Sampath Prahalad, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics with Adjunct Appointment in Human Genetics


Translational Research in Pediatric Rheumatology

Research Interests

My career vision is to determine who gets juvenile idiopathic arthritis and why? Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common cause of chronic arthritis in children, affecting 1 in 1000 children.  Although it was once thought that children with JIA “outgrew” their arthritis it is now clear that a significant number of children with JIA go on to have arthritis as adults. Both genetic and environmental factors predispose to the development of JIA. Our research focuses on identifying genetic factors that predispose to JIA susceptibility. We have assembled a large cohort of cases with JIA and healthy controls. We have also investigated a number of candidate genes for association with JIA and have demonstrated that variants in genes encoding CCR5, STAT4, TNFAIP3, and C12ORF30 are associated with JIA susceptibility. We have demonstrated that siblings of children have a twelve fold excess risk of JIA and first cousins of children with JIA have a six fold excess risk of JIA compared to the general population.  We have also demonstrated that children with JIA and their family members are at increased risk of autoimmune disorders in general.  

We are now focusing on a rare subtype of JIA, which resembles rheumatoid arthritis (RA) seen in adults. RA is a common cause of arthritis in adults occurring around the age of 50. Several children, some as young as 2 develop the same type of arthritis. We are investigating the factors that predispose to Childhood Onset of RA.  As a physician scientist I also see children with JIA and other childhood rheumatic diseases from GA and nearby states at Emory Children’s Center and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Hospitals.


  • MBBS (MD), Sri Venkateswara Medical College, Tirupati, India,
  • Diploma in child health, Royal College of Physicians , London,
  • MS, Epidemiology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH,
  • Residency, Senior House Officer in Pediatrics, Romford Essex UK,
  • Residency, Pediatrics, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA,
  • Fellowshop, Pediatric Rheumatology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH,

Board Certifications

  • Diplomate, American Board of Pediatrics in Pediatrics and Pediatric Rheumatology
  • Physician: State of GA; (Inactive physician licenses in the states of UT, PA, and OH)

Professional Memberships

  • Member, American College of Rheumatology
  • Member, American Society for Human Genetics
  • Member, Editorial Board, BioMed Central Pediatric Rheumatology
  • Reviewer, NIH- NIAMS Study Sections K23, R03 applications
  • Member, American College of Rheumatology Abstract Selection Committee – 2006, 2010
  • Elected Member, Society for Pediatric Research
  • Vice Chair, JIA Research Subcommittee, Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance
  • Member, American College of Rheumatology Pediatric Section Executive Committee


(Selected from 43 publications and 2 book chapters).     

1.    Prahalad S, Ryan MH, Shear ES, Thompson SD, Giannini EH, Glass DN. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: Linkage to HLA demonstrated by allele sharing in affected sibpairs. Arthritis Rheum, 43(10):2335-8, 2000.

2.    Prahalad S, Ryan MH, Shear ES, Thompson SD, Glass DN, Giannini EH. Twins concordant for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum, 43(11):2611-2, 2000.

3.    Prahalad S, Kingsbury DJ, Griffin TA, Cooper BL, Glass DN, Maksymowych WP, Colbert RA. Polymorphism in the MHC-encoded LMP 7 gene: association with JRA without functional significance for immunoproteasome assembly. J Rheumatol 28:2320-5, 2001.

4.    Prahalad S, Shear ES, Thompson SD, Giannini EH, Glass DN. Increased prevalence of familial autoimmunity in simplex and multiplex families with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 46(7):1851-6, 2002.

5.    Prahalad S. Negative association between the chemokine receptor CCR5-Δ32 polymorphism and rheumatoid arthritis: a meta analysis. Genes and Immunity. 7(3): 264-8, 2006.

6.    Prahalad S, Bohnsack JF, Jorde LB, Whiting A, Clifford B, Dunn D, Weiss R, Moroldo M, Thompson SD, Glass DN, Bamshad MJ. Association of two functional polymorphisms in the CCR5 gene with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Genes and Immunity, 7(6): 468-75, 2006.

7.    Prahalad S, Bohnsack JF, Whiting A, Clifford B, Jorde LB, Guthery SL, Thompson SD, Glass DN, Bamshad MJ. Lack of association of functional CTLA4 polymorphisms with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 58 (7):2147-52, 2008. PMC2570539

8.    Pont-Kingdon G, Bohnsack JF, Sumner K, Whiting A, Clifford B, Guthery S, Jorde LB, Lyon E, Prahalad S. Lack of association between beta 2-adrenergic receptor polymorphisms and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Scand J Rheum. 38(2):91-5, 2009. PMC2838190

9.    Nair PR, Duffin KC, Helms C, Ding J, Stuart PE, Goldgar D, Gudjonsson JE, Li Y, Tejasvi T, Feng BJ, Ruether A, Schreiber S, Weichenthal M, Gladman D, Rahman P, Schrodi SJ, Prahalad S, Guthery SL, Fischer J, Liao W, Kwok PY, Menter A, Lathrop GM, Wise CA, Begovich AB, Voorhees JJ, Elder JT, Krueger GG, Bowcock AM, Abecasis GR. Genome-wide scan reveals association of psoriasis with IL-23 and NF-kB pathways. Nature Genetics 41(2):199-204, 2009. PMC2745122

10.    Prahalad S, Hansen S, Whiting A, Guthery SL, Clifford B, McNally B, Zeft AS, Bohnsack JF, Jorde LB. Autoimmunity associated variants in TNFAIP3, STAT4 and C12ORF30 loci are also associated with Juvenile idiopathic  Arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 60 (7) 2124-30, 2009. NIHMSID137705

11.    Prahalad S, Zeft AS, Pimentel R, Clifford B, McNally B, Mineau GP, Jorde LB, Bohnsack JF. Quantification of the familial contribution to juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 62(8):2525-9, 2010.  NIHMSID207548

12.    Thompson SD, Sudman M, Ramos PS, Marion MC, Ryan M, Tsoras M, Weiler T, Wagner M, Keddache M, Haas JP, Mueller C, Prahalad S, Bohnsack J, Wise CA, Punaro M, Zhang D, Rosé CD, Comeau ME, Divers J, Glass DN, Langefeld CD. The susceptibility loci Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis shares with other autoimmune diseases extend to PTPN2, COG6 and ANGPT1. Arthritis Rheum Epub Aug, 2010

13.    Prahalad S, O'Brien E, Fraser AM, Kerber RA, Mineau GP, Pratt D, Donaldson D, Bamshad MJ, Bohnsack JF. Familial aggregation of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 50(12):4022-4027, 2004.

14.    Zeft AS, Shear ES, Thompson SD, Glass DN, Prahalad S. Familial autoimmunity: Maternal parent-of-origin effect in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Clinical Rheumatology, 27 (2):241-4, 2008.  PMC2596926

15.    Prahalad S. Glass DN. A comprehensive review of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. [Invited review]. Pediatr Rheumatol Online J, 6 (1):11, 2008. PMC2515830