Department of Medicine
Faculty Profiles by Division

Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology

Faculty Profiles

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photo Jeremy Tilstra, MD, PhD


Assistant Professor of Medicine


Phone: 412-586-3550

Office: The UPMC Lupus Center of Excellence
5889 Forbes Avenue, Suite 220
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-586-3550
Fax: 412-383-8864
Administrative Assistant:
Monique Dowdy
Address: S705A Biomedical Science Tower
3500 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-383-8861
Fax: 412-383-8864
Education and Training
B.S., University of Maryland, 2003
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2009
M.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2011
Clinical fellowship, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 2015
Research Interest
Lupus nephritis is the most common serious complication of lupus. Lupus nephritis can be seen in up to 40% of lupus patients and is more common in pediatric and minority populations. My research focus is to understanding basic signaling mechanisms leading to lupus nephritis. The need for further basic understanding of lupus nephritis is exemplified by the fact that only one new medication has been approved for lupus in the last 50 years and is not indicated for lupus nephritis. Therefore, my work focuses on two distinct pathways to better define this complex disease state. The first is to evaluate the MyD88 signaling pathways in murine lupus. I am assessing several upstream receptors using a reductionist approach and genetic manipulation to determine the roles of TL9, TLR7, and IL-1 signaling on lupus pathogenesis and lupus nephritis. In a secondary project, we are evaluating the interaction between the renal parenchyma and cellular infiltrates to better understand tissue specific effects of autoimmunity in the setting of lupus nephritis.
Clinical Interest
Systemic lupus erythematosus, Behcet's and vasculitis
Selected Publications:
Tilstra JS, Lienesch DW. Rheumatoid nodules. Dermatol Clin. 2015; 33: 361-371.
Tilstra JS, Gaddy DF, Zhao J, Davé SH, Niedernhofer LJ, Plevy SE, Robbins PD. Pharmacologic IKK/NF-?B inhibition causes antigen presenting cells to undergo TNFa dependent ROS-mediated programmed cell death. Sci Rep. 2014; 4: 3631.
Tilstra JS, Robinson AR, Robinson AR, Wang J, Gregg SQ, Clauson CL, Reay DP, Nasto LA, St Croix CM, Usas A, Vo N, Huard J, Clemens PR, Stolz DB, Guttridge DC, Watkins SC, Garinis GA, Wang Y, Nidernhofer LJ, Robbins PD. NF-?B inhibition delays DNA damage-induced senescence and aging in mice. J Clin Invest. 2012; 22: 2601-12.
Tilstra JS, Clauson CL, Niedernhofer LJ, Robbins PD. NF-?B in Aging and Disease. Aging Dis. 2011; 2: 449-65.
Nasto LA, Seo HY, Robinson AR, Tilstra JS, Clauson CL, Sowa GA, Ngo K, Dong Q, Pola E, Lee JY, Niedernhofer LJ, Kang JD, Robbins PD, Vo NV. ISSLS prize winner: inhibition of NF-?B activity ameliorates age-associated disc degeneration in a mouse model of accelerated aging. Spine (Phila PA 1976). 2012; 37: 1819-25.
Lavasani M, Robinson AR, Lu A, Song M, Feduska JM, Ahani B, Tilstra JS, Feldman CH, Robbins PD, Niedernhofer LJ, Huard J. Muscle-derived stem/progenitor cell dysfunction limits healthspan and lifespan in a murine progeria model. Nat Commun. 2012; 3: 608.
Lu A, Proto JD, Guo L, Tang Y, Lavasani M, Tilstra JS, Niedernhofer LJ, Wang B, Guttridge DC, Robbins PD, Huard J. NF-?B negatively impacts the myogenic potential of muscle-derived stem cells. Mol Ther. 2012; 3: 661-668.
Robinson, A.R., Yousefzadeh, M.J., Rozgaja, T.A., Wang, J., Li, X., Tilstra, J.S., Feldman, C.H., Gregg, S.Q., Johnson, C.H., Skoda, E.M., Frantz, M.C., Bell-Temin, H., Pope-Varsalona, H., Gurkar, A.U., et al. Spontaneous DNA damage to the nuclear genome promotes senescence, redox imbalance and aging. Redox Biol. 2018; 17: 259-273.
Sponsored Research/Activities
Title: Evaluating T cell Exhaustion in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of Arthritis, Muscoskel, & Skin Disease
Grant Number: K08 AR075056
Start Year: 2019
End Year: 2024
Title: Metabolic Reprogramming in Lupus Nephritis
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: Department of Defense
Start Year: 2019
End Year: 2021
Title: Evaluating T Cell Exhaustion in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: Alliance for Lupus Research
Start Year: 2018
End Year: 2021
Title: UPITT Rheumatoid Arthritis Combined Center (UPITT RACC)
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: Department of Defense
Grant Number: UH2 AR067685
Start Year: 2014
End Year: 2019
Title: University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute Tilstra
Role: Trainee
Funding Agency: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
Grant Number: KL2 TR001856
Start Year: 2016
End Year: 2021
Notable Achievements
Watson Humanism Honor Society, UPSOM, 2010
Alpha Omega Alpha, UPSOM, 2011
Caplan Award, UPMC Rheumatology Fellowship Program Research Award, 2016
University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine Research Day, Basic Science Research Award: Fellows Category: Oral presenter, 2016
University of Pittsburgh Department of Medicine Research Day, Basic Science Research Award: Best Poster Fellows Category: Oral presenter at Tumor Transplant and Tolerance Retreat, 2016
FOCIS 2017, Travel Award Recipient: Oral presenter
University of Pittsburgh, Postdoctoral Association: Best Poster Presentation: Postdoctoral Data & Dine Symposium