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Dana Ascherman M.D.

  • Professor, Department of Medicine
  • Professor, Department of Immunology

    Education & Training

  • M.D., Stanford University School of Medicine, 1992
  • AB, Harvard University, 1987
Representative Publications
  1. Katsumata Y, Ridgway W, Oriss T, Gu X, Chin D, Wu Y, Fertig N, Oury T, Vandersteen D, Clemens P, Camacho CJ, Weinberg A, and Ascherman DP.  Species-specific Immune Responses Generated by Histidyl-tRNA Synthetase Immunization are Associated with Muscle and Lung Inflammation.  J Autoimmun.  29:  174-186, 2007.  PMID: 17826948
  2. Soejima M, Kang EH, Gu X, Katsumata Y, Clemens P, and Ascherman DP.  Role of Innate Immunity in a Model of Histidyl-tRNA synthetase (Jo-1)-mediated Myositis. Arthritis Rheum.  63:  479-487, 2011.**  PMID:  20981821
  3. Harlow L, Fernandez I, Soejima M, Ridgway WM, and Ascherman DP.  Characterization of TLR4-mediated Autoantibody Production in a Mouse Model of Histidyl-tRNA synthetase-induced Myositis.  Innate Immun. 2012 Dec; 18(6):876-85.  PMID:  22582345.
  4. Fernandez I, Harlow L, Zang Y, Liu-Bryan R, Ridgway WM, Clemens PR, and Ascherman DP.  Functional Redundancy of MyD88-dependent Signaling Pathways in a Murine Model of Histidyl-tRNA Synthetase-Induced Myositis.  J Immunol.  191:1865-1872, 2013. PMID:  23842751
  5. Harlow L, Rosas IO, Gochuico BR, Michaels TR, Dellaripa P, Oddis CV, and Ascherman DP.  Identification of Citrullinated Heat Shock Protein 90 Isoforms as Novel Autoantigens in Rheumatoid Arthritis-associated Interstitial Lung Disease.  Arthritis Rheum.  65:  869-879, 2013.  PMID:  23400887
  6. Harlow L, Gochuico B, Rosas IO, Doyle TJ, Osorio JC, Travers TS, Camacho CC, and Ascherman DP.  Anti-Citrullinated Heat Shock Protein 90 Antibodies Isolated from Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid are a Marker of Lung-Specific Immune Responses, Clin Immunol. 155:  60-70, 2014.  PMID:  25150019
  7. Chen J, Doyle TJ, Liu Y, Aggarwal R, Wang X, Shi Y, Ge S-X, Huang H, Lin Q, Liu W, Cai Y, Koontz D, Fuhrman C, Golzarri MF, Liu Y, Hatabu H, Nishino M, Araki T, Dellarippa PF, Oddis CV, Rosas IO, and Ascherman DP.  Biomarkers of Rheumatoid Arthritis-associated Interstitial Lung Disease, Arthritis Rheumatol.  67:  28-38, 2015.  PMID:  25302945
  8. Travers TS, Harlow L, Rosas IO, Gochuico BG, Mikuls TR, Bhattacharya SK, Camacho CJ, and Ascherman DP.  Extensive Citrullination Promotes Immunogenicity of HSP90 through Protein Unfolding and Exposure of Cryptic Epitopes, J Immunol.  197:  1626-1636, 2016.  PMID:  27448590
  9. Ascherman DP, Zang Y, Fernandez I, Clark ES, Khan WN, Martinez L, and Greidinger EL.  An Autoimmune Basis for Raynaud’s Phenomenon: Murine Model and Human Disease.  Arthritis Rheumatol. 2018 Sep; 70(9):1489-1499.  PMID:  29569858.
  10. Kass DJ, Nouraie M, Glassberg MK, Ramreddy N, Fernandez K, Harlow L, Zhang Y, Chen J, Kerr GS, Reimold AM, England BR, Mikuls TR, Gibson KF, Dellaripa PF, Rosas IO, Oddis CV, and Ascherman DP.  Comparative Profiling of Serum Protein Biomarkers in Rheumatoid Arthritis-associated Interstitial Lung Disease and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Arthritis Rheumatol.72:  409-419, 2020.  PMID:  31532072
Research Interests

Viewed broadly, Dr. Ascherman’s research has investigated the role of cell-mediated immunity in the pathogenesis of idiopathic inflammatory myopathy, a systemic autoimmune disorder resulting in damage to muscle as well as extra-muscular tissues that include skin, joints, lung, and the vascular system. While this effort initially focused on human cells and tissue, the relative rarity of this disorder led Dr. Ascherman to develop a novel antigen-induced model replicating several cardinal features of this disease—namely, myositis and interstitial lung disease. Beyond support for the role of histidyl-tRNA synthetase (HRS=Jo-1) in human disease, this work has generated some intriguing observations regarding the ability of peptides to generate species-specific antibody responses--fueling a computational biology collaboration exploring the contribution of peptide stability to antigenicity, immunogenicity, and affinity maturation. Complementing these studies, more recent work has centered on the interaction between HRS and signaling components of the innate immune system that not only support the development of class-switched autoantibody responses, but also promote a robust myositis phenotype. Dissecting the relationship between HRS-induced innate immune activation, NF-?B-mediated transcriptional pathways, and subsequent transition to antigen driven adaptive immune responses therefore represents a major focus of ongoing work. Additional areas of investigation include biomarker development in autoimmune interstitial lung disease. Collectively, these efforts underscore an expanding basic and translational research program uniting themes of autoimmune disease mechanisms and structural immunology.


Dr. Ascherman’s clinical interests encompass a spectrum of autoimmune disorders, with a primary focus on inflammatory myopathies and associated systemic complications that include interstitial lung disease (ILD). Based on the frequent overlap between various autoimmune disorders and ILD, Dr. Ascherman has worked with Dr. Daniel Kass in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine to initiate an interdisciplinary Autoimmune ILD Clinic.


Over the last 20 years, Dr. Ascherman has dedicated considerable effort to teaching medical students, residents, and clinical fellows in clinical as well as classroom settings. These activities have included medical school course directorships, with lectures spanning a range of topics from crystalline arthropathies to the immunologic basis of systemic autoimmune diseases. In response to a more general call for translation of basic immunology to clinical medicine, Dr. Ascherman has devised and directed a literature-based, “applied immunology” tutorial geared towards residents and clinical fellow in rheumatology.