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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

Phone: 603-650-7700
Fax: 603-650-6223
Email: William.Rigby@Dartmouth.EDU

Assistant: Linda Jarvis
Asst. Phone: 603-650-7700
Asst. Email: Jill.L.Goodwillie@Hitchcock.ORG

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:


Rituximab associated late-onset neutropenia-a rheumatology case series and review of the literature.
Monaco WE, Jones JD, Rigby WF
Clin Rheumatol. 2016 May 21; 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 WF
J Rheumatol. 2016 Feb;43(2):273-81. 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

Reply: To PMID 24719284.
Mecchella J, Rigby WF, Zbehlik AJ
Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2015 May;67(5):737-8. doi: 10.1002/acr.22521.
PMID: 25470457

Induction of interleukin-6 production by rituximab in human B cells.
Jones JD, Hamilton BJ, Skopelja S, Rigby WF
Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Nov;66(11):2938-46. doi: 10.1002/art.38798.
PMID: 25080282

Pancytopenia and cough in a man with amyopathic dermatomyositis.
Mecchella JN, Rigby WF, Zbehlik AJ
Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2014 Oct;66(10):1587-90. doi: 10.1002/acr.22345.
PMID: 24719284

Depletion of hnRNP A2/B1 overrides the nuclear retention of the HIV-1 genomic RNA.
Gordon H, Ajamian L, Valiente-Echeverria F, Levesque K, Rigby WF, Mouland AJ
RNA Biol. 2013 Nov;10(11):1714-25. doi: 10.4161/rna.26542. Epub 2013 Sep 30.
PMID: 24157614

Safety of rituximab in combination with other biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs in rheumatoid arthritis: an open-label study.
Rigby WF, Mease PJ, Olech E, Ashby M, Tole S
J Rheumatol. 2013 May;40(5):599-604. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.120924. Epub 2013 Apr 1.
PMID: 23547218

Rituximab mediates loss of CD19 on B cells in the absence of cell death.
Jones JD, Hamilton BJ, Rigby WF
Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Oct;64(10):3111-8. doi: 10.1002/art.34560.
PMID: 22674374