The Whitfield Lab is currently working on several projects that are unified by genome-wide, systems biology approaches. The lab uses genomic tools and tissue culture models to study the systemic autoimmune disease scleroderma (SSc). SSc is a rare autoimmune disease with heterogeneous clinical presentation. Despite modest advances in disease management, overall prognosis for SSc is worse than for other rheumatic diseases, and it continues to exhibit high mortality rates. Patients are classified clinically into two subgroups, limited (lcSSc) and diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc), based on the extent of skin involvement. The goal of this project is to identify gene expression biomarkers that subset patients, predict clinical endpoints, and assess response to therapy.