Jessica Brandt, MHS
Human Toxicology and Pathophysiology
Class of 2012
The prestigious Fulbright Program recently awarded a grant to Bloomberg School graduate Jessica Brandt to conduct research on Sjögren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects nine times as many women as it does men.
…Presently, the underlying reasons for this sex difference are incompletely understood but constitute a promising area of research within the autoimmunity field.
Sjögren’s syndrome causes the human immune system to turn on itself, most notably in the exocrine glands that produce tears and saliva. Patients with the disease develop clinical dry mouth and eyes, but also risk organ dysfunction and lymphoma. It is a disease that affects approximately 4 million Americans every year, most of them women. In her Fullbright research proposal, Jessica explained her interest - “Presently, the underlying reasons for this sex difference are incompletely understood but constitute a promising area of research within the autoimmunity field.To conduct her research, Brandt travelled to Italy to work with the Rheumatology Unit at Sapienza University of Rome. Her work to identify the reasons for the sex difference between male and female patients added to the work already being done there on Sjögren’s syndrome. Her results could lead to improved treatment of the disease for both men and women.