FUNCTION, a randomised controlled trial.
Burmester GR, Rigby WF, van Vollenhoven RF, Kay J, Rubbert-Roth A, Kelman A, Dimonaco S, Mitchell N
Ann Rheum Dis. 2016 Jun;75(6):1081-91. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2015-207628. Epub 2015 Oct 28.
PMID: 26511996

Efficacy and safety of tabalumab, an anti-B-cell-activating factor monoclonal antibody, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who had an inadequate response to methotrexate therapy: results from a phase III multicentre, randomised, double-blind study.
Smolen JS, Weinblatt ME, van der Heijde D, Rigby WF, van Vollenhoven R, Bingham CO 3rd, Veenhuizen M, Gill A, Zhao F, Komocsar WJ, Berclaz PY, Ortmann R, Lee C
Ann Rheum Dis. 2015 Aug;74(8):1567-70. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-207090. Epub 2015 Apr 14.
PMID: 25873635