Olsen named to McGee Professorship

Dr. Nancy Olsen, a recently recruited professor of internal medicine in the division of rheumatic diseases, has been named the first holder of the McGee Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Arthritis Research.
Dr. Olsen is interested in what genetic and other markers can be used to predict diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.
As head of clinical research in the Harold C. Simmons Arthritis Research Center, Dr. Olsen will oversee a collaboration between the rheumatic diseases division and the Center for Immunology to observe the earliest changes in the immune system that occur in human disease. With this information, researchers hope to devise new ways to make more accurate diagnoses and develop therapies tailored to individual patients.
"I was very excited by the opportunity to come to UT Southwestern. This is one of the most outstanding places anywhere to pursue medical research," said Dr. Olsen, who recently left Vanderbilt University Medical Center after 19 years, where she was a professor of medicine. "I have the opportunity to work with distinguished investigators Dr. David Karp in arthritis and Dr. Ward Wakeland in immunology and was offered the chance to bridge the basic and clinical operations so that we could make new insights into the basis for human autoimmune disease."
Dr. Wakeland, who holds the Edwin L. Cox Distinguished Chair in Immunology and Genetics, is director of the Simmons Arthritis Research Center and the Center for Immunology. Dr. Karp is chief of rheumatic diseases, associate director of the Simmons Center and holder of the Harold C. Simmons Chair in Arthritis Research.
"It is very fitting that Dr. Olsen has received the McGee Distinguished Professorship, and she will play a vital role in the rheumatic diseases division," said Dr. Karp. "She will be responsible for coordinating our efforts to test new therapies for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. In this way, we will provide more of our patients with the opportunity to obtain the very latest treatments for these conditions."
Dr. Olsen, a former rheumatology fellow at UT Southwestern, obtained her medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and received a Clinician Scholar Educator Award from the American College of Rheumatology.
A gift in 2003 from the Kenton and Nancy McGee Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas and from the McGee Foundation established the McGee Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Arthritis Research.