After partnering with leader Dr. Peter Merkel for four years treating patients at the Boston University Vasculitis Center, Dr. Monach became director of the Center in early 2012. “I came here to work with Peter and learn about vasculitis care and research,” says Monach, assistant professor of medicine at BU’s School of Medicine.“Working side-by-side with him was an incredible opportunity. I’m honored to be taking over for him in the leadership role.”
Dr. Monach also serves as a principle investigator in the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium (VCRC). The VCRC is comprised of several vasculitis centers across North America and is dedicated to conducting clinical research in vasculitis. His specific research interests in vasculitis concern biomarkers and genetics.
According to Dr. Monach: ” Biomarkers are blood tests that provide information useful to physicians making treatment decisions about their patients, i.e., how active is the disease today? Is it getting better or worse? Is this patient likely to relapse or to remain in remission long-term? The current blood tests clinicians use are of limited value, so we are looking for better markers using samples from the VCRC longitudinal studies and clinical trials, with grant support from the National Institute of Health (NIH).”
Although vasculitis does not run strongly in families, there are other reasons to suspect that genetics plays a role in susceptibility. Dr. Monach is currently leading a study to look in vasculitis at genes that have been implicated in other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Crohn’s disease, with grant support from the Arthritis Foundation.
Though he initially wanted to be primarily a research scientist, working in the lab to understand the immune system and autoimmune diseases, Monach ended up choosing a path enabling him to spend more time with patients. Undertaking translational research allows him to bring basic research to the bedside, accelerating understanding and affecting patient outcomes.
Dr. Monach sees patients with all forms of vasculitis as well as general rheumatology patients in the outpatient rheumatology clinic.
Paul, who was born in Cincinnati, OH, received his undergraduate degree from Harvard, attended Medical and Graduate school at the University of Chicago and performed his Medical Residency and Fellowship at Brigham and Women's.
Paul and his team recently created a BU Medical Vasculitis Center website (http://www.bu.edu/vasculitis/) which clearly defines the goals and missions of the Center and features patient FAQ, referring information for physicians, research opportunities along with many other features. The website also simplifies the appointment process.
Meet Dr. Monach up close and personal via a YouTube video “the VCRC and Clinical Studies”