NEWS | November 4, 2011

World renowned UC Davis immunologist named Master of the American College of Rheumatology


M. Eric Gershwin, chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the Jack and Donald Chi Professor of Medicine at UC Davis Health System, was named a Master of the American College of Rheumatology today at the 2011 American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago.

The designation of Master is conferred by the college's board of directors on members who are age 65 or older and who have made outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology through scholarly achievement and/or service to their patients, students and profession. A total of 18 members were honored this year as Masters.

"Dr. Gershwin is an innovative thought leader in medicine who combines intellectual insights with compassionate patient care," said Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the school of medicine at UC Davis. "His seminal discoveries have transitioned our thinking about autoimmunity and are rapidly leading to new treatment models for a number of immune-mediated diseases."

Dr. Gershwin with lab assistant © UC Regents
M. Eric Gershwin with researcher Carolina Duarte.

Gershwin joined the UC Davis faculty in 1975 and, two years later, founded the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Program for pediatric and adult patients. Today, he leads a team of researchers and clinicians who offer the latest treatments for immune diseases of the liver, bowel, skeletal system and lungs -- including lupus, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis -- and who are actively investigating new treatment options in their labs.

Gershwin's own research focuses on primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), which is characterized by progressive obstruction of the bile ducts of the liver. His investigations have clarified the pathology of PBC -- from its genetics to autoimmunity mechanisms -- and revealed new therapeutic targets for this devastating disease. While he advances science toward a cure, he also is involved with patient support groups and provides cutting-edge therapies in his clinic, which has become a destination for PBC patients nationwide.

Gershwin was the first to clone an autoantigen, a landmark outcome that dramatically enhanced understanding of all autoimmune disease, and he holds several patents for PBC autoantigens, recombinant cloned antigens and nonmethylene interrupted fatty acids used as immuno-modulators. He is internationally distinguished for his efforts. In addition to being a Master of the American College of Physicians, he has been recognized by the University of Athens in Greece, Japanese Society of Hepatology, University of Milan, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research in Australia and the International Congress of Autoimmunity in Portugal. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Autoimmunity, among the top 1 percent of quoted researchers in the life sciences and consistently included in Best Doctors in America.

The American College of Rheumatology is an international professional medical society that represents more than 8,000 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals around the world. The college's Annual Scientific Meeting is the premier meeting in rheumatology. For more information, visit

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 645-bed acute-care teaching hospital, an 800-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit