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Associate Professor
Department of Internal Medicine,
Section of Rheumatology,
Assoc. Program Director,
Rheumatology Fellowship Program
Behavioral Sciences, Internal Medicine
GME, Rush Medical College
1611 W Harrison St.
Suite 510
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 563-2800
(312) 563-2075
University of Delhi, India
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
University of Chicago

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

Meenakshi Jolly, MD, is the director of the Rush Lupus Clinic and serves as an attending physician at Rush University Medical Center. She is an associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush Medical College and associate director of the rheumatology fellowship program. She serves on the medical advisory board and the board of directors of the Lupus Foundation of America, Illinois Chapter, and on the Physician Advisory Council of the Lupus Research Institute. She is engaged in investigator-initiated, collaborative lupus research and clinical trials. Her research interests include identification of lupus biomarkers, psychosocial aspects (body image, sexual health) of lupus and patient-reported health outcomes (including quality of life measures).

Jolly received her medical degree from Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi, India. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and her fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Chicago. She completed a master's in health studies from the University of Chicago. She served as section chief of rheumatology at Christ Medical Center/UIC prior to joining Rush.

Research Interest

Jolly’s research is geared toward understanding different ways that patients with lupus are affected by the disease or its treatment, and finding effective strategies to modify some of them to improve how a lupus patient feels in their day-to-day life. What are the various things in their daily life that patients find as the most disturbing and burdensome effects from the disease, i.e., approaching the disease and its management from the patient’s viewpoint.

Through personal interactions with numerous lupus patients daily, we now have begun to understand the importance of recognizing quality of life issues that are adversely effected by the disease, and have developed a quality of life tool (LupusPRO) for and from lupus patients to allow measurement of this concept for providing care, education and research purposes. We are sharing this knowledge and information with the patients, community, educators and physicians. These efforts are being taken further to translate the measurement tool in various languages and test them in other cultural and geographical settings with the goal of being able to make this tool valid and accessible to lupus patients all over the world.

This work will increase our patients' and their significant others' resource allocation, policy makers' knowledge and lead to better medical care and overall outcomes. This tool will also allow us to study, understand and compare the beneficial or adverse effects of a treatment so physicians and patients can make knowledgeable and educated decisions in their ongoing care.

We are primarily interested in finding newer (nonpharmaceutical) ways to further improve our lupus patients’ quality of life that could be offered in conjunction with ongoing standard of care. Stress, lupus flares, depression, pain, fatigue and sleep are all interrelated, and improvement in one may lead to some improvement in others. We are using a multidisciplinary approach to address the role of some of these factors e.g., body image, and have developed a novel intervention that shows some promise in preliminary studies. We also support efforts of others in understanding the role of genetics in lupus, and development of better lupus pharmaceutical treatments in clinical trials.

We feel that our research efforts are already laying foundation work in the field of patient-reported outcomes in lupus and that we are leaders in this field in the United States. With time, we hope that the ways in which lupus is managed today will be redefined and include assessments of the outcomes, screening and timely addressing of psycho-social issues and others that may predict a poor overall outcome if left unascertained. The same research model may be extendable to include other musculoskeletal diseases e.g., scleroderma, osteoarthritis and other connective tissue diseases (osteogenesis imperfecta, Marfan's and Ehlers-Danlos).


RUMC Investigators:

  1. Susanna Chubinskaya, PhD, Department of Biochemistry, RUMC. We have collaborated with Chubinskaya on search for various biomarkers for lupus. Chubinskaya’s work focuses on chemokines and inflammatory pathways in autoimmune disease. Using her expertise, we measured Interleukin levels in serum from SLE patients from our clinic on which we had procured clinical data on disease activity and treatments. This lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms underplay in SLE.
  2. Joel A. Block, MD, director, Section of Rheumatology, RUMC. We collaborated on studying the effects of non-steroidal analgesic medications for use in osteoarthritis on their patient reported quality of life measures. We were able to use my expertise in this area to further the scope of his ongoing longitudinal study within a different disease model.
  3. Erin Kessler, licensed clinical social worker, hematology-oncology. We were able to collaboratively develop a novel intervention for our lupus patients using expertise/ resources commonly available to cancer patients using Erin’s feedback and cooperation. This intervention was then refined and tested to improve body image in lupus patients, with positive results.
  4. Kristin Flynn Peters, PhD, Department of Preventive Medicine. We have collaborated extensively in developing, refining and testing a cognitive behavioral therapy suited for lupus patients. The study included intense cognitive behavioral therapy sessions for lupus patients. This forms the basis of a larger body of work under study currently.
  5. Louis Fogg, PhD, College of Nursing. Louis and I have worked together on learning of various statistical methods in psychological research and used those extensively in development and validation of patient reported outcome measure for lupus.  

