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Dr. Leonard Sigal

UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
26 Hastings Rd

Brief Biography:

Dr. Sigal is a recognized expert and educator in inflammatory diseases, auto-immune diseases and immunology with more than 25 years of research experience (independent preclinical and clinical research, and clinical trials).  The primary focus of his laboratory and clinical research has been autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, with a specific focus on Lyme disease earlier in his career.  He is board certified in both internal medicine and rheumatology and board eligible in clinical immunology and is the author of nearly 300 publications and a book about Lyme disease, as well as editor of an immunology textbook. He has served on the Editorial Boards of: Arthritis & Rheumatism, JCR:Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, Hospital Medicine, Bulletin of the Rheumatic Diseases, The American Journal of Medicine & Sports, International Journal of Rheumatology, and The Latin American Journal of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis.

Dr. Sigal went to M.I.T. and then obtained his M.D. from StanfordUniversity, completing his Internal Medicine residency at Mt.SinaiMedicalCenterin New York Cityand fellowships in Rheumatology and in Clinical Immunology at YaleUniversity, where his research focused on T cell function, both general and Borrelia burgdorferi-specific, in patients with Lyme disease.

His academic career includes an Assistant Professorship at the State University of New York -UpstateMedicalCenter, where he was Chief of Rheumatology at the Syracuse Veteran’sAdministrationMedicalCenter. He was recruited to theUniversityofMedicineand Dentistry of New Jersey - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), with ascension over the course of 15 years to Professor, Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology. He was also a member of the Graduate Faculty, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology,RutgersUniversity,Piscataway,N.J.At RWJMS, Dr. Sigal was the founding director of the N. J.  Center for Diagnosis & Treatment of Lupus and of The Lyme Disease Center, a consultation and educational service to theNortheastern U.S.  Dr. Sigal’s research interests in Lyme disease included developing improved sero-confirmatory testing, serving as Primary Investigator for a Lyme disease vaccine trial, and explorations of the immunopathogenesis of the inflammatory features of Lyme disease, as well as the “psychopathogenesis” of “chronic Lyme disease”.

Dr. Sigal was recruited to Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) where he led the development of abatacept (Orencia™) in juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis. He also took on responsibility for developing small immunomodulatory molecules for inflammatory and auto-immune diseases, including dasatinib (SPRYCEL™) for scleroderma pulmonary fibrosis. While at BMS, Dr. Sigal organized a course in basic and clinical immunology for the development and ancillary staffs. Dr. Sigal was then recruited to NovoNordisk, where he was the inaugural Vice President, Medical-Science: Inflammation, overseeing a portfolio of therapeutic agents in projects targeting lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr. Sigal was recruited to PAREXEL’s Expert Office where he has been a consultant for both internal and external clients. He has assisted PAREXEL with bids and bid defenses, study, protocol design, and taught personnel about clinical manifestations and immunopathogenesis of targeted diseases, as well as mechanisms of action of agents being studied. Dr. Sigal has provided sponsors with insights into a variety of inflammatory diseases, including current standard of care; how to position new drugs with new or established mechanisms of action in the current investigative climate; and how to develop endpoints and study approaches to make optimum use of current technologies and clinical advances.

The winner of multiple awards for excellence in teaching and mentoring at RWJMS, Dr. Sigal continues to see patients and teach there. Dr. Sigal continues to write articles in his series “Basic Science for Clinicians” in JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology; this collection tackles current and clinically relevant topics in immunology and molecular biology, clearing away needless jargon and clutter to allow clinicians to appreciate the beauty and clinical applicability of the topics described.


Academic positions:

Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine

Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Adjunct Professor,


Research interests:

Lyme disease, vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, clinical immunology


Any other information:


