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Department of Biochemistry and Section of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine
Associate Professor
Biochemistry, Internal Medicine
GME, Graduate College, Rush Medical College
1611 W. Harrison St.
Suite 510N
Chicago, IL 60612
1735 W. Harrison St.
Cohn Research Building
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 563-2925
(312) 942-3073
BS, University of Ghent, Belgium, 1984
MD, University of Ghent, Belgium, 1989
PhD, University of Ghent, Belgium, 1994
Biological Sciences, Laboratory Techniques and Procedures

Research Interest
Major Academic Community Activities
   Editorial Boards
   Invited Lectures
Document Links/Web Links or Videos

Anne-Marie Malfait, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Section of Rheumatology at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Malfait received her medical and graduate degrees from the University of Ghent, Belgium. She completed her Postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Imperial College, London. From 2001 - 2009, she worked as a senior principal investigator in the pharmaceutical industry, first at Pharmacia, then Pfizer.

Dr. Malfait is a member of The American College of Rheumatology,the International Association for the Study of Pain, the Osteoarthritis Research Society International and the Orthopaedic Research Society. Her research is focused on joint disease,particularly osteoarthritis (please see, including:

  • Mechanisms of pain generation in osteoarthritis.
  • Development of chondroprotective drugs, including intra-articular treatment modality

She has received research funding from the NIH, the Arthritis Foundation, the Rush Translational Scientific Consortium.

Research Interest

Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common joint disorder, is characterized by a range of structural changes in all joint tissues, including cartilage, subchondral bone, menisci, synovial lining, ligaments, and periarticular muscle. The main concern of the OA patient is disability caused by functional limitations and, foremost, pain. Understanding the molecular basis of OA pain represents a major knowledge gap in both basic and translational science.

There is no simple correlation between pain symptoms and structural changes in the joint. We have mouse models and genetically modified mice available that will allow us to address whether matrix remodeling in OA joint tissues will lead to changes in nociceptors in the joint and affected dorsal root ganglia, ultimately resulting in chronic pain. The goal is to understand these pathways in the murine DMM (destabilization of the medial meniscus) model, which may lead to the development of (1) biomarkers for pain, (2) novel targets, and (3) new therapies.

We are forging collaborations with researchers with expertise in neuroscience, biomarkers and pain research, as well as with scientists in the private sector. Our group is exploring the use of novel therapies for OA such as aggrecanase and PACE4 inhibitors, as well the development of intra-articular delivery systems.


RUMC Investigators:

  1. Carla Scanzello, MD PhD: Section of Rheumatology, RUMC. - Study the relationship between inflammation in early osteoarthritis and the generation of pain.
  2. Markus Wimmer, PhD: Dept. of Orthopedic Surgery, RUMC. - Study the impact of shear stress on biochemical pathways in cartilage degradation.
  3. Leonard Valentino, MD, and Narine Hakobyan, PhD: Pediatric Medicine, RUMC. - Study the impact of joint bleeding on joint structural damage in post-traumatic arthritis.

National and International Collaborations:

  1. Richard J. Miller, PhD: Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, Northwestern University, Chicago IL.
  2. Jeffrey Mogil, PhD: Department of Psychology and Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
  3. Micky Tortorella: Chief Technology Officer, Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, Guangzhou, China.
  4. Ana Valdes, PhD: Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology,King's College London, UK.
  5. Chris Little, BVMS, PhD: Director, Raymond Purves Bone and Joint Research Laboratories, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia .

Major Academic Community Activities

Editorial Boards

Arthritis & Rheumatism, Advisory Editor


Rush University
Co-chair of the Pilot Task Force of the Scientific Leadership Committee
Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI)
World Congress Planning Committee
American College of Rheumatology
Annual Meeting Planning Committee, Basic Science Subcommittee

Invited Lectures

First International Symposium on Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Ghent, Belgium
Sept 2012
“Modelling Chronic Pain: The Example of Osteoarthritis”
14th World Congress on Pain. Milan, Italy
Aug 2012
Animals Models for Osteoarthritis Pain
World Congress on Debates and Consensus in Bone, Muscle,
and Joint Diseases. Barcelona, Spain
Jan 2012
“Osteoarthritis: Is chronic pain the most important aspect of the treatment of osteoarthritis?” (Debate)
Progress and Promise: Pathways to Long-TermTreatment Success. Istanbul, Turkey
Mar 2011
“Mechanisms of Joint Pain”
Gordon Research Conference on Proprotein Convertases and Intracellular Trafficking. New London, NH
July 2010
“The Phenotype of PACE4 Knock Out Mice”
Midwest Pain Interest Group. Indianapolis, IN
June 2010
“Modeling Pain in Osteoarthritis.”
Gordon Research Conference on Matrix Metalloproteinases. Les Diablerets, Switzerland
Aug 2009
“The Biology of ADAMTS-5 Inhibition.”
Gordon Research Conference on Proteoglycans. Andover, NH
July 2008
“Biological implications of ADAMTS-4/TS-5 inhibition.”
Gordon Research Conference on Proteolytic Enzymes and their Inhibitors. New London, NH
July 2006
“PACE4 activates aggrecanases in osteoarthritis.”
Gordon Research Conference on Cartilage Biology. Barga, Italy
June 2005
“PACE4 inititates cartilage catabolism through aggrecanase activation.”

Publications (For a complete listing, please see PubMed).

  1. Malfait AM, Seymour A, Gao F, Tortorella M, Hellio Le Graverand-Gastineau MP, Wood LS, Doherty M, Doherty S, Zhang W, Arden NK, Vaughn FL, Leaverton PE, Spector T, Hart DJ, Maciewicz RA, Muir K, Das R, Schorscher-Petcu A, Sorge RE, Sotocinal SG , Schorscher-Petcu A, Valdes AM, and Mogil JS. The role of PACE4 in osteoarthritis pain: evidence from human genetic association and null mutant phenotype. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 2012, in press.
  2. Malfait AM. Modelling Pain in Post-traumatic Knee Osteoarthritis. Pain 2012;153: 257-8. [PMID: 22018974]
  3. Malfait AM, Ritchie J, Gil AS, Austin JS, Hartke J, Qin W, Tortorella MD, Mogil JS. ADAMTS-5 Deficient Mice Do Not Develop Mechanical Allodynia Associated with Osteoarthritis Following Medial Meniscal Destabilization. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 2010; 18(4):572-80.
  4. Tortorella MD, Malfait F, Barve RA, Shieh HS, Malfait AM. A review of the ADAMTS family, pharmaceutical targets of the future. Curr Pharm Design. 2009; 15(20):2359-74. [PMID: 19601837]
  5. Malfait AM, Arner EC, Song RH, Alston JT, Markosyan S, Staten N, Yang Z, Griggs DW, Tortorella MD. Proprotein convertase activation of aggrecanases in cartilage in situ. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2008; 478(1):43-51. [PMID: 18671934]


1. NIH Grant 1R01AR060364-01 (PI) “Molecular Pathways of Pain Generation in Osteoarthritis”,
      Grant Period  2011-2014
2. Arthritis Foundation Innovative Research Grant (Osteoarthritis) (PI) “Molecular Pathways of Pain Generation in Osteoarthritis”
      Grant Period  2010-2012
3. Rush Translational Scientific Consortium Pilot Grant (PI) “The role of PACE4 in Osteoarthritis Pain”
      Grant Period  2011-2012

Document Links/web links or videos

Website: "Laboratory for Translational Research in Osteoarthritis"  
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