National Investigators:

  1. Simon Pickard, PhD, pharmaco-economics researcher and associate professor of pharmacy at University of Illinois at Chicago. Major collaborator in undertaking testing and cross-cultural validation of pre-existent generic and lupus-specific patient reported outcome measures for lupus. Following this, we undertook development of a lupus-specific patient reported outcome measure, which has since been validated and published. It is being used currently in some investigator initiated and some pharmaceutical research endeavors.
  2. Augustine M. Manadan, MD, systems chairman of rheumatology, Cook County Health and Hospital Systems. We have been actively collaborating with our various observational studies through patient recruitment from those sites. This ensures that poorly insured or uninsured patients are well represented in our research efforts, so the applications can be generalizable.
  3. Tammy Olsen Utset, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at University of Chicago. The University of Chicago has been an active study site for our collaborative studies.
  4. Timothy Neiwold, MD, assistant professor of medicine at University of Chicago. We are a collaborative site for their major genetic studies and interferon alpha signature studies in lupus. This work has resulted in improving our understanding of genetics and role of Interferon alpha, especially in non-Caucasian patients with SLE.
  5. Michael Weisman, chairman of rheumatology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, California. We are major partners in studies pertaining to health outcomes in patients with lupus and psycho-social effects of the disease and interventions to target them in order to improve patient reported outcomes. These efforts have included work with Perry Nicassio, PhD, a psychologist at the University of California in Los Angeles , and Daniel Wallace, MD, professor of medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. This work has given us better understanding of role of depression and coping towards quality of life in patients with lupus. In addition, work with several rheumatologists in California (Emmanuel Katsaros, Ionna Moldovan, Dilrukshie Cooray, Karina Marianne D. Torralba) involving Spanish-speaking lupus patients has led to the LupusPRO, our validated tool to be available for use among Spanish-speaking patients. - Scanzello collaborated with Robinson on a recent study from his lab describing a role for complement proteins in osteoarthritis pathogenesis. Scanzello provided evidence from her gene transcription studies in humans that supported his observations in an animal model of osteoarthritis. This was recently published in Nature Medicine.
  6. Joan Merrill, MD, Professor of Medicine at OMRF, Oklahoma. Merrill has been supporting our efforts in development and testing of the LupusPRO tool and its briefer version called lupus Impact Tracker.
  7. Diane Kamen, MD, South Carolina. Kamen’s work with Gullah Island lupus patients provides great insight into the role of genetics into this disease. Our efforts have included work of studying their patient reported outcomes in this special inbred population.
  8. Mary Ann Dooley, MD, professor of medicine, University of North Carolina. UNC has incorporated our LupusPRO tool into their database to allow us a better understanding of patient reported outcomes in lupus. Also, we collaborate with them in validating our shorter version called the Lupus Impact Tracker.
    Megan Clowse, MD, MPH, Duke University - Clowse has been using our tool to better understand neuropsychiatric issues in lupus collaboratively.
  9. Thomas F Cash, PhD, Virginia.. Cash has been a major mentor in our undertaking body image issues research in lupus. This work will change how lupus is currently managed.
  10. Michelle Petri, MD, MPH, professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins, Maryland. Petri has allowed us the opportunity to study our two cohorts of patients together for the common goal of improving care of lupus patients. We have worked on association of smoking with disease activity and health outcomes in lupus. Major public awareness resulted from this collaborative work.
  11. Betty Diamond, MD and Peter Gregersen, MD; professors of medicine, Feinstein Research Institute, New York. We are working on projects involving lupus nephritis treatment and sister study focusing on genetics in lupus.
  12. Luis M Vila, MD, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus. For our Spanish language validation of the lupus health outcomes tool, we collaborated with Vila for patient recruitment. In addition, we are assisting him with setting up a lupus repository for her patient care and research work 

International Investigators:

  1. Sandra V. Navarra, MD University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines. Our collaboration with Navarra has resulted in cross-cultural adaptation and validation of the lupus outcome tool for use of Pilipino patients with lupus.
  2. Ann Clarke, MD, MSc, FRCP (C), Divisions of Clinical Immunology/ Allergy and Clinical Epidemiology in the Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Our collaboration with Clarke, involves cross-cultural adaptation and validation of the lupus outcome tool for use of Canadian patients with lupus in English and French.
  3. Berna Goker, MD, School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Rheumatology, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey. Goker and her medical trainee are working on cross-cultural adaptation and validation of the lupus outcome tool for use of Turkish-speaking patients with lupus.
  4. Ana Bertoli , MD, Instituto Reumatologico Strusberg, Cordoba, Argentina; Sergio Toloza, MD, Hospital San Juan Bautista, Catamarca, Argentina. Our collaboration with Bertoli and Toloza resulted in cross-cultural adaptation and validation of the lupus outcome tool for use of South American patients with lupus.
  5. Sergio Duran-Barragán, MD, Unidad de Investigacion en Enfermedades Cronico-Degenerativas, Guadalajara, Mexico. Our collaboration with Duran-Barragán resulted in cross-cultural adaptation and validation of the lupus outcome tool for use of Mexican patients with lupus.