1. Sigal LH, Steere AC, and Niederman JC. Symmetrical polyarthritis associated with heterophile negative infectious mononucleosis. Arthritis Rheum. 1983, 26:553-556.
2. Steere AC, Hutchinson GJ, Rahn DW, Sigal LH, Craft JE, DeSanna ET, and Malawista, SE.  Treatment of the early manifestations of Lyme disease.  Ann. Intern. Med. 1983, 99:22-26.
3. Steere AC, Bartenhagen NH, Craft JE, Hutchinson GJ, Newman JH, Rahn DW, Sigal LH, Spieler PN, Stenn KS, and Malawista, SE. The early clinical manifestations of Lyme disease.  Ann. Intern. Med. 1983, 99:76-82.
4. Sigal LH, Moffat CM, Steere AC, and Dwyer, JM.  Cellular immunity in Lyme disease.  Yale J. Biol. and Med. 1984, 57:595-8.
5. Dwyer JM, McNamara JG, Sigal LH, Wood CC. Immunological abnormalities in patients with the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) - A review. Clin. Immunol. Rev. 1984, 3:25-129.
6. Moffat CM, Sigal LH, Steere AC, Freeman, DH and Dwyer JM.  Cellular immune findings in Lyme disease: correlations of serum IgM and disease activity.  Amer. J. Med. 1984, 77:625-632.
7. Pachner AR, Steere AC, Sigal LH, and Johnson CJ.  Antigen-specific proliferation of CSF lymphocytes in Lyme disease.  Neurology 1985; 35:1642-1644.
8. Sigal LH, Steere AC, Freeman DH, Dwyer JM.  Proliferative responses of mononuclear cells in Lyme disease:  Concentration of Borrelia burgdorferi - reactive cells in joint fluid. Arthritis Rheum. 1986; 29:761-769.
9. Sigal LH. Musculoskeletal rounds. J Musculoskel Med. 1986; 10:23-28.
10. Sigal LH. The isolated neurologic presentation of vasculitic and rheumatologic syndromes. A review.  Medicine 1987; 66:157-80.
11. Steere AC, Bartenhagen NH, Craft JE, Hutchinson GJ, Newman JH, Pachner AR, Rahn DW, Sigal LH, Taylor E, Malawista SE. Clinical manifestations of Lyme disease.  Zbl. Bakt. Mikrobiol. Hyg.A-Med. 1987; 263:201-5.
12. Steere AC, Green J, Hutchinson GJ, Rahn DW, Pachner AR, Schoen RT, Sigal LH, Taylor E, Malawista SE. Treatment of Lyme disease. Zbl. Bakt. Mikrobiol. Hyg. A-Med. 1987; 263:352-6.
13. Sigal LH, Johnston SL, Phillips PE. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell responses to cartilage components in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.  Clin. Exp. Rheumatol. 1988; 6:59-66.
14. Sigal LH, Steere AC, Dwyer JM. In vivo and in vitro evidence of B cell hyperactivity during Lyme disease. J. Rheumatol. 1988; 15:648-654.
15.    Sigal LH. Lyme disease: A worldwide Borreliosis. Clin Exp Rheumatol 1988; 6:411-421.
16. Sigal LH, Tatum AH.  Molecular mimicry in Lyme neurologic disease: Cross-reactivity between Borrelia burgdorferi and neuronal antigens. Neurology 1988; 38:1439-1442.
17. Sigal LH, Tatum AH. IgM in the serum of patients with Lyme neurologic disease binds to cross-reacting neuronal (NAg) and Borrelia burgdorferi (BAg) antigens.  Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1988; 539:422-424.
18. Sigal LH. Lyme disease, 1988: Immunologic manifestations and possible immunopathogenetic mechanisms. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1989; 18:151-167.
19. Sigal LH, Friedman H. Rheumatoid pancarditis in a patient  with well controlled rheumatoid arthritis. J. Rheumatol. 1989; 16:368-373.
20. Sigal, LH. Chronic relapsing polyneuropathy complicating SLE: Successful treatment with monthly oral pulse cyclophosphamide. J. Rheumatol. 1989; 16:1518-1519.
21. Sigal LH, Pinals RS.  Lyme Disease: A diagnostic, therapeutic, and immunopathogenetic challenge. Postgrad Adv. Rheumatol. 1989; IV-V:1-15.
22. Sigal LH.  The influence of exogenous fibronectin on unstimulated and phytohemagglutinin stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cell reactivity.  Clin. Rheumatol. 1990; 9:204-209.
23. Snyder, BK, Roghmann, K, Sigal, LH:  Effect of stress and other biopsychosocial factors on primary antibody response. J. Adol. Health Care 1990; 11:472-79.
24. Sigal LH. Summary of the first one hundred patients seen at a Lyme disease referral center. Amer. J. Med     1990; 88:577-81.
