The Gwen Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research was founded through the generosity of Jules and Gwen Knapp. Their daughter, Joy Faith, was diagnosed with lupus in 1981. Gwen Knapp became a tireless advocate for those suffering from lupus, while also working with a lupus foundation and publishing a newsletter to help families cope with the disease.
Inspired by the daughter’s courage and generosity, the Knapp family decided to make a significant gift to further medical research. Mrs. Knapp said: “Through my foundation work, I spoke to lupus researchers across the country. They all said there’s only one place in Chicago for research; and that’s the University of Chicago. They spoke of collaboration here and the teams of skilled, intelligent researchers.” The Knapp family’s transformational gift established the Gwen Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research, housed in the Jules F. Knapp Medical Research Center. This gift, has enabled the recruitment of several key faculty members, administrators and staff, and the creation of a program unlike any other in the country where collaboration and community are the hallmarks of research and discovery.
The research program in the Gwen Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research takes a multidisciplinary approach to studying autoimmunity and successfully coordinates basic science with translational and clinical research. This set-up is the foundation for increasing the speed at which basic laboratory research is translated into clinical practices that directly benefit people.
The team of expert physicians from the Section of Rheumatology works together with geneticists and research scientists to design clinical trials based on the most up to-date findings in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity. These specialists assess the genetic risks of patients and their family members and assist them with novel therapeutic strategies.
The team of researchers and clinicians at the University of Chicago actively participates in training undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and physicians.