Newton and Zheng on team that wins WARF Innovation Award

Congratulations to Michael Newton and Zihao Zheng, one of his graduate students, for their contributions to a team that won a 2022 WARF Innovation Award! Sara McCoy and Miriam Shelef, both in the Department of Medicine, are the other two team members.

Their invention is titled “Innovative New Diagnostic Test for Sjögren’s Syndrome.”

Sjögren’s Syndrome is a systemic rheumatic disease that can significantly decrease quality of life, increase morbidity, and increase the risk of developing lymphoma.

About 30% of patients with Sjögren’s are seronegative on the standard antibody test. They currently have to have a lip biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. The new diagnostic assay they developed replaces the need for lip biopsy.

Michael and Zihao used their expertise to identify candidate autoantibodies (peptides) from a large set, which were later confirmed/validated as better disease markers for Sjögren’s Syndrome and used to develop the new, non-invasive diagnostic test.