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Winthrop’s Iryna Voloshyna, PhD, Earns Best Paper Award for Research on Rheumatoid Arthritis - Archived
May 22, 2014

East Meadow resident Iryna Voloshyna, PhD, Assistant Research Scientist at Winthrop-University Hospital, has received the Best Paper Award for 2014 from the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (SEBM), a non-profit scientific society that promotes investigation in the biomedical sciences, for her paper, “Plasma from rheumatoid arthritis patients promotes pro-atherogenic cholesterol transport gene expression in THP-1 human macrophages.”

The paper addressed the high risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – an elevated risk that, at present, is considered comparable to that seen with type 2 diabetes.

While other studies have shown that the risk is there, this study addresses why it happens. By taking blood from patient volunteers with rheumatoid arthritis, Dr. Voloshyna and her team were able to explore what exactly is in the blood that causes this high risk. They discovered that an abnormality in the blood vessels of people with RA causes the flow of cholesterol in and out of a previously healthy blood vessel to go awry, disrupting the balance of the body and increasing the risk of heart disease. This research, which was supported by the Elizabeth Daniell Research Fund, will help the medical community learn why certain RA patients have heart attacks, which patients are most at risk, and what treatments that will be most effective.

“I am excited that the work we are doing in the research lab at Winthrop has the potential to improve the health and well being of patients with RA,” said Dr. Voloshyna.

Dr. Voloshyna was the lead author on the paper, and other members of the research team responsible for the study include: Steve Carsons, MD, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology; Sony Modayil, DO; Michael J. Littlefield,BS; Elise Belilos MD; Kristina Belostocki,MD; Lois Bonetti, RN; Gary Rosenblum, DO; and Allison B. Reiss, MD, Head of the Inflammation Laboratory at Winthrop, where the studies were performed.

“Premature cardiovascular disease is emerging to be a major challenge in the care of individuals with RA,” said Dr. Carsons. “Work performed at Winthrop by our group will aid in the identification of those at risk as well as molecular targets for drug development.”

The SEBM is a non-profit scientific society that promotes investigation in the biomedical sciences. According to the SEBM, Dr. Voloshyna’s paper was selected on the criteria of significance of research originality and importance of results, projected impact to the field and experimental design and quality of the data.

“The award reflects the incredible cutting edge work being done in this institution, thanks to the outstanding teamwork and interdisciplinary group working so collaboratively on this project, and the enthusiasm and faith of our patients,” said Dr. Reiss.

The work was conducted with the support of the Winthrop Research Institute which, under the leadership of Alan M. Jacobson, MD, Chief Research Officer at Winthrop. For more information about research initiatives at Winthrop, visit

Contact: Courtney Allison
Publications Specialist
(516) 663-2234