Major Academic Community Activities

Editorial Boards

Arthritis Care and Research
Journal of Rheumatology
Journal of Clinical Rheumatology
Arthritis & Rheumatism
Body Image


Rush Rheumatology Fellowship Program
July 2008 - Present
Curriculum Development Committee

Invited Lectures

European League Against Rheumatism Conference, London May 2011
Development of the Lupus Impact Tracker. LIT team.  
European League Against Rheumatism Conference, London May 2011
Validation of the Lupus Impact Tracker. LIT team.  
6th International Symposium on Clinical Application of Serum Free Light Chain Analysis. Bath, UK Sept 2010
“Free light chains: A predictor of emergent medical care utilization in lupus.” Meenakshi Jolly, Rachel A. Mikolaitis, Joel A. Block, Winston Sequeira.  
6th International Symposium on Clinical Application of Serum Free Light Chain Analysis. Bath, UK Sept 2010
“Serum free light chains and disease activity in systemic lupus erthematosus.” Meenakshi Jolly, Rohit Aggarwal, Serene Francis, Rachel A. Mikolaitis, Timothy Niewold, Susan Chubinskaya, Joel A. Block, Winston Sequeira.  
Department of Rheumatology. King George Medical College,Lucknow, India Aug 2010
“SLE: Overview.”  
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Queen Mary Hospital. King George Medical College, Lucknow, India Aug 2010
“SLE and Reproductive Issues.”  
King George Medical College, Lucknow, India Aug 2010
“SLE: Diagnosis.”  
King George Medical College, Lucknow, India Aug 2010
“SLE: Management.”  
Department of Rheumatology. King George Medical College, Lucknow, India Aug 2010
“SLE: Patient Support Group Education.”  
Club of Lucknow, India Aug 2010
“Pain: International Perspective.”  

Publications (selected from 103 peer-reviewed publications)

  1. Jolly M, Pickard AS, Sequeira W, Wallace DJ, Solem CT, Mikolaitis RA, Fogg L, Weisman MH, Block JA, Cash TF. A brief assessment tool for body image in systemic lupus erythematosus.Body Image. 2011 Dec 7.[Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 22154813]
  2. Jolly M, Pickard AS, Block JA, et al. Development and validation of disease targeted patient reported outcome Measure: LupusPRO. Seminars of Arthritis & Rheumatism [under publication]
  3. Jolly M, Pickard AS, Mikolaitis RA, Cornejo J, Sequeira W, Cash TF, Block JA. Body Image in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Int J Behav Med.. 2011 Mar 6. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 21380770]
  4. Jolly M, Pickard SA, Mikolaitis RA, Rodby RA, Sequeira W, Block JA. LupusQoL-US benchmarks for US patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. J Rheumatol.. 2009 2010 Sep;37(9):1828-33. Epub 2010 Aug 17. [PMID: 20716659]
  5. Jolly M, Mikolaitis RA, Shakoor N, Fogg LF, Block JA. Education, zip code-based annualized household income, and health outcomes in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. J Rheumatol.. 2010 Jun;37(6):1150-7. Epub 2010 Apr 1. [PMID: 20360192]
  6. Jolly M, Pickard AS, Wilke C, Mikolaitis RA, Teh LS, McElhone K, Fogg L, Block JA Lupus-specific health outcome measure for US patients: the LupusQoL-US version. Ann Rheum Dis. . 2010 Jan;69(1):29-33. Epub. [PMID: 19126561]
  7. Jolly M, Hill A, Mataria M, Agarwal S. Influence of an interactive joint model injection workshop on physicians' musculoskeletal procedural skills. J Rheumatol. 2007 Jul;34(7):1576-9. Epub 2007 May 15. [PMID: 17516616]
  8. Jolly M, Curran JJ. Underuse of intra-articular and periarticular corticosteroid injections by primary care physicians: discomfort with the technique. J Clin Rheumatol. 2003 Jun;9(3):187-92. [PMID: 17041456]
  9. Jolly M How does quality of life of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus compare with that of other common chronic illnesses? J Rheumatol. 2005 Sep;32(9):1706-8. [PMID: 16142864]
  10. Jolly M, Utset TO. Can disease specific measures for systemic lupus erythematosus predict patients health related quality of life? Lupus. 2004;13(12):924-6. [PMID: 15645747]


1.  “A Randomized, Double-blind, Controlled, Phase II Multicenter
      Trial of CTLA4Ig (Abatacept) Plus Cyclophosphamide vs
      Cyclophosphamide Alone in the Treatment of Lupus Nephritis”
PI: Jolly
Sponsor: National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Division of Allergy, Immunology & Transplantation (DAIT)
2.  “Autoimmunity in Sisters of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
      Patients (SisSLE).”
PI: Jolly
Sponsor: National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

PI and Co-PI on several ongoing clinical trials.

Research Trainees

  1. Master's program at Rush. - Through my role of serving as research thesis mentor for the master's program in clinical research students, I actively contribute to the development and learning of research methods, presentation and publication experiences of the mentees and their career development.
  2. Fellows in rheumatology, medicine residents and medical students. - Through my role of serving as research mentor for physicians at various levels of their medical training, I actively contribute towards their education, career development and research experiences every year 

Document Links/Web Links or Videos

Rush University Medical Center on YouTube
Meenakshi Jolly, MD, MS
Rush Medical Center Web Resources
Rush Lupus Clinic
Living With Lupus
View Short Profile

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