Contact Information

Photo of Miriam Shelef
Miriam Shelef, MD, PHD



MADISON, WI 53705-2281

(608) 263-5241


Dr. Miriam Shelef is a rheumatologist and an immunologist with a laboratory focused on understanding the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis in order to improve treatment. Her early work focused on defining the transcriptional control of B and T cell differentiation by prdm1 (also known as Blimp-1) using novel mouse models. Following the completion of her medical training in rheumatology, she shifted her focus from basic immunology to the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis with work centered on citrullination as well as the cellular biology of neutrophils and synovial fibroblasts. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common inflammatory arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease associated with high levels of autoantibodies that target citrullinated proteins. Among other findings, Dr. Shelef and her colleagues have shown that the citrullinating enzyme PAD4 uniquely contributes to a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis. She is currently investigating how PAD4 and other PADs contribute to murine models of rheumatoid arthritis using genetically modified mice. More recently she has initiated studies to understand how naturally occurring genetic variants that are more common in people with rheumatoid arthritis lead to abnormal immune cell function, autoantibodies and ultimately arthritis in order to dissect out the mechanism of disease development as related to genetic predisposition. As part of this project, she is establishing and is the director of the Rheumatoid Arthritis Biorepository. Dr. Shelef’s research has been supported by the Rheumatology Research Foundation and is currently supported by the NIH NIAMS, Wisconsin Partnership Program, and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.


  • 1997-2006
    MD and PhD
    Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, NY
    PhD Focus: Immunology
  • 1992-1996
    BA in Biology (Molecular Biology Concentration), Graduated Summa Cum Laude
    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Residency and Fellowship

  • 2006 - 2011:
    Internal Medicine Residency & Rheumatology Fellowship, American Board of Internal Medicine's Research Pathway
    University of Wisconsin-Madison

Board Certification

  • Internal Medicine, 2009
  • Rheumatology, 2011


  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Scholar in Autoimmunity 2009
  • American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Fellow 2010
  • Dickie Research Award 2011

Search for Miriam Shelef's literature abstracts on PubMed

  1. Shelef MA, Bennin DA, Yasmin N, Warner TF, Ludwig T, Beggs HE, Huttenlocher A. Focal adhesion kinase is required for synovial fibroblast invasion, but not murine inflammatory arthritis. Arthritis Research and Therapy. 2014 Oct 4;16(5):464.
  2. Shelef MA, Sokolove J, Lahey LJ, Wagner CA, Sackmann EK, Warner TF, Wang Y, Beebe DJ, Robinson WH, Huttenlocher A. Peptidylarginine Deiminase 4 Contributes to Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha-Induced Inflammatory Arthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatology. 2014 Jun;66(6):1482-91. (PMC4148484)
  3. Shelef MA, Tauzin S, Huttenlocher A. Neutrophil migration; moving from zebrafish models to human autoimmunity. Immunol Rev. 2013 Nov;256(1):269-81. (PMC4117680)
  4. Shelef MA, Bennin DA, Mosher DF, Huttenlocher A, Citrullination of Fibronectin Modulates Synovial Fibroblast Behavior. Arthritis Res Ther. 2012 Nov 5;14(6):R240. (PMC3674601)
  5. Sackmann EK, Berthier E, Young EW, Shelef MA, Wernimont SA, Huttenlocher A, Beebe DJ. Microfluidic kit-on-a-lid: a versatile platform for neutrophil chemotaxis assays. Blood. 2012 Oct 4;120(14):e45-53. (PMC3466974)
  6. Omori SA, Cato MH, Anzelon-Mills A, Puri KD, Shapiro-Shelef M, Calame K, and Rickert RC. Regulation of class-switch recombination and plasma cell differentiation by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling. Immunity. 2006 Oct;25(4):545-57
  7. Martins GA*, Cimmino L*, Shapiro-Shelef M*, Szabolcs M, Herron A, Magnusdottir E, Calame K. Transcriptional repressor Blimp-1 regulates T cell homeostasis and function. Nat Immunol. 2006 May;7(5):457-65. (*co-first authors)
  8. Shapiro-Shelef M, Lin K-I, Savitsky D, Liao J, and Calame K, Blimp-1 is required for maintenance of long-lived plasma cells in the bone marrow. J Exp Med. 2005 Dec 5;202(11):1471-6.
  9. Johnson K, Shapiro-Shelef M, Tunyaplin C, Calame K. Regulatory events in early and late B-cell differentiation. Mol Immunol. 2005 May;42(7):749-61. Shapiro-Shelef M, Calame K. Regulation of plasma-cell development. Nat Rev Immunol. 2005 Mar;5(3):230-42.
  10. Vincent SD, Dunn NR, Sciammas R, Shapiro-Shelef M, Davis MM, Calame K, Bikoff EK, Robertson EJ. The zinc finger transcriptional repressor Blimp1/Prdm1 is dispensable for early axis formation but is required for specification of primordial germ cells in the mouse. Development. 2005 Mar;132(6):1315-25.
  11. Shaffer AL, Shapiro-Shelef M, Iwakoshi NN, Lee AH, Qian SB, Zhao H, Yu X, Yang L, Tan BK, Rosenwald A, Hurt EM, Petroulakis E, Sonenberg N, Yewdell JW, Calame K, Glimcher LH, Staudt LM. XBP1, downstream of Blimp-1, expands the secretory apparatus and other organelles, and increases protein synthesis in plasma cell differentiation. Immunity. 2004 Jul;21(1):81-93.
  12. Shapiro-Shelef M and Calame K. Plasma cell differentiation and multiple myeloma. Curr Opin Immunol. 2004 Apr;16(2):226-34.
  13. Shapiro-Shelef M, Lin KI, McHeyzer-Williams LJ, Liao J, McHeyzer-Williams MG, Calame K. Blimp-1 is required for the formation of immunoglobulin secreting plasma cells and pre-plasma memory B cells. Immunity. 2003 Oct;19(4):607-20.
  14. Tunyaplin C, Shapiro MA, Calame KL. Characterization of the B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (Blimp-1) gene, mRNA isoforms and basal promoter. Nucleic Acids Res. 2000 Dec 15;28(24):4846-55.
  15. Hahn ME, Karchner SI, Shapiro MA, Perera SA. The Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor in Early Vertebrates. Mar Environ Res. 1998. 46(1-5);41-44.
  16. Hahn ME, Karchner SI, Shapiro MA, Perera SA. Molecular evolution of two vertebrate aryl hydrocarbon (dioxin) receptors (AHR1 and AHR2) and the PAS family. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Dec 9;94(25):13743-8.
  17. Evans SM, Jenkins WT, Shapiro M, Koch CJ. Evaluation of the concept of "hypoxic fraction" as a descriptor of tumor oxygenation status. Adv Exp Med Biol.1997;411:215-25.