25. Sigal LH. Clinical manifestations of Lyme disease. New Jersey Medicine. 1990; 87:5
26. Sigal LH. Borrelia burgdorferi and the immunology of Lyme disease. New Jersey Medicine. 1990;87:567-571.
27. Sigal, LH, Curran, AS. Lyme disease. Annu. Rev. Public Health. 1991; 12:85-109.
28. Sigal LH. Special article: Summary of the Fourth International Symposium on Lyme Borreliosis. Arthritis Rheum. 1991; 34:367-370.
29. Sigal, LH. Mimics of vasculitic syndromes. IM Internal Medicine. 1991;12(6):47-52.
30. Duffy J, Schoen RT, Sigal LH. 1991 Update on Lyme disease. Patient Care 1991 (June 15); 24-53.
31. Sigal LH. Current drug therapy recommendations for the treatment of Lyme disease. Drugs 1992; 43:683-        699.
32. Sigal LH. Lyme disease. IM Internal Medicine 1992;13:24-34.
33. Sigal LH, Patella SJ. Lyme arthritis as the incorrect diagnosis in fibromyalgia in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 1992;90:523-528.
34. Fernandez A, Sigal LH. Trends in the therapy of Lyme disease.  Today's Therapeutic Trends 1992; 10:71-    86
35. Sigal LH, Collins JJ. Lyme disease. The Family Doctor. 1992;1:8-12.
36. Sigal LH. Lyme disease: How does it affect the heart? Choices in Cardiology 1993;7:140-142.
37. Snyder, BK, Roghmann, K, Sigal, LH:  Stress and psychosocial factors: Effects on primary cellular immune response.  J Behavioral Med. 1993;16:143-161.
38. Lightfoot RW Jr., Luft BJ, Rahn DW, Steere AC, Sigal LH, Zoschke DC, Gardner P, Britton MC, Kaufman RL.  Empiric parenteral antibiotic treatment of patients with fibromyalgia and fatigue and a positive serologic result for Lyme disease. A cost-effectiveness analysis. Ann Intern Med. 1993;119:503-509.
39. Sigal LH. Immunopathogenic mechanisms in Lyme Borreliosis. Clin Dermatol 1993;11:415-422.
40. Hsu V, Patella SJ, Sigal LH. "Chronic Lyme disease" as the incorrect diagnosis in patients with fibromyalgia. Arthritis Rheum. 1993. 36:1493-1500.49-555.
41. Fikrig E, Berland R, Chen M, Williams S, Sigal LH,  Flavell R. Fine mapping of the serologic response to the  Borrelia burgdorferi flagellin demonstrates an epitope common to neural tissue. Proc Natl Acad Sci (USA). 1993;90:183-187.
42. Dai ZZ, Lackland H, Stein S, Li Q, Radziewicz R, Williams S, Sigal LH. Molecular mimicry in Lyme disease: Monoclonal antibody H9724 to Borrelia burgdorferi flagellin specifically detects chaperonin-HSP60. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1993;1181:97-100.
43. Sigal, LH. The flagellin of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, cross-reacts with a human axonal 64,000 molecular weight protein. J Infect Dis. 1993;167:1372-1378.
44. Nishio MJ, Liebling MR, Rodrigues A, Sigal LH, Louie JS. Identification of   Borrelia burgdorferi using interrupted polymerase chain reaction. Arthritis Rheum. 1993 ;36:665-675.
45. Sidhom OA, Basalaev M, Sigal LH.  Renal cell carcinoma presenting as polymyalgia rheumatica: Resolution after nephrectomy.  Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:2043-2045.
46. Sigal LH. Special article: Summary of the Fifth International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis. Arthritis Rheum. 1994;37:10-14.
47. Sigal LH.  Persisting complaints attributed to Lyme disease: Possible mechanisms and implications for management. Amer. J. Med. 1994;96:365-374.
48. Sigal LH, Williams S. Molecular mimicry in Lyme disease (LD): H9724 interferes with neural cell differentiation. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis. Bologna, ITALY, June 1994
49. Sigal LH. Summary of the Sixth International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis.  Arthritis Rheum. 1995;38:565-569.
50. Weiss NL, Phillips MR, Sadock VA, Sigal LH, Merryman PF, Abramson SB. False positive seroreactivity to B.burgdorferi in systemic lupus erythematosus rheumatic: The value of immuno-blotting. Lupus 1995;4:131-7.


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